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Outside of Princess Diana’s wedding gown, her “Revenge Dress” is probably her most iconic look. Now, Claudia Joseph, author of Diana: A Life in Dresses, is sharing a well-kept secret about that ensemble that set the fashion world on fire.
Diana wore the dress to the Serpentine Gallery on June 29, 1994, which just happened to be the same night Prince Charles revealed he was cheating on his wife with Camilla Parker-Bowles. She wasn’t going to let her estranged husband get the last word, Diana was going to speak through her wardrobe. The Christina Stambolian outfit wasn’t originally going to be black, though. Joseph revealed to Us Weekly that Diana “wanted it in white” — a color that probably wouldn’t have scorched the royal earth if she had worn it that night. Stambolian encouraged her to order the off-the-shoulder dress in black instead, which took some convincing.
On the night of her big event, the U.K. tabloids dished that Diana would be wearing Valentino, which didn’t leave much of a surprise. So, with Charles’ scandalous news, the Princess of Wales knew she needed to make a fashion statement in some other ensemble — and her close confidante helped her out. “She got quite angry about that, so she went into her closet and her butler [Paul Burrell] suggested she wear the [Stambolian], and it of course got dubbed the ‘Revenge Dress’” the author shared.
That epic night was where Diana stepped into her independence. It was no longer about her marriage to Charles, she was ready to step into a new era — confident, sexy, and leading with love. That breathtaking moment came down to a color choice and just by switching the shade of the dress, Diana sealed her fashion legacy.
Before you go, click here to see Princess Diana’s most scandalous royal moments.
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