In 1995 Dior was asked by Bernadette Chirac (wife of Jacques, then the newly elected French president) to design a welcome present for Diana, Princess of Wales, who that September was due to attend an event sponsored by the iconic French house. The result: a posh top-handle tote, crafted in Dior’s iconic cannage texture, inspired by the cane pattern on the chairs in Monsieur Dior’s atelier.

Diana carried the bag everywhere, thus ensuring its status as a must-have. In 1996, the label asked Diana if the design could be sold and named in her honor: Lady Di, meet Lady Dior.

The bag has since been reinterpreted in varying materials and sizes, always with an eye toward its dignified origins, while its popularity has spawned everything from its own website to two short films and a music video starring Marion Cotillard. Fifteen years later, and with red such a hot shade for fall, this seems the ideal bag to remember the how and why of such a ladylike moment.

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