David Emanuel became world famous in 1981 after Lady Diana Spencer emerged from a glass coach on 29 July wearing a wedding dress designed by his and his then-wife’s label.
Emanuel noted that there was no “pomp or ceremony” to Diana’s dress fittings, and that only he, his wife, and Diana knew what the dress looked like prior to the wedding.
“The highlight was being asked in the first place,” Emanuel told Metro. “And then finding out years later every designer in the world had sent designs and portfolios to Buckingham Palace.”
“I had no idea. We just got a call asking us to design her wedding gown. She was full of fun and had a great sense of humour. The ultimate buzz was when she got out at St Paul’s and 700 million people saw her in her dress.”
Emanuel designed the now-iconic wedding dress along with his ex-wife Elizabeth Emanuel. The duo were selected by Diana, Princess of Wales, after loving a blue chiffon blouse they had designed for her to wear in formal portraits shot by Lord Snowdon.
In the Fashion Encyclopedia, Lisa Marsh wrote, “Creations by artists from Botticelli to Renoir and Degas were used as influences, as were photographs of some of the more romantic women in history. The garments seen on Greta Garbo in Camille, Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind, and Marlene Dietrich in The Scarlet Empress were all recreated to some degree.”
Diana’s gown was made of ivory silk taffeta and antique lace, with hand embroidery, 10,000 pearls, and sequins, and famously featured a 25-foot train that stretched from the door of the glass coach she exited to the top of the stairs at St Paul’s Cathedral. Her wedding dress was paired with the Spencer Family tiara.
He continues to design, and has offered his services to Pippa Middleton for her upcoming wedding, although the identity of her dress designer is likely to be kept secret until, like her older sister, she makes her way into the church on her wedding day.
“Pippa is not a royal, so let’s be soft and pretty and elegant, but divine. Red carpet, not Hollywood, not royal but red carpet.”