Opinion

Why the one-piece is this summer's swimsuit royalty

Karen Hardy
November 25 2023 - 12:00am

Season six of The Crown has lobbed just in time. Summer starts in a few days and that means it's time for a new pair of swimmers. It's a time always fraught with danger. The very idea of baring a body that's still carrying signs of the cooler months is a complicated thing. Let alone having to think about what might be fashionable for '23-24.

WATCH: The Crown on Netflix: season 6 promo

My social media feed is full of flimsy options. Pert young influencers with hardly more than a nipple covered, firm behinds resplendent in the premium G-string wedgie.

I wouldn't want to put anyone at Dickson pool through that.

So thank the lord for Lady Diana.

Diana's iconic blue swimsuit. Picture by Daniel Escale (Netflix)
Diana's iconic blue swimsuit. Picture by Daniel Escale (Netflix)

Red eyes from all the crying I've been doing knowing she is about to die. If you didn't cry when she was making what would be her final phone call to the boys you have no soul.

It's also reinforced my love for the love of Charles and Camilla. I know I'm kind of on my own here. Theirs was the love of a lifetime, if only they had been allowed to marry back in season three none of this nonsense would have happened. Think about that, how different our relationship with royalty would have been.

It's also made me think - and yes I know it's a fictionalised account - perhaps Charles, now King, isn't quite the awful person we think he is. There was always an affection for Diana. The scene, which would have been the last time they saw each other, where they talk about being better at divorce than they were at marriage touched this old divorcee's heart. And then her ghost - there's that non-fiction thing again - visits him and there is still love, in some form, between them both.

Does a leopard ever change its spots? Picture by Daniel Escale (Netflix)
Does a leopard ever change its spots? Picture by Daniel Escale (Netflix)

Dominic West, who is playing Charles this season, was a right cad in The Affair (something to watch while we wait for the final four episodes to lob on December 14) but he's made Charles rather lovable in The Crown.

But I'm meant to be shopping for a swimsuit. What on earth would I have in common with Diana? Why am I inspired by her fashion choices?

Because maybe in four episodes, Diana has brought back the simple one-piece. The maillot, the racerback, the monokini.

How could you ever forget the leopard-skin suit she wore while flirting with the paparazzi off the coast of southern France?

Or the pink number with the plunging back she wore in those first incriminating photographs, kissing Dodi on the yacht?

There's a scene in episode two, where Diana and Dodi are lolling about on his yacht. She's got that pink swimsuit on and he's asking her what she thinks her best feature is. She turns it on him and he says her legs. She laughs and says she always thought her arms were her best feature. Then Elizabeth Debicki (who plays Diana) points one long, lean leg to the sky.

If I had legs like that perhaps I would be happy with a wedgie.

But alas, I do not. So perhaps I'll settle on something closer to the blue suit she was wearing in that infamous photograph of her perched on the yacht's diving board. Legs dangled over the edge, that iconic tilt of her head. She looked sad in that photograph, I always thought, and I could never understand why.

In the pink aboard the yacht. Picture by Daniel Escale/Netflix
In the pink aboard the yacht. Picture by Daniel Escale/Netflix

She was the most beautiful woman in the world, hanging out on a yacht with a man who purported to love her, the world at her feet, feet at the end of legs I envied.

Perhaps she kind of knew - and this fictonalised version of it all kind of hints at this - her life was not as fabulous as we all thought it was.

Or perhaps she, too, was contemplating the idea of having to shop for another swimsuit.

I wonder if Diana ever worried, and I'm sure she did, about how she looked in said swimsuits.

Was it really 10 years ago I wrote a piece about how wearing a bikini for the first time in several decades gave me a certain kind of confidence I hadn't had in years? In about 35 years.

I was on a trip to some remote island, such is the life of this global influencer. Ha. And we were advised to ''pack your bikinis and meet in the lobby for a private chartered cruise to a private bay for a picnic champagne lunch''. Living the kind of life Diana herself might have envied.

And I rocked that bikini.

So why am I thinking about returning to a one-piece?

It's all Diana's fault.

Karen Hardy

Karen Hardy

Canberra Times lifestyle reporter

I've covered a few things here at The Canberra Times over the years, from sport to education. But now I get to write about the fun stuff - where to eat, what to do, places to go, people to see. Let me know about your favourite things. Email: karen.hardy@canberratimes.com.au

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