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Princess Diana's Wedding Dress Steals Show at Exhibition for Royal Family's Designers

Princess Diana's Wedding Dress Steals Show at Exhibition for Royal Family's Designers

Saturday, 5 June, 2021 - 06:15
Britain’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer are shown on their wedding day at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London in July 1981. (AP)

An exhibition held in London has gathered the Royal Family's favorite designers to display some of their best works, from Princess Diana's creamy wedding dress, to some of the Queen's most memorable outfits.

The exhibition launched Thursday, at Kensington Palace with Diana's dress adorned with classic lace, pearls, and thousands of sequins, displayed behind a vitrine specially designed to fit its 7.6 meters veil, the longest ever worn in a royal wedding.

When they received a phone call from Diana, David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who were in their early fame at the time, realized that "it was one of these moments that changes one's life forever," says Elizabeth in a video screened during the event.

Many remember how the princess' veil was creased when she stepped down from the carriage in front of St. Paul's Chapel, in 1981. Fortunately, both designers were there to fix the problem.

"This proves that we can be ready for everything, but something must always happen on the big day," said Matthew Storey, exhibition curator, recalling that "the dress was huge, while the carriage was small."

The show gives an insight on the efforts made to create this dress, through pictures of the tailors who made it, and the keys of the closet in which it was kept all night.

Elizabeth Emanuel recalled how reporters were looking in their studio's garbage bins for any hint on the design. Therefore, they decided to throw unused fabric to misinform the curious reporters.

The show focuses on emphasizing the evolution of Diana's style and her modern fashion spirit that made her wear more elegant pieces. Although she gave her designers a lot of freedom while making her dress, some documents from the archive show that she interfered sometimes, giving comments on the drawing to request a special color for instance, or wish for some alterations.

In video footage, designer David, who was a close to the princess, revealed that she was "so shy" when they first met, but she became "so involved in choosing what she wants later." He also noted that "she was always aware of the garment people await to see. She loved breaking the rules, and she always wore gloves and hats in contrast to the Royal protocol."

The Crown television series has recently recreated some of the outfits worn by Diana, who would have turned 60 on July 1.

The exhibition also highlights the long connection between Designer Norman Hartnell and Queen Elizabeth II. Norman started to design her outfits in the 1930s.

Hartnell's biography writer Michael Pick said in a video that during the World War II, the Queen used to wear elegant garments when visiting bombarded Londoners. Hartnell also designed the Queen's wedding dress, and the dress she wore for her crowning ceremony. The exhibition displays the appreciation letter she wrote to thank him.

But the most exciting dress in the exhibition belongs to Princess Margret. It has a low bodice adorned with gold embroidery inspired from the Georgian age. This dress was designed for a costume party, in 1964, by stage designer Oliver Messel.

He was closely related to the princess, who honored him after his death by displaying his archive at Kensington Palace.

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