The Story Behind Diana’s Iconic Dress


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  • Over 25 years on, the revenge dress remains one of Princess Diana’s most iconic styles of all time. You’ve all seen the pictures of Diana stepping out of her car in that off-the shoulder dress, but do you know the actual story behind it?

    Let’s take a walk down sartorial memory lane. The date was 20th November 1994, and Diana, Princess of Wales, was attending the Vanity Fair party at the Serpentine Gallery in London.

    It was a particularly significant date, because it was the very evening that Prince Charles made his notorious adultery admission in a tell-all television interview.

    Public opinion of him was rather low, with most siding with ‘the people’s Princess’ in the separation. The documentary was meant to paint Prince Charles in a more sympathetic light, however tings backfired a little when the interviewer asking him if he had been faithful.

    The heir to the thrown replied, ‘Yes. Until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried,’ a less than subtle confession to his adultery with Camilla, which was rumoured to have gone on for years.

    So that same evening, while many were glued to their television screens, Princess Diana stepped out in the mother of all dresses.

    The black cocktail dress was actually commissioned from Christina Stambolian three years prior, but the Princess thought it too daring at the time. And it’s true that it wasn’t your typical royal dress, as it showed off cleavage, shoulders and *shock horror* legs as well.

    In fact, Diana had apparently planned to wear a different dress altogether to the event. According to The Telegraph, she had prepped a Valentino number, but details were leaked to the press so she changed her mind.

    It’s hard to know whether the Princess knew the effect the dress would have, but her former stylist AnnA Harvey did say she wanted to ‘look like a million dollars’.

    That she did, with the dress making triumphant headlines the next day, thus earning the ‘Princess Diana revenge dress’ title.

    But whilst this is undoubtedly one of her most famous dresses, you could argue her whole wardrobe post divorce was a revenge.

    Gone were the stuffy gowns and demure dresses. Since she didn’t have to follow a strict dress code anymore, Diana came into her own, embracing the shorter hems and sleek tailoring that defined the 90s. She particularly loved Valentino dresses, like this white one she wore to attend a charity gala in Italy.

    ITALY – SEPTEMBER 12: Princess Of Wales Arriving At Concert In Italy To Raise Money For Bosnian Children. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

    AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 31 1996: Diana, Princess of Wales at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute dinner dance at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Australia (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

    Still elegant, but more mature in her sartorial choices, as you can see from these looks.



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