The people’s princess, Princess Diana, will forever be remembered for her humanitarian efforts. But, she was also regarded as a fashion icon who was undeniably ahead of her time. Among Diana’s most show-stopping fashion moments was the iconic off-shoulder little black dress (LBD).
On June 29, 1994, Princess Diana made her way to London’s Hyde Park to take part in Vanity Fair’s annual fundraising event for the Serpentine Gallery. As a defiant act against the royal dress code, Diana appeared in a striking off-the-shoulder, form-fitting black chiffon dress.
At the same time, her estranged husband, Prince Charles, was set to appear on television in a much-anticipated primetime interview. However, rather than canceling her engagements, Princess Diana appeared at the gala in the Christina Stambolian dress full of confidence.
During the interview, Prince Charles spilled the tea on their marriage, admitting his infidelity. Yet Princess Diana’s sexy LBD garnered more media attention, dethroning Prince Charles’ confession. As a result, the little black dress was dubbed the “revenge dress.” On the following day, The Sun famously wrote, “The Thrilla He Left To Woo Camilla.”
While the dress Princess Diana wore that evening made quite a statement, it wasn’t only “revenge” she had on her mind when selecting it.
Princess Diana’s Last Minute Change
In 1991, Princess Diana bought the dress off the rack, but later decided it was too daring for royal protocol. Thus, the sexy number remained hidden away in her closet.
On the night of the gala, Princess Diana was planning to wear Valentino. However, when she learned that the fashion house had put out a premature press release announcing that she would wear one of their designs, she felt put off. Therefore, she changed her outfit at the last moment, choosing the Stambolian dress she had held onto for three years. In addition to the dress, she wore a pearl choker necklace with a sapphire and diamond brooch that was a wedding gift from the Queen.
“She wanted to look like a million dollars,” her former stylist Anna Harvey explained. “And she did.”
Diana’s iconic fashion moment was more than just revenge. It was a statement that she was splitting from the soft, shy princess-like appearance she had once possessed. After a night on the town in her LBD, she never looked back.
‘The Crown’ Recreates Princess Diana’s Head-Turning LBD
In spite of the original LBD being auctioned in June of 1997 for $65,000, the iconic dress has recently made headlines once more. A replica of the revenge dress once worn by Princess Diana was made for the hit series The Crown.
Elizabeth Debicki will portray the late princess in season five of The Crown. Debicki was recently seen filming the iconic scene, which shows Diana arriving at the gala wearing the statement dress. Between the set photos and the original, there was a striking resemblance. A new season of The Crown is set to premiere in November 2022.