When a celebrity outfit enters the fashion zeitgeist, it lives on forever in the trend cycle. Take Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s Canadian tuxedo moment or Jennifer Lopez’s green Versace dress. Another addition to this list is Princess Diana’s “revenge dress.” (You know the one.) Even after two decades, her off-the-shoulder look from Greek fashion designer Christina Stambolian conjures up strong feelings and memories amongst fans. (Remember how the internet freaked out when actor Elizabeth Debecki recreated this exact outfit while filming Season 5 of The Crown?)
Here’s a little royal history for those unfamiliar with the look. Back in June 1994, Princess Di wore the form-fitting dress to a gala the very same night Prince Charles admitted to having an affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Instead of shying away from this uncomfortable truth, the princess stepped out in a jaw-dropping glamorous dress — and delivered the powerful message that she wasn’t about to hide in shame. (According to the royal’s former stylist, Anna Harvey, Princess Di said she wanted to look “like a million dollars” that night — and, she did.)
Since then, the idea of a revenge dress — a glam and sexy look one wears post heartbreak — has been attributed to Princess Diana. The topic once again resurfaced earlier this year when Julia Fox gave her own spin on the trend. On Feb. 14, 2022 Fox and Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) publicly announced their split after a whirlwind romance. That very same day, which also happened to be Valentine’s Day, Fox opened the LaQuan Smith Fall/Winter 2022 runway show in a cutout black dress. This moment set the internet aflame once more, with many users calling her designer number a “revenge dress.”
When images of their outfits are compared to side by side, you can see the similarities between the two but also some differences. Unlike Princess Di’s LBD, Fox’s dress tapped into the times — namely the cutout fashion trend that’s dominating 2022. Her revenge dress featured three giant keyholes in the middle of the chest area and it flowed down to the runway stage. Her look spoke to the sexy dressing theme for the season and it appropriately tapped into that power woman energy.
As you can tell, there are countless variations to what makes up a “revenge dress.” For those who choose to look at the more optimistic side of a failed relationship, you don’t need to think of the piece as one worn only out of pure vengeance. The revenge dress, surprisingly, makes for a great cocktail or wedding guest look, too. For those obsessed with Princess Di’s original number though, Khaite paid homage to the late royal with a nearly identical dress, which you can shop below. (The brand even named it Spence, which alludes to Diana’s maiden name.) For those interested in a more sultry take, opt for designs by the likes of Nensi Dojaka or LaQuan Smith. All the vengeful (kidding!) LBDs, ahead, will help you exude confidence and strength.
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