How Princess Diana led Lana Marks to design an iconic bag
A meeting with a designer from Florida's Palm Beach reminded me, yet again, how 2018 is going to be dominated by the British royal family. Lana Marks is the CEO and creative director of her eponymous line that specialises in accessories made out of exotic skins. She started her line in the mid-80s and recently opened her own flagship store at Dubai's Atlantis the Palm. But the reason she has been in the news of late has less to do with her beautiful handbags and more to do with the twentieth death anniversary of Princess Diana.
Lana Marks met Princess Diana when she was at a department store in Washington. She was scheduled to make a special appearance there between 2 and 4 in the afternoon - but luckily decided to stay on. At around 5.45 pm, Lucia Fletcha De Lima (the wife of the then-Brazilian Ambassador to the US) walked in with Princess Diana. The royal, apparently, took one look at Lana's bags and fell in love with them. She instantly commissioned her to design a bag for her. The Lana Marks 'Princess Diana bag', with its stylish top handle, is now an icon in its own right. Its namesake is believed to have owned them in many colours. The two formed a bond, and Lana recently revealed that on August 21, 1997, 10 days prior to Diana's death, the Princess was to be on a holiday with her in Italy. However, due to the sudden demise of her father, Lana had to cancel the plan immediately and head back to the country she grew up in, South Africa. That's when Diana decided to go to Paris, and we all know how that ended.
On the red carpet, however, it is the Lana Marks Cleopatra clutch that Hollywood celebrities love to flaunt. Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Aniston and Charlize Theron have often been spotted with it. But it's the Princess Diana bag that the fashion fraternity still remembers.
The members of British royal family have been true fashion icons. While Princess Diana helped make careers of Lana Marks, milliner Stephen Jones and fashion designer Joseph Azagury by staying faithful to them, the Duchess of Cambridge commands a robust following that has come to be known as "The Kate Effect". Given Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's impending wedding, it is but obvious that this would be fashion's biggest story this year. The bets are already on as to who will design Markle's wedding dress, and among the current favourites is British designer Roland Mouret. We will soon find out how Meghan impacts the fashion world. In the meantime, if it's some royal elegance you are looking for, pop into the new Lana Marks store in Dubai and take a look at the limited edition Princess Diana bags complete with a heart clasp that is encrusted with diamonds? A true homage to the People's Princess.