Holly Willoughby's 'revenge dress' - she channels Diana in plunging black frock

·3 min read
Holly Willoughby attending the ITV Palooza held at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London. Picture date: Tuesday November 23, 2021.
Holly looks Hollywood-glamourous at the Palooza ITV showcase. (PA)

Princess Diana's fashion choices made headlines 30 years ago - and they still resonate now. 

This week, This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby, who shares the Princess's magical fashion touch, channelled one of Diana's most famous looks. Seemingly taking inspiration from Diana's legendary black 'revenge dress', Holly arrived at the ITV Palooza commercial showcase wearing a very familiar-looking frock.

Both dresses had a draped Bardot neckline with a low 'sweetheart' style cut to reveal the cleavage and a cinched waist, though while Diana also revealed her legs, Holly's dress was a more demure, ankle-grazing length, by Australian designer Rachel Gilbertau. 

Holly Willoughby arriving at the ITV Palooza!, Royal Festival Hall, London. Credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Holly's dress fell to her ankles. (Doug Peters/EMPICS)

The 'Matteo' dress retails for $799 in Australia - around £430, a pretty reasonable sum for pure evening glam.

Diana set off her look in 1994 with a huge pearl and sapphire choker, while Holly went necklace-free, but both women wore similar drop earrings, and black stilettos - Holly's Gina shoes were enhanced with diamanté trim.

Read more: ‘The Crown’ Reportedly Filmed Princess Diana Revenge Dress Scene in Front of Prince William’s Window

She also wore subtle jewellery from her own website, Wylde Moon, while the Princess accessorised with a diamond bracelet from Cartier. Both carried small black clutch bags. 

Watch: Twitter is losing it over The Crown's recreation of Diana's revenge dress

We're pretty sure Holly isn't exacting revenge on anyone right now, but the look is timeless. 

In Diana's case, however, it was a very deliberate message to her ex husband, Prince Charles. If a dress could speak, it would have said "look how much happier I am without you."

The late Princess, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, wore the show-stopping Christina Stambolian frock the same night a much-anticipated interview with Prince Charles aired on TV.

Few expected him to speak about his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, now his wife and the Duchess of Cornwall. 

Read more: It Looks Like The Crown Just Had A 'Revenge Dress' Moment Of Its Own On Spencer's Release Date

But three years after his and Diana's dramatic separation, when interviewer Jonathan Dimbleby asked the Prince if he had been "faithful and honourable” to Diana during their marriage, Charles replied, "Yes...Until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”

Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) arriving at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in a gown by Christina Stambolian, June 1994. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) arriving at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in a gown by Christina Stambolian, June 1994. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)

It was a very public confession of royal infidelity, and the press - and public - went wild.

Knowing the documentary was airing, Diana went all-out to distract, as she arrived at an event at The Serpentine Gallery in June 1994. The revealing dress entirely broke with royal protocol, and marked a new phase in the Princess's life, of freedom and the chance to follow her own compass.

Three years later, she was filmed walking through a minefield in Angola, to support calls for an international ban, and that summer, shortly before her death, was pictured in racy swimwear on a luxury yacht with her 'playboy' lover, Dodi Fayed. 

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 29:  Princess Diana Wearing A Short Black Dress Designed By Christina Stambolian For A Gala At The Serpentine Gallery In London. She Is Being Greeted By Lord Palumbo.  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Diana knew exactly what effect the dress would have. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The dress, of course - and perhaps an interest in alternative healing and astrology - is where the Holly comparison ends. The presenter , 40, has been happily married to cameraman Dan Baldwin since 2007 and they have three children.

Nevertheless, the Bardot-neckline black dress continues a red (or blue) carpet tradition of elegant glamour - and the Princess's incredible fashion legacy lives on. 

Watch: Princess Diana never wanted to 'give up' on her marriage to Prince Charles

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