The summer season of 1994 was uncharacteristically heat for Nice Britain. Sizzling, sunny days had been adopted by shut, sticky nights — and by the tip of June, stress had began to construct. The final week of the month was an explosive one, meteorologically and culturally. On Friday June 24, an exceptionally extreme thunderstorm hit the south east of the UK, diffusing a lot grass pollen it triggered a sudden and short-lived bronchial asthma epidemic. Two days later, and after years of mounting hypothesis, the British press broke the information that Prince Charles had unintentionally revealed his unfaithfulness to Princess Diana throughout an ITN documentary. (When requested if he had stayed loyal to his spouse, the Prince of Wales nodded. “Yes absolutely,” he mentioned earlier than including of his marriage “until it became irretrievably broken down.”)
On Wednesday June 29, the identical day this system aired to 13 million viewers throughout the nation, Diana emerged from the emotional wreckage to attend a gala in a robe so charming it has since been identified merely as “the revenge dress.”
Princess Diana carrying the black Christina Stambolian costume whereas attending a celebration on the Serpentine Gallery in London, June 1994. Credit score: Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Royals Assortment/Getty Photographs
Black, off-the shoulder with a sweetheart neckline and a figure-hugging skirt that completed above the knee, the cocktail costume — designed by Christina Stambolian — was in contrast to something Diana, or every other royal, had ever worn in public. “Diana wanted to look a million dollars,” the princess’ former stylist Anna Harvey mentioned in “Princess Diana’s Dresses: The Auction,” a 2013 Channel 4 documentary. “And she did.”
The following morning, images of her incendiary outfit had been splashed throughout the British tabloids’ entrance pages: “Revenge is chic,” wrote the Solar. “Di last night showed Charles what he’s missing.”
Elizabeth Debicki, pictured right here, will play Princess Diana within the new season of “The Crown,” recreating the legendary second on-screen. Credit score: Keith Bernstein/Netflix
After information of her casting broke, Debicki advised EW the hallowed costume was among the many first questions on many lips. “It fascinated me how entranced people were with that dress,” she mentioned. “When it became known that I had the part, I received these text messages saying congratulations, (but) there was also a huge amount of text messages about the Revenge Dress. ‘Do you get to wear the Revenge Dress?’ ‘Oh my God, you get to wear the Revenge Dress!'”
Diana’s choice to put on the costume that night was apparently an impulsive one. In line with “Princess Diana’s Dresses: The Auction,” it had been sitting in her closet for 3 years earlier than its fateful outing, for worry it was “too daring,” mentioned designer Stambolian. As a substitute, the Telegraph reported Diana had been fitted for a Valentino costume — however a untimely press launch despatched by the style home alerting journalists to the ensemble put her off. However whereas it could have been a snap judgment, the revenge costume created a legacy that will endure for almost three many years, and counting. It was a second of sartorial autonomy: a riot towards royal costume codes and enforced notions of chastity and compliance. As a substitute of submitting to public disgrace or scorn, Diana advised the world she wouldn’t go quietly.