Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding dress was considered one of the most closely guarded secrets in fashion history. Now, David Emanuel, the co-designer behind the iconic dress, has revealed some of the secrets behind the making of the late monarch’s outfit.
David, who made the dress with his former wife Elizabeth, told TheExpress.co.uk
that he had to rip up a sketch of the gown after showing it to the bride-to-be in order to preserve it’s mystic: ‘I showed her a sketch and ripped the sketch up because we didn’t want it floating around,’ explained the 63-year-old fashion designer.
The need to keep the design completely under wraps was such a priority that the duo even made an ‘emergency’ dress for the royal bride-to-be, should the original design leak before the big day. ‘At the time we wanted to make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise,’ Elizabeth told People
in 2011. ‘We didn’t try it on Diana. We never even discussed it,’ she continued. ‘We wanted to make sure that we had something there; it was for our own peace of mind, really.’
The back-up gown – which was made in the same ivory silk taffeta with ruffles around the neck as the original, came without the signature antique lace and was never completely finished (or needed, thankfully). The real version was intricately hand-embroidered with over 10,000 tiny mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls and featured a lavish 25-foot train.
For the fittings themselves, David revealed that Diana came alone for the first three or four visits, then asked if she could take her mother along. In a previous interview with the TheExpress.co.uk
, the designer described the Princess as ‘delinquent, delicious, wonderful, real and adorable. She was simply young and fresh. I wanted the dress to reflect that but she was going in as Lady Diana Spencer and coming out as the Princess of Wales.’
‘If you did a subtle little number it’s not going to work to an audience of seven hundred billion people! I was leaving my studio at six o’clock that evening and she rang me and said it was “fabulous”. Job done! As long as she was happy, I was happy. It was a pleasure to do.’
The dress is said to be worth £6,000 – three times the UK national average, but a far cry from more recent wedding dresses such as Kim Kardashian’s reported $2million Givenchy dress for her 2014 wedding to Kanye West. It was inherited by her sons Prince William and Harry when they turned 30 (via The Huffington Post
) and has toured for many years with the exhibition ‘Diana: A Celebration’, though generally it stays for only part of the exhibit.
With the news that Pippa Middleton’s nuptials aren’t too far off, David has some expert recommendations for the Duchess’ sister, revealing that he’d like to see her in something ‘soft and romantic’ with ‘metres and metres of soft silk chiffon’.