Princess Diana's Dress Designer Shares Memories Of The Big Day
Princess Diana’s wedding dress, designed by Elizabeth Emanuel with husband David Emanuel, is the most copied bridal gown of all time.
As the woman who would have been Princess Diana’s daughter-in-law — Kate Middleton — gets ready to walk down the aisle with Prince William, Elizabeth opened up Access Hollywood about her memories of Diana’s big day.
“How nervous were you watching the actual wedding, seeing her walking in your dress, to make sure it all went right?” Access Hollywood correspondent Tim Vincent asked the designer on Thursday in London.
“Our first view of Diana, apart from in the morning when we put her through the carriage, was at the top of the steps, and you could see her head appearing first, then the skirt. ‘Oh my God! The creases!’ I just nearly died in all honesty,” Elizabeth recounted.
While Elizabeth cringed at the creases on Diana’s flowing gown and 25-foot train, the rest of the world gasped in delight.
Elizabeth and design partner (and husband) David, worked directly with Diana.
“With Diana, what we did was we took her through the rail of samples,” Elizabeth explained. “She tired on lots of different shapes. We did sketches for her, loads of things, and we settled on one style that really suited her.”
“Did she come back to your studio for all the fittings?” Tim asked. “She was one of the busiest women in the world.”
“Yes, she did and we had crowds waiting outside for a glimpse of her,” Elizabeth revealed.
But it wasn’t just a glimpse of Lady Di that was coveted.
“You must have had paparazzi and journalists trying to get a peak of what you were working on…” Tim suggested.
“Oh my goodness! That was so stressful for us really,” Elizabeth said. “We started to get people — they were renting the office opposite of us so they’d be peering out the windows with long range telescopes, cameras, all sorts of things. We had to put up blinds and things to stop them from looking in.”
Elizabeth said the attention of the press and paparazzi was so strong, they eventually just decided to have fun with it.
“We discovered they were going through the rubbish bins so we said, ‘OK, let’s play this game,’” Elizabeth laughed. “So we started putting scraps of different fabrics in the rubbish bin.
“The ultimate thing — we thought, ‘What if someone broke in or something awful happened?’ We had another dress ready, hanging there just in case, half finished,” Elizabeth continued. “We could have finished it in 24 hours if we had to.”
While Elizabeth and her team prepared for the worst, they kept Diana in the dark.
“She didn’t know about that. We wanted it there just in case,” Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth still has fabric from her world-famous creation, but that’s not what she treasures the most.
“At the end of the day, David and I went back to the studio and it was very quiet,” she said. “And then the phone rang and it was Diana calling from her honeymoon to thank us and we were so overcome with emotion that she would think of us.”
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