Saturday, 29 July 2017

Royal Wedding Dresses: Lady Diana Spencer

It's about as famous as royal wedding dresses come. The Emanuel design worn by Lady Diana Spencer as she married the Prince of Wales on July 29th 1981 remains an icon of modern royal fashion. We know the bows, the frills and the creases like the backs of our own hands but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy them one more time. Thirty six years on from the wedding of the century, here's a look back at Diana's wedding dress.

The commission for the dress everyone wanted to make was given to designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel who had been favourites of Diana before her engagement was announced. They became overnight superstars and the dress was world famous before it was even made.

The final design has been called romantic more times than any of us have had hot dinners. It really was the stuff of which fairytales were made with huge sleeves, huge skirt and a huge bow surrounded by endless sparkles and lace trims. Diana was already the subject of endless projections before she had even said 'I do' and this dress is one of them. She was the perfect princess in the making and was dressed as everyone expected a princess to look.

Ask anyone about Diana's wedding dress and perhaps the first thing they will say is that it was creased. As the bride got out of the Glass Coach at St Paul's Cathedral that huge skirt made a protest at having been crammed into a vintage carriage and came out crumpled. It came into its own as Diana walked down the aisle but that creased first look is the stuff of royal legend.

Let's get down to basics. The dress was made of silk, taffeta and antique lace and featured over 10,000 pearls and sequins. Every royal wedding dress needs a train and the frock at the marriage of the century didn't disappoint. Just the twenty five feet of fabric followed Diana up the aisle attached at the waist of the dress. The train features a scalloped edge and was completely covered by her light veil.

Diana's wedding dress was an instant icon and was copied the world over. For years after her marriage, puff sleeves and huge skirts were popular choices for brides. The gown itself has been displayed several times but now belongs to Prince William and Prince Harry - they inherited it when they both reached the age of 30. Whether the dress will be seen in public again isn't known. But this royal wedding gown has a place in history all of its own as the stuff of which royal fairytales were (briefly) made.

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