The Crown star Elizabeth Debicki has taken a deep-dive into the moment she wore a replica of Princess Diana’s infamous 1994 ‘revenge dress’ for season 5.
The latest season of the controversial drama recreates many of the Princess of Wales’ iconic outfits, but when Debicki was snapped on set wearing the little black dress, it sparked renewed interest in the look which, according to history, was so much more than a fashion statement.
On the night of November 20 1994, Diana stepped out at a Vanity Fair party at the Serpentine Gallery in London in the daring number, which would have broken royal protocol for showing her cleavage, shoulders and legs.
That very same evening her estranged husband was also at the centre of a tell-all documentary that was meant to bring him back into public favour, but did the opposite when he admitted to having an extra-marital affair that had been much speculated about.
‘She was claiming the space,’ Debicki has now said of the moment.
‘The way she walked out of that car, the luminosity, the strength of her as that car door opened, she was so fast and so forward,’ the Australian actress told British Vogue’s Life in Looks video series.
‘It’s an extraordinary thing to watch. To decide what you’re saying about yourself through fashion… it was a currency – an incredibly powerful currency.’
Almost 30 years later, that dress is still so recognisable that Debicki said it was the first thing people messaged her about when discovering she had been cast as the People’s Princess, whom she takes the role over from Emma Corrin in season 5.
‘When people in my life found out that I was going to play this part, this was the dress that everyone texted me about,’ she said.
After being bombarded with questions from people about whether the dress would feature in the series, she started to understand its significance.
‘That’s when I started to realise how symbolic this dress is to people,’ she added.
Diana had initially planned to wear another dress, but made a last minute switch to the £900 Christina Stambolian number.
Although it had been made from her three years earlier, she had apparently been too nervous to wear it because it was ‘too daring’.
As Anna Harvey, her former stylist said, Diana wanted to look ‘like a million dollars’ that night.
The fact we are still talking about it says it nailed the brief.
Read the full feature in the December issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday 15th November.
The Crown begins streaming on Netflix on November 9.