Princess Diana's Iconic "Revenge Dress" Was Supposed to be White, Apparently

OK, that would have been so different.

Lord Palumbo greets Princess Diana, wearing a short black cocktail dress designed by Christina Stambolian, as she atttends a Gala at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park
(Image credit: Getty/Tim Graham)

When you hear the words "Princess Diana's Revenge Dress," many of you probably immediately get an image in your head of the gorgeous off-the-shoulder black mini she wore on the same day that Prince Charles admitted to cheating on her on British TV.

But apparently, this dress could originally have been white, which would have produced such a different effect.

"The story behind her wearing the 'Revenge Dress' is quite interesting," royal fashion expert and author Claudia Joseph told Us Weekly.

"She’d gone into Christina Stambolian dress shop with her brother Charlie Spencer, and he sat there while she tried on clothes."

Apparently, Diana wanted the same dress, but in white. "But Christina said, 'No, no I think it would look better in black,'" Joseph said.

"She was [groaning] about it, but Christina insisted, 'This looks fabulous on you,'" and in the end, the princess went with the black option, which she wore to the Serpentine Gallery that day in 1994.

Joseph also reflected on the very public evolution of Diana's style over the years.

"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," Joseph explained.

"She obviously went shopping for her wedding, but she gradually needed more and more. At that age, you haven’t really discovered your style.

She wore "sleek designer creations" throughout her time as a senior royal, but had to reinvent her sense of style again post-separation.

"We’d see her in working suits from Chanel," Joseph observed. "She took risks and wore slightly shorter skirts.

"When she was with Charles, she didn’t wear heels because she didn’t want to stand towering above him. But once they divorced, she could wear what she wanted."

And so the iconic bike shorts and sweatshirt combo was born.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.