The story of Princess Diana’s revenge dress is legendary. On the night her estranged husband was confessing his affair in a TV interview, Diana stepped out at the Serpentine Gallery wearing an off-the-shoulder little black dress. The British papers ran the two stories side-by-side: Diana looking sexy and vivacious beside the heir to the throne dithering over his adultery. Diana always sent powerful messages through fashion, and this was one of her most iconic fashion moments.
Over the past week, the British papers have tried to make “Kate’s revenge dress” into a thing. It hasn’t worked, because A) Kate is not an iconic fashionista and B) the thing to which she’s supposedly seeking “revenge” is her own racism, or allegations of her racist behavior towards Meghan. When people are wondering if you had concerns about how dark your mixed-race nephew would be, that’s probably not the moment to show up looking like a Disney villainess who poisons apples in her spare time. That’s not “revenge dressing.” That’s actually theme-dressing. But still, those British papers are still trying to convince people that Kate has been revenge-dressing in the past week, especially at Tuesday night’s Diplomatic Reception, where Kate repeated a boring Jenny Packham gown (and she was actually copykeening Crown Princess Mary).
What a difference a year, and a few undeserved missiles, make. In 2022, at the Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace, the Princess of Wales was regal, yes. Beautiful, yes. But a little too appropriate. A scarlet, embroidered and embellished Jenny Packham gown.
This year? It was the ultimate revenge dress. It signalled, as Diana’s Little Black Dress did at the Serpentine on the night Prince Charles confessed to adultery on national televsion, that Catherine will not be cowed. She will not go quietly into the night. (And, to be honest, why on earth should she?) The dress isn’t overtly sexy: the occasion is too formal for too much skin and, for most women, an elaborate sash and brooch would instantly kill anything too sensual. But it is form fitting and, like Diana’s LBD, very modern.
On Tuesday night, we glimpsed a woman who not only wears diamonds (the tiara this time was the Lover’s Knot, often worn by Princess Diana; it was a wedding gift from the late Queen) but who is one. She literally shines under pressure. She knew all eyes would be on her, as the reception on Tuesday night was the first time senior royals will have been seen together since the racism row, when both the Princess of Wales and King Charles were named in the Dutch version of Omid Scobie’s new tome.
So, what did Catherine do? She wore the soft pink Jenny Packham to great effect, at the wedding of the crown prince of Jordan earlier this year. She did the high hair with tiara thing again. Earrings are the Greville Diamond Chandeliers, made by Cartier. The ensemble certainly beat a pair of black leggings and baseball cap, pulled on in a car park in Montecito.
No cap sleeves, no full-on frou frou Disney skirt. No lace. No black velvet. No white lace, as though she isn’t a mother of children. Those past gowns by Alexander McQueen et al revealed a woman who hadn’t yet found herself. Who was still trying things on, literally and figuratively. No, last night she showed real confidence. Full-length sleeves. Matching clutch and shoes. All of which she has worn before.
William had earlier in the day been freezing, out selling The Big Issue. It would have grated had Catherine not worn a recycled gown. It would have been crass. Instead, it was perfect.
[From The Daily Mail]
Do these people honestly believe the horses-t they’re shoveling? That Kate turning up in a repeated ensemble (she didn’t even change the earrings) was some kind of statement of revenge? Revenge against her own alleged racism? No, the point – which they keep making so inarticulately – is that they want to imagine the Duchess of Sussex seething with jealousy when she, the victim of Kate’s racism and Karening, sees Kate wearing borrowed jewels and gopher wigs. “The ensemble certainly beat a pair of black leggings and baseball cap, pulled on in a car park in Montecito.” LMAO – Meghan was running errands or coming back from the gym, and that’s being compared to Copykeen Barbie’s white-tie reception look? Anyway, if this was supposed to be revenge dressing, Kate failed once again. (Next up: they’ll say that Meghan must be jealous of Kate’s revenge buttons.)
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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