In the age of social media, styling has perhaps never been more communicative. From the public apology outfits (read: Jordyn Woods’ now-iconic black turtleneck dress), to Olivia Jade’s ironically unfortunate Opening Ceremony varsity jacket, one’s clothing can just as easily incense legions of commentators as it can inspire empathy.
You’ve heard of the “Revenge Dress.” The torch was lit with Princess Diana’s body-contouring, off-the-shoulder black dress from Christina Stambolian, worn after her divorce from Prince Charles was finalized, and carried with Gigi Hadid to the AMA awards when she wore this to run into recent ex Joe Jonas. But the “Burn Dress” is something else. It’s what you wear when you’re ready to publicly call-out someone who has wronged you, either in the press or in front of no less than five thousand people. To clarify: This is not shade, but throwing the receiver into the white hot sunlight—and you need to look the part to do just that.
Case in point: Lana Del Rey. The date was January 8, 2018 and the singer was in the midst of touring her enormously successful fourth full-length project, Lust For Life. The project itself was speculated to riddled with references to her most-recent ex-boyfriend, G-Eazy, who had gone on to date fellow songstress Halsey. “In My Feelings,” a track in which Lana Del Rey tells a former lover to “be [her] guest” in finding someone new because she’s irreplaceable, is rumored to address the breakup. “Groupie Love,” on the other hand, is thought to be speaking to the pair’s happier times, wherein Del Rey watched the rapper perform from the crowd.
But “White Mustang” was the real clincher by lamenting the ending of a summer romance that she was advised against to begin with. G-Eazy’s long-anticipated album, The Beautiful & The Damned, was released to much fanfare just a month earlier, and when she approached one of the song’s most-memorable lines, “Couldn’t stop the way I was feeling the day his record dropped,” she added with a shout, “And it wasn’t even that good!” The crowd barely hesitated in putting two-and-two together before they erupted into screams, collectively coming to the realization this was the kind of celebrity clap back that hadn’t existed since TMZ’s reign of the early ’00s.
And we might’ve seen it coming. Lana Del Rey had long-since thrown out her trademark nostalgia in favor of dressed-down Americana (blue jeans, white T-shirts, and baseball caps), even on stage. But not this night. Not only did she opt to usher in the hair clip trend, but she also wore an uncharacteristically formal crushed red velvet wrap mini dress.
Whether the call-out was pre-planned or the outfit intentional, we just don’t know, but it certainly turned up the temperature for the delivery of the piping hot burn. It will go down in history, alongside the black keyhole number Taylor Swift wore to reveal Joe Jonas broke up with her in a 30-second phone call on Ellen. It will join the sparkly off-the-shoulder gown Ashanti wore to the MTV VMAs to reveal she wrote Jennifer Lopez’s music.
Revenge might be a dress best served cold, but for Summer 2019, we’re delivering burns.