Like most of you, I diverted my attention from the faux news media outlets with a trip to Netflix, land of endless seasons of worldwide entertainment. This week, I was captivated with season four of The Crown. Having devoured all three seasons before, I couldn’t wait to see Sunday night’s debut of the number one TV show with the great anticipation of my most favorite princess of all time. The show starts with the first meeting of Lady Diana as a mere 16-year-old toying with Prince Charles’ curiosity. As the episodes unravel, we get to witness the mentally and physically unstable relationship as a three-way spiderweb, where all parties suffer greatly. Camilla Parker Bowles’ intertwinement with the prince’s courtship and marriage has dire effects on his wife, Princess Diana, as well as the entire royal family. I won’t give away much more other than to tell you that I highly recommend watching this, for it is a royal escape from our ratchet reality.
Of course, my favorite part is the fashion. The big question is: How do you re-create the iconic looks worn by Princess Diana, one of the most widely photographed, endlessly chronicled, and eternally beloved women in the world?
Amy Roberts, costume designer, brilliantly executed her transformation from a naive girl in Laura Ashley frills, to a wide-eyed princess in a (wrinkled) fairy-tale wedding dress, to an outspoken woman in bold colors, embellishments, and shoulder pads reminiscent of “Dynasty” characters.
Having attended a royal wedding watch party at a Michigan State University sorority house in East Lansing, Michigan, I did personally manage to obtain a direct glance at Lady Diana’s wedding gown. My mouth dropped as the real-life princess walked down the aisle with the endless train of possibilities for a fairy tale life. She was puffed and puffed, and Charles was decorated and adorned. “Happily ever after” was the theme of the greatest wedding ever seen all over the world, at least in the 20th century.
Newcomer Emma Corrin plays Diana to perfection - it’s almost frightening. The unknown actress stepped into a career-making role as “the people’s princess,” a woman who redefined contemporary celebrity, especially in the world of royals.
British Vogue put Ms. Corrin on the cover of its October issue in a sapphire blue Oscar De La Renta taffeta ball gown with the headline “Queen of Hearts.” The Brooklyn Museum has an exhibit called “The Queen and the Crown,” featuring assorted items from the costume department of the series. It includes a raspberry floral two-piece dress made for the princess’s Australian tour and the remake of the famous overblown and wrinkled wedding gown.
The fashion company Rowing Blazers has already rereleased Diana’s famous black sheep sweater - the one she wore to her husband’s polo matches. At $295, it’s gotten enormous play. It is available for order only and will not arrive until January 2021. I sense that the renewed Diana fever will revitalize a lot of her looks for current customers either nostalgic for her or introducing her for the first time.
Unfortunately, I could not come up with any Torah references or thoughts here about ladies or princesses with fairy tale weddings or iconic fashion stars.
However, I am reminded of a beautiful Shabbos when I hosted Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l and his Rebbetzin. Listening to Rabbi Sacks speak to my other guests at the Shabbos table, you felt as if you were dining with a royal couple. It seemed as if everything he uttered was a majestic piece of Judaism. His shiurim, speeches, books, and lectures are diamonds in his tiara of Torah that will live on forever. After our wonderful weekend, which included a movie and a tub of popcorn, Rebbetzin Sacks thanked me for a wonderful and special time. I put my arm around her and said, “Do you know that you have the best and most royal title of all the Rebbitzens? You are Lady Elaine Sacks!”
The Crown belongs to the late and great Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l and The Lady Rebbetzin Elaine Sacks, who exemplify the royal realm of regal religious life in modern day Judaism.
Tobi Rubinstein is a retired fashion and marketing executive of 35 years who currently produces runway and lifestyle events for NYFW, specializing in Israel’s leading artists and designers. She is the founder of The House of Faith N Fashion, fusing culture and Torah. Tobi was a fashion collaboration and guest expert for ABC, Geraldo Rivera, Huffington Post, Lifetime, NBC, Bravo, and Arise. She hosted her own radio and reality TV series. Tobi is a mother, wife, dog owner, and shoe lover.