Friday, August 31, 2007

Branding the Famous: Princess Diana

Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana. I must admit - I watched the wedding, the funeral and remember where I was when I heard she had died. My parents were in London that week and they said that it was crazy with the mobs of people, the flowers and all the disruptions.

She was the most photographed person in history; as a matter of fact, I heard on NRP tonight that fashion mags in London would see a 25% increase in sales when Diana was on the cover. I'm sure that was true in the US as well.

So, it's not surprising to see her legacy live on in branded home furnishings as well. In the case of The Althorp Living History Collection, we have Diana's brother, Charles, Earl Spencer who has licensed a line of furnishings based on the family ancestral home. Made by Theodore Alexander, the furniture is really beautiful. I used a couple of the cabinets in a client project and they really make the space. This is a pretty subtle Diana branding - for instance, there are no photos of the princess used in the marketing or on the main website.

On the other hand, we have Paul Burrell, who was Princess Diana's butler. Mr. Burrell has launched the Royal Butler Collection of furniture and carpets. Mr. Burrell liberally uses Diana's image, and his own, on his website. The collection is filled with pretty standard fare. Not bad looking, but not particularly special.

And finally, here are a couple of random "tribute" pieces:

Princess Diana Settle at Riley Brothers

What do we think? Good... not good, inspirational, time to move on?


Great photos said...

It's not honoring someone's death by trying to make a profit by their name. Diana's "devoted" butler? I think this is greed.

Simon Jones said...

If Diana appears on the front cover of any magazine it'll see a bump in circulation. That trick doesn't just work in London (there are of course many other town cities and villages in the United Kingdon).

Ali said...

I think Diana's death offers lots of lessons to be learned about service and overcoming depression issues, let alone the dangers of driving while intoxicated and without a seat belt.

I agree that it doesn't hononr someone's death by profiting in their name.

laura s said...

I have to admit I never understood the Di obsession. Granted I might be a little young for it, but I just can't get into any of that royal family business.

Having said that, the first line had some striking pieces (love the leather wingback), and I would take nearly all of those rugs.

The butler thing seems a little tacky. Not the furniture, just the concept.

Moi ;) said...

I also remember where I was when she died - was watching SNL and they interrupted it for the accident. We proceeded to stay up until almos 2:00 in the morning watching. My husband is a major Anglophile.

I think it's really tacky to make a living off of Diana. 10 years later that people are Still able to do it just amazes me. Then again, look at Elvis. Still, I never buy things - and try to teach my son not to buy things - for commercial reasons.

So there I was, scrolling down thru all the photos on your page when I saw the rugs, before I read the last sentence and realized they were part of the same post. They are really killer, especially the red one. So the fact that they are using her face to sell them REALLY irks me now. They lost a sale on that one....

Moi ;) said...

BTW - speaking of Brit decor - I have been looking for botanical print lampshades and can't seem to find a decent source. Any ideas?

(I got desperate, painted a few of my own, I need better

Ms. Place said...

Wonders never cease. I can't say that I like the Butler's furniture, or the Althorp collection. It all looks a wee bit overblown. Poor Di. I was a fan, always checking her style trends. I can't believe it's been ten years.

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