Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer says the memories of the ‘fun and happy’ Diana ‘come back to him’ now that her iconic gown has been put on display.
David Emanuel, 68, co-designed the breathtaking gown Princess Diana wore on her wedding day at St Paul’s Cathedral, which has now moved to Kensington Palace for a new royal fashion exhibition.
He described the late royal as a “global icon of style, beauty and compassion,” recalling how she went from a teenager to an “extraordinary woman” during the time he worked with her.
Appearing on Lorraine from outside Kensington Palace, the London-based designer said Diana and Charles’ wedding day was a “joyful occasion” at a time of “social unrest” in 1981.
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Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer said memories of the ‘fun and happy’ Diana ‘have come back to him’ now that her iconic gown is on display
Princess Diana’s stunning wedding dress is on display at Kensington Palace ahead of the opening of a new royal fashion exhibition today
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years, all these memories are coming back. It was fun, she was full of life, happy,” said David. ‘I know there was unrest in London, but people longed for a fantastic time.
“It was a holiday, everyone had street parties, everyone came out with their flags and it was a joyous occasion.”
He later added: “When I first met her, she was a teenager and turned into an extraordinary woman. She was a worldwide icon of style, beauty and compassion and that is how the public loved her. She was a philanthropist, she cared about her, and that’s why people loved her.’
The exhibition, which opens today, features never-before-seen items from the archives of some of the most celebrated royal couturiers, alongside examples of the stylish ensembles created for Princess Diana, the Queen and the Queen Mother.
David Emanuel, 68, co-designed the breathtaking gown Princess Diana wore on her wedding day and appeared on Lorraine from outside Kensington Palace today
Photos released yesterday show Diana’s Emmanuel dress – complete with its spectacular sequin-encrusted train, which dramatically filled the aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral at 7 meters high
The displays will feature original sketches, fabric samples and handwritten notes used by designers including Emanuel, David Sassoon and Norman Hartnell in creating unique pieces for their royal clients.
Of the last time he saw the Princess of Wales’ dress, he said: ‘I last saw it at Diana’s house. Remember when her brother did an exhibition before traveling the world, it was extraordinary.
“That dress has raised millions and millions of dollars for charities and charities. I was invited by Charles Spencer before it was officially opened to the public and then he traveled the world with it.”
David, who designed and made the dress with his ex-wife Elizabeth, recalled a lighthearted moment at the 1981 wedding when the Queen Mother ran into him checking the buttons on Diana’s petticoat under her dress.
He said: ‘She was fully dressed, ready to go, she looked fantastic, the beautiful blue eyes and I said ‘Honey, did you check the hooks in your petticoat’ and she said ‘No’. I had visions that enormous pettiness would drift adrift.
David was the last to speak to Diana before walking down the aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral, but refused to give away what he whispered in her ear before marrying Charles
“I said, ‘There’s only one way to find out,'” I went to check and as I reappeared under her wedding dress, Diana said, ‘David, have you met the Queen Mother? And there stood the Queen Mother with a rather questioning look on her face.
“All those memories are coming back, she was fun and full of life, and once those blue eyes were on you, it was all over.”
David was the last person to speak to Diana before walking down the aisle at St Paul’s Cathedral, but refused to give away what he whispered in her ear before marrying Charles.
“What happened was when she arrived, there was roaring and crowds outside and Elizabeth took the train. I focused on the face veil, literally handed her her glorious bouquet and whispered a few words to her… I’m not going to tell you what I said.’
David lent his expertise to Netflix as they recreated the wedding dress for the final season of drama royal The Crown. Pictured: Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in The Crown
The designer recalled his “many, many visits” to Kensington Palace and recalled hearing Princes William and Harry playing in the background as children while doing clothes for Diana.
David lent his expertise to Netflix as they remade the wedding dress for the final season of drama royal The Crown, admitting the costume team was “terribly nervous.”
“I gave them pictures of my book and the official handout of the day and said, ‘What’s the problem?’ And they had teams of seamstresses waiting with the costume designer. They said, “The color” and on this board there were so many colors, I said, “That’s it, keep it up, keep going”.