Who Designed Princess Diana’s Iconic ‘Travolta Dress’?

Princess Diana passed away many years ago, but her story, and the way that she inspired millions of people, will continue to live on for decades to come. She was not only one of the kindest and most beautiful royal women, but she was one of the most photographed as well — and Princess Diana never looked less than absolutely fabulous.

One of the truly iconic moments in her life happened in the mid-eighties when she took to the dance floor with none other than John Travolta. Recently, the expert in charge of curating and keeping the dress that Princess Diana wore that historic evening spoke out, revealing why the dress stands the test of time. 

Princess Diana was ‘the People’s Princess’

Princess Diana at the British embassy in Washington, D.C.
Princess Diana | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

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Born in 1961, Princess Diana married Prince Charles in 1981. Their wedding was widely publicized and thousands tuned in to watch the ceremony, and to see the young, beautiful bride walk down the aisle.

Right away, Princess Diana became popular with people around the world, her shy, unassuming demeanor earning her fans and admirers. When she welcomed her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, her popularity only increased. Over the years, the royal earned the nickname, “The People’s Princess.” 

Sadly, Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles dissolved in the nineties, with rumors of his extramarital affairs swirling in the press. The public tended to side with Princess Diana, and even after she divorced her husband, she remained a beloved public figure.

She tragically died in a car accident in 1997, when she was only 36 years old, but remains one of the most iconic royal figures of all time. 

Princess Diana’s dance with John Travolta

Princess Diana and John Travolta
Princess Diana and John Travolta | Getty Images

The eighties were a heyday for Princess Diana, as she wined and dined with some of the world’s biggest celebrities and political figures. In 1985, Princess Diana visited the White House at the invitation of President Ronald Reagan.

There, she encountered some big-name movie stars, including John Travolta, who rose to fame after starring turns in movies like Grease and Saturday Night Fever. Travolta was famous for his dance moves, and when the dance floor opened up that night, all eyes were on him.

As Travolta later revealed, First Lady Nancy Reagan hinted to Travolta that Princess Diana wished to dance with him. He tapped the royal on the shoulder, and invited her to hit the dance floor with him.

She nodded her head in agreement, and the two took to the floor, dancing to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Although reports later indicated that the moment was actually staged in advance by the Reagans, it is no less incredible — and the photos taken of Princess Diana in her stunning black dress are simply iconic. 

The curator of Princess Diana’s iconic dress recently spoke out

Recently, palace insider Eleri Lynn spoke out in a revealing interview, talking about Princess Diana’s love for the black dress that she wore to dance with Travolta. The dress, which was designed by Victor Edelstein, was worn by Princess Diana to a number of high profile events. “By my count makes it’s the dress she wore most. It was clearly a favorite of hers,” Lynn stated. “It stands the test of time, and doesn’t date like some of her other early ’80s looks. You could wear it today and still be the best-dressed person.” Lynn described the dress as “a silk velvet and it is ruched all the way down the bodice to the knee where the skirt flares out suddenly, in a way that made the pictures so memorable when she was dancing.”

Those who wish to see the dress in person will be able to view it on display in Kensington Palace, for a special exhibit.