The Chouchou, Dior’s flagship bag, was designed by then-creative director Gianfranco Ferré in 1994. But, it did not become famous until a couple years later, when Princess Diana was photographed carrying the bag seemingly everywhere. After she paired it with an orange Versace suit at a royal appearance and a John Galliano slip dress at the Met Gala, sales soared. So much so, that in 1996, the style was renamed the Lady Dior after her.
Since the Lady Dior was first released, it has been sold exclusively in the brand’s boutiques. Making it much harder to buy, many turn to resellers. This has, unfortunately, contributed to a sharp rise in counterfeits.
An authentic Lady Dior bag is truly fit for royalty. Made completely by hand, it takes approximately eight hours to finish just one. When you shop secondhand, you should feel confident you are investing in Dior’s impeccable craftsmanship.
Our brand experts have detailed 11 giveaways that a pre-loved Lady Dior bag is fake. Read on to make sure that you are holding the same quality as Princess Diana once did herself.
Photo Courtesy of Tim Graham/Getty Images from editorialist.com
Because counterfeiters have started to make fake bags out of high-quality materials, it is no longer easy to determine a Lady Dior’s authenticity by examining its material alone. Look at the bag’s top edge. On an authentic Lady Dior, it will show that the bag has been constructed out of two pieces of material that have been sewn together. This gives the Lady Dior its rigid, A-line structure, which will not warp after even years of use. Counterfeiters, on the contrary, often use only one piece of material, folding it over and into the bag.
Inspired by the Napoléon III rattan chairs guests sat in at Dior’s very first haute couture show, the exterior of the Lady Dior bag is stitched with a Cannage pattern. It should be center on the front and back of the bag (the mini should have three cushion diamonds, the medium five, and the large seven), but it should not always line up perfectly at the seams, as its scale does not change according to the size of the bag. Counterfeiters often replicate the Cannage pattern perfectly, but not the stitching itself. On a real Lady Dior bag, each stitch should be small, straight, and even in length. The thread should be thin and, unless the bag is a special edition, the exact same color as the exterior material.
The handles on a genuine Lady Dior bag should be rigid and structured; however, contrary to what many claim, they do not always remain upright when the bag is set down. It is quite common, especially if the bag has been bumped or disturbed, for the handles to fall slightly forward or backward. Though, they should never fall to the side! On an authentic Lady Dior, the handles are connected to the body of the bag by large O-rings, which link through two sets of grommets. The O-rings are fixed into grooves in the grommets, restricting the handles from moving side to side. The handles are often the most poorly replicated feature on a counterfeit Lady Dior bag, so the way they move will be a dead giveaway.
On the first Lady Dior, each grommet was secured to the bag with two flathead screws. While the newer styles no longer use actual screws, the grommets are engraved with symbols that look like them. As these engravings serve no function, other than to pay tribute to the original design, many counterfeiters either execute them sloppily or leave them out altogether.
In honor of the house’s founder, who was known to always carry lucky charms with him, every authentic Lady Dior bag is detailed with metallic ‘D,’ ‘I,’ ‘O,’ and ‘R’ letter charms, which dangle from its front handle. As the ‘O’ charm is much larger than the others, it should always sit behind them. It should also always sit against a circular piece of leather that is embossed with ‘CHRISTIAN DIOR’ – and nothing else – on its back.
Each letter charm should be attached by a ring that is shaped like a figure of eight and left slightly open. Though eight was Christian Dior’s favorite number, this is not why these rings are used. Their shape actually allows the charms to lay flat against the bag, keeping their edges from scuffing or tearing its exterior material. The charms, however, can still gently swing back and forth. Since they overlap each other, small scratches will almost always appear on the surface of each – especially, if the pre-loved Lady Dior is vintage and shows other signs of frequent use.
Most Lady Dior bags should have a zipper closure, which features the Dior Cartouche. An oval logo, which is engraved with ‘CD,’ it is incorporated into many Dior styles to give them a jewelry-like look. On a real Lady Dior, the Cartouche will be attached to the zipper with precisely four links – three large and one mini. No less and no more! Following customer complaints (many have reported getting zipper burn on their wrists and forearms from reaching into and out of their Lady Dior bags), newer styles have been redesigned with a flap closure instead. So, if you come across this, especially on a Mini Lady Dior, do not automatically assume it is a knock-off.
Every real Lady Dior bag should have a leather tag attached to its interior lining. The tag should be rectangular, but with rounded corners, and stitched on all four of its sides. Often, the stitches along the top of the tag will be a slightly different color than those along the left, right, and bottom. While some Dior bags feature stitching only along the top of their interior tags, the Lady Dior is not one of them. No matter when the Lady Dior was produced, its interior tag should always be stitched the entire way around.
On a legitimate Lady Dior bag, the interior leather tag should be embossed with a heat stamp, identifying:
MADE IN ITALY (or, less common but still valid, MADE IN SPAIN)
Dior bags have not been made in France since before 1990. Since the Lady Dior was not created until four years later, in 1994, its heat stamp should never say this. Most are produced in Italy and some in Spain.
Generally, authentic Lady Dior bags are lined with jacquard canvas, which is printed with either the Cannage or Diorissimo motif; though, some styles are lined with leather. No matter the type of material, the color of the interior lining should always complement the exterior of the bag. Black – usually vintage – Lady Dior bags are the only exception to this, as their lining is often red.
Depending on its size, most genuine Lady Dior bags feature either four (on the mini and medium) or five (on the large) feet, which protect the bottom panel from wear. While many luxury brands use feet, Dior’s have a very distinctive look. They are shaped like neither a cone nor a dome, but something in between. Older releases, however, will not have any feet.