Princess Diana’s black “Revenge Dress” has become iconic, but a royal author has revealed that the late royal originally desired a white version.
On June 29, 1994, the late Princess of Wales wore a little black off-the-shoulder, form-fitting silk dress by Christina Stambolian, dubbed the “Revenge Dress,” to the Serpentine Gallery. On the same night, King Charles III admitted to having an affair with Queen Consort Camilla, his then-wife.
Claudia Joseph, author of “Diana: A Life in Dresses,” shared the story behind what has since become one of the most iconic fashion moments in a new interview.
She stated to Us Weekly:
“The story behind her wearing the ‘Revenge Dress’ is quite interesting. She’d gone into [the] Christina Stambolian dress shop with her brother Charlie Spencer, and he sat there while she tried on clothes.”
According to the royal writer, Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother ordered the off-the-shoulder gown but initially “wanted it in white.” Greek designer Christina Stambolian, on the other hand, suggested going with black instead.
“But Christina said, ‘No, no I think it would look better in black,’ [Diana] was [groaning] about it, but Christina insisted, ‘This looks fabulous on you.'”
Princess Diana eventually ordered the piece in black. The British press leaked that the royal would wear Valentino on the day of the Serpentine Gallery event, which made her “quite angry,” according to the royal author.
“[Diana] went into her closet and her butler suggested she wear the [Stambolian], and it of course got dubbed the ‘Revenge Dress,'”
According to the author, Princess Diana’s wardrobe was small when she married then-Prince Charles.
Joseph told the outlet:
“When she married [Charles], she was 20 years old. She said she only had one long dress, one silk skirt and a pair of shoes. She obviously went shopping for her wedding, but she gradually needed more and more. At that age, you haven’t really discovered your style.”
While Princess Diana was “very much influenced by the 1980s and the Romantics” in her early days as a royal, Joseph claims she “took risks and wore slightly shorter skirts” after she and Charles divorced in 1992.
In 2005, King Charles married Camilla. After 15 years of marriage, the former couple divorced in August 1996. Princess Diana died in August 1997 at the age of 36.
On the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, fashion news and features director Bethan Holt spoke about the “Revenge Dress” last year.
According to Holt, Princess Diana chose it because it was the “perfect statement of the freedom, confidence, and sexiness she wanted to project.”
That night, Princess Diana’s look was also approved by British fashion journalist and “Lady Di Look Book” author Eloise Moran.
“I think Diana is an embodiment of the movement. She was truly a feminist, and had a reputation for being rebellious – but at the same time held herself with so much grace,”
“She’s an icon for women and represents the power that comes from being ‘alone.’ I can’t imagine a time when that idea would ever become out of date.”