Welcome to the Season of Revenge Glamour

Leena Kim
·5 min read
Photo credit: ABC Photo Archives - Getty Images
Photo credit: ABC Photo Archives - Getty Images

They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned—especially one who knows how to channel her rage through clothes. Key examples in modern history come to mind. That slinky, off-the-shoulder black dress Princess Diana wore to a Serpentine Gallery function on the same night of the broadcast of the infamous television interview in which Prince Charles publicly admitted to his affair with Camilla. So symbolic was this Christina Stambolian-designed number that it spawned its own Wikipedia page: look up "Revenge Dress." Also, Joan Collins's entire wardrobe on Dynasty, where she manifested Alexis Carrington's most vindictive tendencies through shoulder pads and fur.

Dazzling sartorial reinventions aren't just for humiliating ex-lovers and adulterous husbands. Soon enough, legions of women and men will emerge from more than a year in sweatpants-clad quarantine swathed in frills, heels, diamonds, anything to deliver a big metaphorical middle finger to Covid-19. We're calling it the season of revenge glamour.

re·venge glam·our \ ri-ˈvenj \\ ˈgla-mər \ noun: sartorial armor for post-pandemic reentry into society.

Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive - Getty Images

If Princess Diana was the queen of revenge dressing, the invincible and eternally inspiring Selma Blair takes the idea up a notch in our May issue, epitomizing revenge glamour in swirls of hot pink Prabal Gurung, strokes of black eyeliner, and electric blue jewels by David Webb and Irene Neuwirth. She will hardly be the only one living it up when this is all over, when there will be many a vaxication to plan and party to attend—a brief survey of T&C editors and friends indicates as much. How will revenge glamour be best served? A few thoughts—and shopping ideas—below.

Photo credit: Alexi Lubomirski
Photo credit: Alexi Lubomirski

NICKY ROTHSCHILD, designer: "I think there is a lot of pent-up energy. People are yearning to get dressed up and let off some steam. As much as I’ve enjoyed the slow down and sweat suits, I’m ready to throw on a pretty dress! I’m looking forward to floral Alessandra Rich dresses, ladylike lace pieces from Oscar de la Renta and one of those fabulous Valentino Roman stud bags in the lemon sorbet color!"

TINA CRAIG, founder of U Beauty & BagSnob: "This was me in L.A. over spring break, first trip in exactly 365 days. I glammed it up everywhere! Quick lunch? Full hair and make up, new outfit and heels. Casual Night out? Sequins and everything sparkly! On my shopping list: Valentino runway dresses, Dior Bar jackets in knit (navy and white), Jimmy Choo's fully embellished crystal Bon Bon bag, Hermès mini Kelly in pink crocodile, and a Chanel tiara trimmed with crystals to top it all off."

LYNN YAEGER, writer: "I actually dressed up all through the pandemic. During the darkest days, you could find me wandering around Washington Square Park in a black satin Simone Rocha opera coat—where else did I have to go? The stores and restaurants may have been shut, but was that a reason not to put on a sparkly tutu? Maybe it was my revenge against the virus itself, my insistence that no matter how bleak things were, I would rage against the dying of the light dressed for a party—even if the party was scheduled sometime far in the future."

Photo credit:  OTTO STUPAKOFF
Photo credit: OTTO STUPAKOFF

MELANIE GRANT, author: "When I re-enter the world I’ll be doing it in a vintage Zac Posen lapis blue couture cape, the new Jenlove buttery black leather Christian Louboutin pumps, a couple of made-to-order Horus silver slice rings by Jovana Djuric NYC on one hand and a Dangerous Vagina ring by jewelry artist Evelyn Markasky in torch-fired enamel on copper, on the other. I’m taking no prisoners! Twinkling at the ears will be a pair of Nicholas Varney’s new Soothsayer earrings in homage to Surrealism, which seems fitting for a post-Covid soiree. I’ll be lunching at The Cliveden, a wonderful English stately home in Berkshire once owned by the Astors and the Duke of Westminster, with one of my besties Christiana and I suspect we’ll go for a walk after lunch and get lost in the maze, cape fluttering. One thing’s for sure, I’m determined to overindulge in food, fashion and fine jewelry."

TYLER McCALL, Fashionista.com Editor in Chief: "I have been eyeing all of my most "extra" pieces with pangs of longing since last March; anything sequined, voluminous, over-the-top that I couldn't quite justify even for Zooms. My boyfriend has even caught me wearing a pair of heeled Manolo Blahnik mules around the house just because I missed them. So needless to say, I will be piling all of it on at once the second I have any occasion to do so—and "occasion" here can simply mean "getting a haircut." (I recently wore snakeskin pants to the dermatologist, just to prove I'm serious.) I'm already stocking up for a vaccinated summer too, buying everything from Selkie's rainbow-hued puff dress to the brightest cream blush I could find. It's a "more-is-more" philosophy for me moving forward!"

OLIVIA HOSKEN, T&C Style & Interiors Writer: "The pandemic has forced me to acknowledge that it takes me 15 to 20 minutes to get dressed, not five. I cannot wait to put this knowledge to use back “in real life,” in which I imagine I’ll be next-level polished."

ERIK MAZA, T&C Style Features Director: "The new HBO documentary about Tina Turner, Tina, by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, opens with the singer staring down the camera during the Private Dancer album cover photo sessions in the early ‘80s. Her expression says: Try me. Turner referred to this soon-to-be blockbuster as her debut—she disdained the term comeback—because she felt it was her most empowered artistic statement since she ditched her abusive ex-husband. And her defiance shows: with her red lips, triumphant snarl, big hair and the best pair of legs in rock 'n' roll, Tina looks spectacular, like she could take anyone on. If that’s not the very image of Revenge Glamour, I don’t know what is."

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