Princess Diana’s iconic Travolta dress will go on show for the first time

There are few Princess Diana outfits as iconic as the dress that she wore to dance with John Travolta at the White House during a state banquet given by US President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

The velvet dress was designed by Victor Edelstein, and Princess Diana had originally seen it in burgundy, but asked him to create it in a midnight blue for her, which of course he did.

On the night, it looked perfect worn with her famous sapphire and pearl choker, and twirled beautifully when she danced with Travolta, earning it the nickname 'the Travolta dress'.

It has been auctioned off several times across the years, and was finally sold to the Historic Royal Palaces for £220,000 at the end of last year.

A photo posted by on

At the time they announced the dress would soon go on display as part of its Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, and now more info has been released. The dress will go on display at Kensington Palace to coincide with its re-opening, and you can buy tickets here.

Curator Eleri Lynn said on Instagram, 'One of the most iconic fashion statements of the 20th century, the Princess of Wales commissioned this extraordinary midnight blue velvet gown from couturier (and regular collaborator) Victor Edelstein, and debuted it at a gala dinner at the White House in 1985. There, Diana was photographed “gliding around the room” dancing with actor John Travolta, creating one of the most famous and enduring images of her career .

She added it had been quarantined like the rest of us, but was now ready to shine: 'Since it joined our Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection in 2019, the dress has spent the last few months in quarantine (pretty much like the rest of us!) to ensure it doesn’t pass on any bugs or pests on to the rest of our priceless collection. Now, it’s finally ready for public display, right on time for us to reopen the doors of the palace tomorrow.'

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.