The Instagram Account Chronicling Princess Diana’s Post-Divorce Looks

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To mark the anniversary of her passing, we spotlight @ladydirevengelooks as this week’s Follow Friday

“You may recall seeing a picture of me sobbing in a red coat when he went off on his aeroplane,” the late Princess Diana said about a photograph taken in March 1981. It was believed, at the time, that the young Princess-in-waiting was devastated about her then-fiancé Prince Charles departing for a five-and-a-half week royal tour – but this assumption couldn’t have been further from the truth. “That had nothing to do with him going,” she explained. “The most awful thing had happened before he went. I was in his study talking to him about his trip. The telephone rang, it was Camilla. Just before he was going for five weeks. So I thought, ‘shall I be nice or shall I just sit here?’ So I thought I’d be nice, so I left them to it.” Years later, during her jaw-droppingly candid television interview with Martin Bashir in November 1995, she would famously state: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” referring, of course, to the Prince’s ongoing affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. A few months later, in July 1996, the divorce between H.R.H. Prince Charles and H.R.H. Princess Diana was finalised.

During the royal couple’s estrangement, Diana had shaped a new and confident identity for herself, even undergoing coaching to increase the power in her public speaking voice. A watershed style moment, cementing her transformation, took place at the 1994 Vanity Fair fundraising event at the Serpentine Gallery: Lady Di slinked out of a limousine in what would go on to be known as her ‘fuck-you dress’ (off-the-shoulder, short, tight, chiffon and black). Her nails were painted in red polish and her eyes were smoked with kohl. Naturally, the tabloids splashed this uncharacteristically racy ensemble all over their front pages, headling the news: “the Thrilla He Left to Woo Camilla.”

Now, you can follow a new Instagram account titled @ladydirevengelooks, chronicling more of Lady Diana’s post-heartbreak fashion with equally wit-fuelled captions (see: “The Sloppy Joe over sloppy seconds revenge look” and “The IDGAF, but make it chic revenge look” as two such examples). “‘Estranged husband style’ is legitimately a thing,” says the account’s founder, Eloise Moran. “When you break-up with a boyfriend or someone who has made you feel like a piece of shit – or made you feel like you're not good enough – all of a sudden you start dressing 20 times more fabulously. And then you realise that they have a new girlfriend and that inspires you even more – it’s time for all-out revenge.”

From the Versace dresses that came to define her red carpet aesthetic, to her Gucci Bamboo handbags, oversized cowl-neck jumpers paired with cycling shorts, and leopard-print lycra worn in the paparazzi shots of Diana lounging on an assortment of yachts, @ladydirevengelooks has it all. “I feel that Versace in the 1990s was such a sexual brand,” says Moran. “I feel like she had this sexual reawakening and Gianni Versace helped her in realising it.” 

Today marks the anniversary of Lady Diana’s death, in a car crash beside her lover Dodi Fayed as the pair sped away from the vying press in Paris, 1997. She is still remembered fondly as ‘The People’s Princess’, not least for her role in de-stigmatising HIV/AIDS during the epidemic’s height, and her wide-reaching humanitarian work. Moran has a few comments of her own to make, as to why Diana remains such an inspiration to many: “I love her. And you know why? Because to me, she is just like a normal woman. She was very open about her mental health towards the end, and I feel like the Royal Family tried to keep a lid on it. She was like, ‘yeah I had bulimia’, ‘yeah me and Charles never had sex’. I watched the Netflix documentary Diana: In Her Own Words and it made me really sad. You could see that she just wanted to say her piece. I guess part of her way of doing that was through her clothing and the way she dressed.”