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Friday, March 24, 2023

Princess Diana, Taylor Swift and Julia Fox – WWD

LONDON — Diana, the Princess of Wales’s Christina Stamboulian black gown, dubbed “the dress of revenge,” launched thousands of attacks on then-Prince Charles in 1994.

Her dress lives on, even 28 years after Diana wore it to the Serpentine Gallery summer party, which she decided to attend at the last minute.

A photo of Diana in the dress appeared on the front page of almost every international newspaper the following day, topping coverage of Prince Charles’ televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby during which he publicly confessed his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Now, the famous black chiffon dress is getting a much-anticipated on-screen treatment in the fifth season of Netflix’s “The Crown,” which premieres on Wednesday, with Elizabeth Debicki playing the role of the late princess.

“Her most important outfit is without a doubt her revenge dress. It represented so much then and now, and in many ways it was the antithesis of her wedding dress,” said Eloise Moran, author of “The Lady Di Look Book: What Diana Was Trying to Tell Us Through Her Clothes” and curator of the Lady Di Look Book account. Instagram @ladydirevengelooks.

“The black chiffon mini train contrasted with the 25 foot long train of her wedding dress, signifying the end of her marriage and her release. I like to think of it as her divorce dress,” Moran added.

Diana wore the LBD with a three-strand pearl choker, featuring a large oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds that belonged to Queen Mary, which the princess decided to reimagine into a necklace.

The choker made its debut in 1985 on a state visit to the White House, the night Diana danced with John Travolta in a long navy blue velvet gown designed by Victor Edelstein. She wore it again to a concert at London’s Albert Hall in 1991 and to the Met Gala in New York in 1996, where the theme was dedicated to Christian Dior and John Galliano had designed a navy Dior shirtdress for the princess. .

Princess Diana dances with John Travolta in Cross Hall at the White House during an official dinner on Nov. 9, 1985. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

Pete Souza/The White House via G

“Travolta’s dress really foreshadows the revenge dress, which is often cited as his most important outfit, but I think maybe he wouldn’t have worn that revenge dress without having that Victor Edelstein dress first. It’s amazing the power that came from her wearing a dress instead of a dress that wore her,” said Bethan Holt, author of “The Queen: 70 Years of Majestic Style” and “The Duchess of Cambridge: A Decade of Modern royal-style”.

“The revenge dress was a pressure,” Debicki said in the November issue of British Vogue, explaining that Diana had kept the dress in her wardrobe for two or three years before deciding to wear it.

“It was super daring at the time. She was claiming the space. The way she got out of that car, the lightness, the force of her when the car door opened, it was so quick and so direct. It is an extraordinary thing to see. Deciding what you’re saying about yourself through fashion…it was a currency. An incredibly powerful coin,” Debicki said.

Diana’s most controversial looks have often been in black, as it is royal etiquette to wear only the dark shade for mourning.

At her first public engagement to Prince Charles in 1981, then-Diana Spenser wore a strapless taffeta gown by David and Elizabeth Emanuel to a fundraising concert and reception at the Royal Opera House.

The dress was auctioned in 2010 by Kerry Taylor Auctions in London for £192,000. It was compiled by the Fundación Museo de la Moda, a fashion museum in Chile.

But the versions of the ‘revenge dress’ continue to appear as karma: what goes around comes around.

NEW YORK, USA - FEBRUARY 14: Julia Fox walks the runway during the LaQuan Smith Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2022-2023 fashion show as part of New York Fashion Week on February 14, 2022 in New York City.  (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Julia Fox walks the runway during LaQuan’s Fall 2022 Fashion Show in New York City. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

In 2022, similar styles with similar messages have already made two stops before Debicki’s debut, from Julia Fox opening LaQuan Smith’s fall 2022 show in a black maxi dress with cut-outs at the neckline fresh from her breakup with Kanye West , to Taylor Swift singing, “I don’t dress as a woman/I don’t dress as a man/I’ve been dressing for revenge lately,” on the song “Vigilante Sh—t” from her new album “Midnights (3am Edition).”

Anyone who uses the tool of fashion to send a message is dressing for revenge, and that’s what Diana was doing with her dress, speaking with her clothes instead of saying it out loud.

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