Princess Diana's Revenge Dress Was Almost An Entirely Different Colour And Vibe

Would it have had the same effect?
Would it have had the same effect?

Would it have had the same effect?

If anyone utters the words Princess Diana, you know her iconic revenge dress will come up in conversation. You cannot talk about the late princess without talking about the picture of her walking out of that car in that black Christina Stambolian dress.

The moment was also recreated in the fifth season of The Crown, with Elizabeth Debicki emulating the late royal.

The dress was dubbed the revenge dress because of the fact that she chose to wear it on the day the then-Prince Charles admitted to having an affair with his now-wife Camila Parker Bowles on national television.

But as it turns out, the iconic revenge dress was actually supposed to be white in colour.

The designer recalled her interaction with the late Princess and how the dress came to be in the new book Diana: A Life in Dresses by journalist and author Claudia Joseph (published by ACC Art Books).

It was 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon in September,” Christina Stambolian recalled in the book, “I thought that the woman looked familiar. We all laughed when we realised it really was her.”

After the princess shopped at her store, she told the designer: “I want a special dress for a special occasion. It doesn’t matter if it is short or long. It has to be something special.” 

The original sketch of the 'revenge dress'
The original sketch of the 'revenge dress'

The original sketch of the 'revenge dress'

Stambolian then drew a few sketches on a piece of paper. The dress was revealing, quite short and showed some skin. 

Diana was not sure about it and thought it was a bit risky, recalls the designer. 

“I said: “Why not be daring?” But she wanted everything more covered up, longer and the neck higher. The dress was brave and revealing,” she recalled.

”Finally, she said yes to the style – then we moved on to the colour. I had black in my mind, but she wanted cream,” said Stambolian.

“To me, Diana was a black and white sort of person. That was the way she was – there were no grey areas. I thought of black for the colour. I thought of her in a sophisticated way. I didn’t like her in the pale pinks and blues with lots of beading,” she added.

It took two dressmakers more than 60 hours to make the dress. For three years, Diana did not wear the dress. The designer had lost hope that her dress would ever be worn by the Princess.

“Three years went by and she hadn’t worn it,” she said. “I was very disappointed. Then I realised she had been waiting for the right occasion. She looked like a beautiful black bird in it.”

But then that fateful day came when Diana had to attend the Serpentine Ball. She had originally planned to wear a Valentino gown to the event. But when she found out that Valentino had rung up the media, telling them that the Princess would be wearing the brand’s dress to the Ball, she was furious.

So she decided to go with the now iconic black dress she will always be remembered for. 

And there you have it. That is how the revenge dress was born, which would be emulated by many, many people for decades and generations to come.

You can purchase the book for yourself here.