Vintage fashion dealer sold nearly 100 pieces to The Crown including Diana’s Valentino suit Leave a comment


A vintage clothing dealer is proving why it’s not always a good idea give your wardrobe a brutal clear out – after more than 100 of her pieces were admired by millions across the globe when they appeared on The Crown.

Chiara Menage, 54, who lives in central London, runs Menage Modern Vintage, an online clothing boutique which caught the eye of Amy Roberts, the costume designer for the Netflix hit.

Dozens of her authentic vintage pieces ended up on the stars of season four, in particular Emma Corrin’s Princess Diana and Erin Doherty’s Princess Anne.

Some of the more memorable outfits include the striking red Valentino suit worn by Diana on a visit to Sandringham at Christmas, the chic pale yellow Hardy Amies ensemble she wore for a lunch with love rival Camilla Parker Bowles, and the floral Liberty dress she had on when Prince Charles proposed.

Chiara Menage, 54, who lives in central London, runs Menage Modern Vintage, an online clothing boutique which caught the eye of Amy Roberts, the costume designer for The Crown (pictured: Emma Corrin as Diana in one of Chiara's suits)

Chiara Menage, 54, who lives in central London, runs Menage Modern Vintage, an online clothing boutique which caught the eye of Amy Roberts, the costume designer for The Crown (pictured: Emma Corrin as Diana in one of Chiara’s suits)

Dozens of her authentic vintage pieces ended up on the stars of season four, in particular Emma Corrin's Princess Diana, pictured wearing a red Valentino suit

Dozens of her authentic vintage pieces ended up on the stars of season four, in particular Emma Corrin's Princess Diana, pictured wearing a red Valentino suit

Dozens of her authentic vintage pieces ended up on the stars of season four, in particular Emma Corrin’s Princess Diana, pictured wearing a red Valentino suit she provided

‘For shows like these you have to be a detective, and The Crown is looking for clothes that help to tell the story,’ Chiara told The Telegraph.

‘So you do all your research about what the characters wore at the time and then the final outfit may not be identical but it will look great on screen and encapsulate where they were at that point in history.’

She added that she was ‘very lucky’ to have got talking to Amy before filming of season four commenced, which coincided with her buying five storage units full of unseen clothes, which took ‘months’ to sift through.

‘We found suitcases with old smoked salmon in them and bills for the Dorchester for millions of pounds. I ended up selling nearly 100 pieces to The Crown,’ Chiara told the publication. 

Chiara (pictured) said she was 'very lucky' to have got talking to Amy before filming of season four commenced, which coincided with her buying five storage units full of unseen clothes, which took 'months' to sift through

Chiara (pictured) said she was ‘very lucky’ to have got talking to Amy before filming of season four commenced, which coincided with her buying five storage units full of unseen clothes, which took ‘months’ to sift through

Writing on Instagram, Chiara said: 'It has been so interesting to watch how the brilliant @thecrownnetflix costume designer Amy Roberts manages to reveal so much about a character through what they wear. These images show Diana¿s progress from shy, demure wife to sexy strong woman as she starts to become aware of her own power.' Pictured in a top she provided for the show

Writing on Instagram, Chiara said: ‘It has been so interesting to watch how the brilliant @thecrownnetflix costume designer Amy Roberts manages to reveal so much about a character through what they wear. These images show Diana’s progress from shy, demure wife to sexy strong woman as she starts to become aware of her own power.’ Pictured in a top she provided for the show

The floral Liberty dress Emma Corrin's Diana wore when Prince Charles proposed came from Chiara

The floral Liberty dress Emma Corrin’s Diana wore when Prince Charles proposed came from Chiara

Chiara sources most of her vintage designer clothes from people who no longer want or need them, with many having been stowed away gathering dust without once being worn, and stashes her treasure trove in a storage unit (pictured: Diana in another of Chiara's garments)

Chiara sources most of her vintage designer clothes from people who no longer want or need them, with many having been stowed away gathering dust without once being worn, and stashes her treasure trove in a storage unit (pictured: Diana in another of Chiara’s garments)

Chiara and Amy spent an entire day going through every item, with her laying out rails and selecting what she thought might work for the award-winning drama. 

‘[The production team] went nuts,’ she previously told 9News Australia. ‘It wasn’t until I saw The Crown, I saw the actual garments on the actual actresses, Princess Diana in her key moments, it was really, really exciting for me, it was so much fun. 

‘And it was really exciting for my clients who’d given me the clothes because I sent them pictures from the screen and said, “Look out, this is your suit from the Sixties or Eighties or whatever that’s on this person in this scene,” and they were thrilled.’ 

Chiara sources most of her vintage designer clothes from people who no longer want or need them, with many having been stowed away gathering dust without once being worn, and stashes her treasure trove in a storage unit.

Chiara believes Princess Anne (pictured played by Erin Doherty, wearing an outfit she sourced for Balmoral scenes) and Princess Margaret had 'some really stylish' clothes and were 'English gentlewomen at their best'

Chiara believes Princess Anne (pictured played by Erin Doherty, wearing an outfit she sourced for Balmoral scenes) and Princess Margaret had ‘some really stylish’ clothes and were ‘English gentlewomen at their best’

An entire rail of unique garments came from one collector who was a Swedish heiress, whom she happened upon by chance.

‘She used to live all over the world, in top hotels, and she used to go shopping a lot,’ Chiara explained.

Chiara, who previously worked as a film producer, has been selling garments on her website for two-and-a-half years – and since The Crown, business has been booming, with traffic to menagemodernvintage.com increasing from 300 visitors a week to an average of more than 20,000.

She originally set up the website to sell on her own beloved hoard of vintage clothes which she no longer wore; this included a rainbow sequin catsuit by Rifat Ozbek (one of only two in existence, with the other owned by Grace Jones) – the sale of which helped fund setting up her small home studio.

The Crown's Diana in one of Chiara's Guy Laroche quilted velvet jackets

The Crown's Princess Anne in a buckled fur hat which she provided

Chiara, who previously worked as a film producer, has been selling garments on her website for two-and-a-half years – and since The Crown, business has been booming. Pictured: Diana in one of her Guy Laroche quilted velvet jackets (left) and right, Anne in a buckled fur hat which she provided

The chic pale yellow Hardy Amies ensemble Diana wore for a lunch with love rival Camilla Parker Bowles was sourced from Chiara's collection

The chic pale yellow Hardy Amies ensemble Diana wore for a lunch with love rival Camilla Parker Bowles was sourced from Chiara’s collection

While it was difficult to part with the jumpsuit, she told The Anglofile she finds it ‘liberating’ to pass things on and gets a lot of pleasure out items going to good homes and seeing them ‘live on’ – particularly when they end up on screen.

She even listed her own wedding dress on her website, and sold the Chanel suit her now-husband bought for her during their first trip to Paris.  

‘I just think they deserve to be enjoyed and worn rather than sit in a wardrobe,’ she said. 

Chiara told The Anglofile her favourite British designer of all time is Vivienne Westwood, for her ‘endless inventiveness and wit combined with beautiful tailoring, her celebration of sexiness and subversiveness, her always being ahead of the curve from early punk to championing sustainability in recent years’. 

She is currently busy sourcing items for a big-budget show set in the Nineties, which she wasn’t allowed to name.   

And while she ‘can’t really see’ many of Lady Diana’s early looks from The Crown catching on, Chiara believes Princess Anne and Princess Margaret had ‘some really stylish’ clothes and were ‘English gentlewomen at their best’.

‘I think the royals have always played a valuable role in promoting fashion and communicating messages. I like the new generation’s less formal approach,’ she said. 

‘Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are relatable in what they wear and often favour brands which are accessible to the general public. Princess Beatrice gets a special round of applause for borrowing her granny’s vintage dress for her wedding.’

Speaking about The Crown, she added: ‘I’m already looking forward to Diana’s revenge looks in season five.’  



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