Sudbury marketer designs Princess Diana exhibition

A Sudbury entrepreneur has designed an exhibition about the life of Princess Diana that will premiere in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in December and January.

Princess Diana: Accredited Access to premiere in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles

The Princess Diana: Accredited Access exhibition will premiere in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in January 2022. (Launchpad Creative)

A Sudbury entrepreneur has designed an exhibition about the life of Princess Diana that will premiere in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York in December and January.

Cliff Skelliter, the marketing director with Sudbury-based Launchpad Creative, was originally hired to manage the branding for the Princess Diana: Accredited Access exhibition.

"That's what my company does primarily is branding," he said.

But when he met with the exhibition organizers, he found out they struggled with a theme to tie everything together.

They had a collection of photos from royal photographers Anwar Hussein and his two sons, Zak and Samir. But they needed those photos of the iconic princess to tell a story.

Unlikely inspiration 

When Skelliter met with the creative team he had a novel idea.

"Why don't we do this like a documentary?" he told them.

He was inspired by the popular Netflix series The Crown, which gives viewers a dramatized behind-the-scenes peek into the Royal Family through the life of Queen Elizabeth.

But Skelliter said he also took inspiration from a more unlikely source: the Netflix documentary series The Last Dance, which chronicles Michael Jordan's basketball career with the Chicago Bulls.

"So you don't even have to be a fan of the 1990s Chicago Bulls," he said. "If you watch The Last Dance, you're just on the edge of your seat because you're learning all the behind-the-scenes stuff that happened."

Cliff Skelliter, the creative director of Sudbury's Launchpad Creative, was brought on board to design an exhibition about the life of Princess Diana. (Launchpad Creative)

Skelliter said he wanted to give Princess Diana's admirers that same feeling with the exhibition. When they saw many of the photos, he wanted them to feel as though they had an exclusive backstage pass into some aspects of her life.

The exhibition draws on the Husseins' photos, and also uses recorded interviews with the photographers to describe those moments in the princess' life. 

The exhibition also includes paper sculptures by Quebec artist Pauline Loctin. 

"And you wouldn't even know that it's made out of paper," Skelliter said. "That's how unbelievable this work is."

As for the recent surge in interest in Princess Diana, with her portrayal on The Crown and a new film, Spencer, Skelliter said he finds her influence timeless.

"She transcends time," he said. "She's such an icon."

While the exhibition will only be in the United States in December, Skelliter said it could come to Toronto at a later date. 

With files from Kate Rutherford


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