Jerry Hall’s revenge dress is the ultimate response to Rupert Murdoch’s engagement
Revenge is a dish best served in a fantastic frock. Diana, Princess of Wales, knew it, as did Elizabeth Hurley and Jennifer Aniston.
Now Jerry Hall joins their ranks, not-so-subtly moving the conversation away from the man in question (in this case ex-husband Rupert Murdoch who has announced he has a new fiancée less than a year since the ink dried on their divorce) and towards whichever devastating piece of clothing will garner the most attention.
For Hall, 66, this is a wildly flattering tailored black minidress that bears more than a passing resemblance to the black number Diana wore to the Serpentine Gallery summer party in 1994 – the evening Prince Charles first spoke publicly about his relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Both dresses emphasise the women’s hourglass shape and long legs, with an off-the-shoulder neckline, a flattering nipped-in waist and a mid-thigh hemline.
While Diana’s was by Greek designer Christina Stambolian, Hall’s is by Mugler x H&M – one of the most anticipated high-street/designer collaborations of the year. Hall wears this particular dress – which is a new take on a Mugler archive piece – in a promotional video for the collection. In it, she purrs, “Oh baby, I feel so good” in her distinctive Texan drawl while posing on a podium at what looks like a late-night US talk show.
This, surely, is a nod to Murdoch’s sprawling media empire – although the underlying implication is very much, “Rupert who?”. It is also, perhaps, a reference to Nicole Kidman, who famously said, “I can wear heels now,” on The Late Show with David Letterman, following her 2001 divorce from Tom Cruise.
Fellow Cruise ex-wife Katie Holmes followed suit after her divorce a decade later, clearly relishing life in ultra-high Roger Vivier heels. Hall, like them, was forced into the world of flats by marrying a shorter man (she is 6ft to Murdoch’s 5ft 8in) and at their 2016 wedding in London wore a pair of silver ballet shoes with a long pale green dress.
Since their divorce last summer, those ballet pumps appear to have been put in storage – at Paris Fashion Week in September, Hall swapped them along with the pastels she was photographed in during much of her marriage for an ankle-length, skin-tight, black Saint Laurent dress and heels.
More recently, she appeared at the Green Carpet awards in a turquoise dress with a thigh-high split and metallic stilettos. In the Mugler video, Hall is also resplendent in skyscraper heels, this time paired with sheer tights – a look that is, in my opinion, a particularly flattering one (note how good many of the royal women looked at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II).
It is also perhaps the key to pulling off a shorter revenge dress in midlife and beyond – in this case, Hall rather daringly wore her stocking seam at the front rather than the back of her legs. In the video, she looks like she is having a ball.
The supermodel’s collaboration with the brand predates her marriage not only to Murdoch but even to Mick Jagger. She has been a muse for Manfred Thierry Mugler – who died last year – since the early years of his fashion career and modelled for some of his first collections in the 1970s, later becoming the face of his Angel perfume campaign.
Today, the French house is synonymous with sharp tailoring, short hemlines, easy glamour and after-dark fun – and since Casey Cadwallader took the role of creative director, the label’s sinuous catsuits have been beloved by some of the more daring women on the red carpet.
The H&M collection, released in May, doesn’t disappoint, nodding to the brand’s history and releasing an array of little black dresses, sharp separates, jersey minidresses and yes, a lycra catsuit or two (ideal for anyone hoping to give an errant ex a twinge of regret this summer). And at 66, Hall steals the show from many of the younger models.
By choosing her as the most famous face of their collaboration, Mugler x H&M are making it clear that while their clothes exude sex appeal, they are not the sole preserve of Gen Z. After all, a killer dress that says “I’m happier than ever without him” should never come with an age limit.