WEARING a skin-tight, off-the-shoulder body con dress that screamed “I’m moving on” after her split from Charles, Princess Diana pretty much invented revenge dressing almost 30 years ago.
Since then every starlet worth her salt has stepped out in a statement outfit following a messy break-up.
Remember Mariah Carey’s skirt and crop top ensemble at the 1997 MTV VMAs following her split from music executive hubby Tommy Mottola? Or Jennifer Aniston looking effortlessly chic on the red carpet in vintage Chanel shortly after Brad Pitt left her in 2005?
Most celebrities know the power of sending a subtle message through their outfits. But Diana – who died in 1997 – was better at it than most and always knew exactly how to express herself using her wardrobe.
In fact, she was somewhat of an expert, as these pictures from Eloise Moran’s new book reveal. . .
- The Lady Di Look Book by Eloise Moran (Mitchell Beazley, £ 25) is out now.
ONE of Diana’s most iconic looks was the sexy Christina Stambolian dress that she wore to dinner at Kensington Gardens in the summer of 1994.
Cut above the knee, the frock became known as her Revenge Dress because she wore it on the same night that Prince Charles admitted to adultery in a TV interview.
In her book, Moran, who has a popular Instagram account called Lady Di Revenge Looks, notes: “The message was clear: She was in control of her own decisions and was ready to surprise more than a few people that evening.
“Her marriage was dead, she was moving on.”
Diana did not wait until after her divorce to send messages through her clothes – she was doing it in the Eighties.
Perhaps giving an early indication that she felt like an outsider, the princess wore a black sheep jumper by British label Warm & Wonderful to a polo match in 1981.
Moran calls her choice “a tongue-in-cheek and not-so-subtle choice for the 19-year-old who had been thrust full force into the strict codes of royal life”.
She adds that Diana representing a black sheep among a white herd was “comical in its design and subliminal in its messaging”.
I TAKE THE TUBE, TO
THE public admired Diana for her ability to remain down to earth despite becoming one of the most famous women in the world.
And it seems she clung to moments of normality to remain true to herself. At the London Marathon in 1988, Diana wore a sweatshirt bearing the London Underground logo.
According to Diana’s bodyguard Ken Wharfe, the princess got a kick out of traveling on the Tube, at times with her boys, and was thrilled whenever she went unnoticed.
Wharfe said she wore a headscarf as a disguise and saw these moments as “major victories”.
IN BOYS ‘CLUB
THE Palace was operated by “men in gray” who tried to control Diana, says Moran.
This androgynous Jasper Conran co-ord with a bow tie in 1985, made a point.
Diana was an outcast, sandwiched between her husband and palace busybodies.
AFTER Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview, designer Jacques Azagury took a call from the princess, who told him she needed a “really good, sexy dress” in black.
Royals are not meant to wear black to events.
He added: “It was her way of saying, ‘I can do what I want’.”
GETTING HANDS DIRTY
ON a trip to Bosnia in 1997, Diana wore this simple outfit – a pink Ralph Lauren shirt tucked into black jeans.
Her message, Moran says, was she was there to get her hands dirty.
Diana’s uniform for her work trips were perfect for “on-the-ground” humanitarian missions.
HONORING HER MAN
IN 1996 Diana wore a traditional Asian outfit – a pearl and gold salwar kameez by Pakistan’s top designer Rizwan Beyg – to a party at London’s Dorchester hotel.
The pearls symbolized a new beginning, while the dress was to reflect her loyalty to her then-boyfriend, surgeon Hasnat Khan.