The Crown’s Costume Designers Reveal The Real Story Behind Creating Princess Diana’s Revenge Dress

'It's kind of representing the death of a marriage, the move away from the palace, and then the rebirth of this independent woman.'

The Crown Princess Diana revenge dress

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

Princess Diana's 'revenge' dress, as it came to be known, was quite simply the ultimate LBD. The year was 1994. She was separated from Prince Charles, as he was then, although the couple would only divorce in 1996, and the occasion was a gala at the Serpentine Gallery. Princess Diana arrived wearing an off-the-shoulder mini dress with a sweetheart neckline and thigh-flashing skirt by Christina Stambolian. It was a history-making look - one that would be the strongest visual symbol of her post-separation style - and was worn on the very night that her future ex-husband admitted to adultery on TV. And according to the costume designers of The Crown, Amy Roberts and Sidonie Roberts, it was an outfit that created a certain amount of 'pressure' for the team while they were working on season fiveof the show.


Like Princess Diana's wedding dress, it was about honouring the original designer, while acknowledging that with these historic outfits that millions of people remember so clearly your work will be under the microscope. 'I always feel bad about saying this but it's where we have the least creative license,' says Sidonie. According to Amy, it was the department's pattern-cutter who had the difficult job of working out, for example, where you even have the opening on that kind of dress, one which has an intricate crusted bodice and is draped with delicate chiffon.

Princess Diana revenge dress

The fit was obviously crucial, which involved, 'working it and sculpting it to Elizabeth [Debicki's] body, not Diana's, because obviously physically they're different,' says Sidonie. It's times like that when they became aware of the potential for criticism. 'You're doing a direct comparison. You're suddenly going, who wore it better? Elizabeth, Diana. And that's not what we want to do at all.' There's also the technical aspect to take into consideration. 'Elizabeth's torso is different to Diana's. So it's how do we make that longer.'

Another interesting point was the colour. Apart from showing the royals in mourning, they hadn't really used black as a colour in the costumes. 'It's kind of representing the death of a marriage, the move away from the palace, and then the rebirth of this independent woman, finding her own voice and becoming even like more of that legendary fashion icon on her own,' says Sidonie.


SEE: The Best Outfits Of Princess Diana

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CREDIT: Getty Images


The young Diana Spencer wears a shirt and neck scarf in 1980 - take note if you want to channel this season's preppy vibes.

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Into the sweater vest trend? Diana shows you how to do it.

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As a soon-to-be-member of the Royal Family, Diana Spencer mastered her hat game fast.

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Sherbert dungarees and a sweet floral shirt were on the cards in 1981.

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Doing Big Collar Energy long before everyone else got the memo.

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Heritage checks on Diana; a kilt on Charles - you get one guess where they went on honeymoon in 1981.

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A shrobing masterclass, departing for her honeymoon in 1981.

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Leaning into her princess role at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1981.

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The ultimate wedding dress in 1981.

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This black sheep sweater has been reissued by Rowing Blazers.

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Polka dots, frills and a billowing silhouette in 1982. We would 100% wear this now.

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With Prince Charles and Prince William in 1983, in the perfect autumn outfit (seriously, where can we get those boots?!)

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One shoulder dresses were another Diana favourite.

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In 1983.

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A puffy sleeved statement blouse for the polo in 1983.

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In 1983.

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Demure at the front, daring at the back, in her liquid silver dress Diana ensured all eyes were on her at the A View to Kill premiere in 1985.

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Why blend in when can you can stand out? Head-to-toe red in 1985.

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Diana had a thing for bow ties, wearing one here in 1985 with a Jasper Conran skirt suit.

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Dancing with John Travolta at the White House in 1985.

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Is it just us, or does this bear a striking resemblance to Kate Middleton's favourite Alessandra Rich dress?

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A bohemian take on the tiara in Australia in 1985.

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Pretty sure we've seen this exact shirt all over Instagram.

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Colour and print weren't just for formal appearances, here in pink and white at Highgrove in 1986.

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More printed pants in 1987.

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Stealing the spotlight from the Hollywood glitterati on the Cannes red carper in 1987.

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In 1987.

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Another bow tie, this time in Lisbon in 1987.

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The princess of... punk? Diana wore red leather trousers for a night out to see The Phantom of the Opera in 1987.

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Perfect autumn outfit inspiration in Portugal in 1987.

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Embracing the military theme wearing Catherine Walker at Sandringham in 1987.

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Diana in a tuxedo in 1988. Perfection.

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Red + purple = Diana's favourite power couple.

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It was another star turn for Diana in Catherine Walker in Australia in 1988.

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What did we tell you about one-shoulder dresses?

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On the Isle of Wight in 1988.

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Such a look. Just take a moment to enjoy it fully. Western boots, jeans, a charity sweater, a mannish blazer and a cap: it shouldn't work but it does.

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Head-to-toe tartan for a visit to the Highland Games in 1989.

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What we would do to get our hands on this Zandra Rhodes dress Diana wore in 1989 (actually... What wouldn't we do?)

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In 1989.

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It's her favourite colour combination again in 1989...

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... Although she also had a soft spot for red and pink.

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The 'Elvis dress' - so called for the high neck and pearl embellishment - got its debut at The British Fashion Awards in 1989.

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At Sandhurst in December of 1990, Diana debuted a statement coat that wouldn't look out of place today.

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Another event, another white dress. This strapless beaded style was created by Catherine Walker, which Diana wore with her famous sapphire and pearl choker necklace.

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After Prince Charles required surgery on his arm, Diana took their sons to visit him and wore a nautical-inspired dress for the occasion with printed shoes.

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Designed by Christina Stambolian, this off-the-shoulder black dress became known as the 'Revenge Dress', so called because on the night Diana wore it, a documentary aired on television in which Prince Charles confessed to his affair with Camilla, now the Duchess of Cornwall.

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