BY SIMON PERRY AND MONIQUE JESSEN-People Magazine
Soon after Princess Diana’s sudden death at the age of 36, tributes came pouring in from all over the world.
One of those tributes was a one-of-a-kind tartan, conceived and made in Scotland by Lochcarron, weavers of the world’s largest range of pure wool tartans.
Since 1997, the Princess Diana Memorial Collection has included a series of products from shawls to scarves, but now, the elegant pastel patterns are featured in a set of babywear from one of Princess Kate’s favorite maternity designers, Séraphine. The new collection includes dresses, rompers, booties and hats.
“We are giving life to the pattern,” says Tessy Ojo, CEO of the Diana Award charity that has replaced the disbanded Memorial Fund in receiving the proceeds from the sales. “When people were pouring out with emotion after her death, they wanted to do something in her name.”
The blue tartan pattern was the first design created by Lochcarron in 1997, in the immediate aftermath of the princess’s death. Based on a variation of the Royal Stewart design, they used colors “inspired by the princess,” the company says. Then, in 2009, a soft pink tartan was introduced, called the Diana Memorial Rose Tartan.
“Originally designed by the then chairman of Lochcarron, Alistair Buchan, the tartan in blue tones perfectly epitomizes the timeless elegance of the princess,” head of design Dawn Robson-Bell tells PEOPLE. “Our skilled in-house design team worked on a complementary variation of the original tartan to build on the appeal of beautiful fabrics.”Both tartans, woven in Scotland, are used in the outfits designed by Séraphine. Founder of the brand Cecile Reinaud tells PEOPLE the company turned the designs around in six months after they were approached by the charity last April. “I was so excited by the potential of this range, as well as deeply motivated to contribute to the charity, that I pulled out all the stops to fast track the launch!” she says.
“I’m really proud of this range and the hard work we put into developing it, but what motivates me most is to play a part in this amazing charity and give back to the community some of my business success.
“The Diana Award team makes us feel an integral part of their organization, and it has been a very rewarding and humbling experience to work with such great people committed to do good,” Reinaud continues.
The Diana Award, which works to continue the princess’s legacy to empowering young people, receives 12 percent of the proceeds of the Diana Collection sales. Ojo also hopes to build on the success with a summer-inspired set of designs in lighter fabrics.
In the meantime, Reinaud says that the reception from America to China has been “incredible.”