Kristen Stewart's Princess Diana Wig Cost $6,000 — and Took 6 Weeks to Make
Considering Princess Diana was once the most photographed woman in the world, hair and makeup designer Wakana Yoshihara had plenty of reference material to work with when transforming Kristen Stewart into the beloved royal for Spencer.
"It was quite easy because there are so many available images of her," Yoshihara tells InStyle. "When you Google search 'Princess Diana in 1991', hundreds of images come through."
Spencer takes place over three days at Sandringham, Christmas 1991, spotlighting Diana's decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles and her life as a royal. The film coins itself as "a fable from a true tragedy," reimagining events that may have transpired over the holiday and out of the tabloids.
With that in mind, director Pablo Larraín took one liberty when deciding which iconic Diana hairstyle Stewart would wear in the film. Instead of the fluffy pixie hairstylist Sam McKnight famously chopped Diana's hair into during a 1990 photoshoot, Stewart wears her hair in the royal's earlier style, a coiffed, feathered bob.
"In 1991 Diana's hair was quite short, so I first presented photos of that look," Yoshihara says. "But Pablo gave me photos of a much earlier hairstyle from 1986. It was a time where Diana was happier and she had longer hair. So I found more images from the same locations of the photos he showed me to match the different angles of the hairstyle."
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and Brexit, Yoshihara and wig maker Samuel James sent the two wigs Stewart wore in the film back and forth to each other, adding knots of hair and dyeing it until the color, length, and layers were just right. Each wig, Yoshihara says, cost close to $6,000, and she went for quality over quantity, creating one wig for the royal's coiffed bob and another for a straighter, softer style worn in scenes with Prince William and Prince Harry.
"This process took about six weeks, and I probably colored the wig three times before I met Kristen," Yoshihara shares. "When we did the first fitting I knew the color wasn't right, so I colored it again." While Diana's hair was more of a honey blonde, Stewart's color in the film is brighter and ashier to better suit her complexion.
Yoshihara used Bumble and bumble's Surf Foam Blow Dry Spray to add texture and grit to the wig and Paul Mitchell Frim Style Freeze and Shine Super Spray to set the style. To keep the wig hair hydrated, the designer turned to Oribe's Gold Lust Hair Oil. "I used the oil often to maintain the shininess in the wig because it has to be very stable, but at the same time it can't look like a scarecrow; we needed something to moisturize it," she says.
In-between takes, Ouai's Wave Spray was applied to the wig whenever the texture needed a refresh. "The good thing about wigs is that once you put the products in, you don' have to wash them out. The more products you put in the wig, the more stable the style becomes," Yoshihara explains.
The biggest struggle was figuring out when which wig needed to be ready for shooting. In addition to swapping the coifed and relaxed wigs for different scenes, there is a montage scene featuring some of Diana's most famous outfits, including her wedding dress. Yoshihara switched up the coiffed bob for some of the looks in this scene, adding more volume and a hair piece to the back for length. "It was a bit of jigsaw puzzle but it worked out in the end," she says.
As for Princess Diana's makeup look, the team took a straightforward approach. In the film, Stewart's porcelain skin is accented with a touch of blush, neutral lips, and the eye is subtly defined with eyeliner and fluttery lashes. The star's makeup artist, Stacey Panepinto, has worked with the star for 15 years on a number of her films, and knows her face well.
And so, the look came together despite the three not being able to meet in-person until two days before shooting due to COVID lockdown restrictions. "In the beginning, [Kristen] didn't want to wear a wig, I think because she didn't have experience wearing a very good wig," Yoshihara says. "Then she put this one on, and with the makeup, we got great feedback. She was very happy and confident with it."
"Pablo said quite often that we are not making Kristen Stewart into Diana, we are making Diana into Kristen Stewart," Yoshihara says.
Spencer hits theaters on November 5, 2021.