- Publish Date
- Friday, 19 August 2016, 2:37PM
Before Kate Middleton’s lace Alexander McQueen number, there was Princess Diana’s iconic wedding gown.
Designed by husband and wife duo David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the ivory silk taffeta and antique lace creation boasted a 25-foot train, and set the tone for bridal fashion over the next twenty years.
The design of Diana’s dress was a fiercely guarded secret, but 35 years after her wedding to Prince Charles, David has revealed what it took to bring the dress to life in a new interview with Express.co.uk.
David and his now ex-wife Elizabeth had worked with Diana before she was linked to Prince Charles, but the Emanuels were still seen by the press as an outside choice when it came to designing her wedding dress. ‘There were double-page spreads in newspapers and magazines speculating as to who would be the designer of her wedding gown. My ex-wife and I were ranked outsiders,’ he said.
Diana arrived alone for her first few fittings, before asking whether her mother could attend in the final stages, to which David’s answer was naturally, ‘yes, of course.’
Such was the secrecy surrounding the dress that David’s sketches had to be destroyed. ‘I showed her a sketch and ripped the sketch up because we didn’t want it floating around,’ Emanuel revealed to the Express.
‘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. St Paul’s Cathedral was very grand. If you did a subtle little number it’s not going to work to an audience of seven hundred billion people!’ he added.
‘I was just 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, which was famously hand-embroidered with around 10,000 pearls, was inherited by Diana’s sons Prince William and Prince Harry on Harry’s 30th birthday in September 2014.
As Pippa Middleton prepares to make her way down the aisle, Emanuel claims that she should opt for a dress that is the ‘complete opposite’ of that worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. ‘I personally would put Pippa in something very soft, perhaps chiffon, with a train of course because it’s dramatic. Possibly a little lace bodice, soft and fluid […] Just so she makes her own statement, soft and pretty,’ he advises.