Diana Princess of Wales arrives at the Tate Gallery in London for a gala evening sponsored by Chanel, July 1.
Diana Princess of Wales arrives at the Tate Gallery in London for a gala evening sponsored by Chanel, July 1. Reuters/Michael Crabtree

Diana, Princess of Wales, refused to wear the luxury brand Chanel following her divorce. The mother-of-two, who was hailed as a fashion icon at her time, could wear any designer clothes, but not from the French fashion label because it reminded her of Prince Charles’ infidelity.

Australian designer Jayson Brundson had been Diana’s stylist for a hospital charity even when she visited Australia in 1996. He recounted to Harper’s Bazaar a telling exchange he had with the People’s Princess, in which showed her insecurity in wearing a label that could be misconstrued as her ex-husband and his lover’s initials.

Diana wasn’t divorced for very long that time in 1996. She was at the Ritz Carlton in Double Bay when Brundson was asked to style her. According to him, she was on the phone talking to Madonna about divorce when he first saw her.

“Then, after Joh [Bailey, Diana’s hairstylist] had finished her hair, she had to get ready for a hospital visit and she said, I’m going to wear a cream Versace skirt suit.’ It was a very fitted jacket and a pencil skirt, and she said, ‘But I don’t know what accessories to wear with it,” Brundson told the magazine.

When Diana showed him her shoes and bags collection, she asked him what she should wear with the suit. “…so I went through them all and I found a pair of Chanel shoes, and I said, ‘Well these would look great with the Versace,’ and she said, ‘No, I can’t wear linked Cs, the double C.’”

When he asked why, Diana answered, “It’s Camilla and Charles.’”

Camilla, of course, was Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who was Charles’ lover during his marriage with Diana. She settled for a Gucci shoes that he suggested.

The logo for the House of Chanel is two interlocked Cs for “Coco Chanel,” after the titular fashion designer of the label. Diana didn’t always avoid the brand. It was only after her divorce from Charles that she shunned it, but not, Brundson thought, because she had anything against the brand.

“It was definitely the timing, it being post-divorce. She would have seen linked Cs and they would have just reminded her of Charles and Camilla. The shoes were quite boldly Chanel, I think they had gold linked Cs on them. And I think for photo optics, people would have honed in on that considering it was so fresh after the divorce as well.”

Diana and Charles’ divorce was finalised on Aug. 28, 1996. The couple, who married in 1981, separated four years prior in 1992.