Diana’s iconic wedding dress is star of royal fashion exhibit
Princess Diana’s wedding dress for her 1981 marriage to Prince Charles was one of the best-kept secrets in fashion history.
The gown sparked such intense interest that young designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel locked the ivory silk dress, which had a 7.6-meter-long train, in a safe at night.
Plucked from obscurity for the commission of a lifetime, the pair even took to putting dummy bits of fabric in the studio’s bins to throw anyone rummaging through them off the scent, according to an exhibition of royal fashion, including Diana’s iconic dress, that opened June 3.
The exhibition, Royal Style in the Making, at the Orangery at Kensington Palace, Diana’s home until her death in a car crash in Paris in 1997, focuses on the work of designers who dressed not just Diana but also Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother.
Trimmed with vintage lace, pearls and thousands of sequins, the train of Diana’s dress was the longest ever for a British royal bride and memorably appeared crumpled as she emerged from her carriage at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Luckily, the designers were on hand to smooth it out.
“I think it goes to show that you can plan for everything, but on the day there’ll always be something,” the exhibition’s curator Matthew Storey told reporters ahead of the opening. “It’s a very big dress. It was a very small carriage,” he said.
The exhibition, which runs until Jan. 2, 2022, chronicles some of the hard toil behind the dress, featuring photographs of the seamstresses as well as the keys for the safe where it was safely deposited nightly. The exhibition also highlights
Diana’s growing sense of personal style and evolution from girlish frills to sleeker, more impactful outfits.
Her sons Prince William and Prince Harry loaned both Diana’s wedding and going-away dresses to the exhibition.
Diana would have turned 60 on July 1 and Harry and William are expected to unveil a long-awaited statue of her in a garden at Kensington Palace.