One of the most iconic fashion moments in history – royal or otherwise – Princess Diana’s wedding dress was actually on show for the first time in 25 years at Kensington Palace last year as part of an exhibition called ‘Royal Style In The Making’.
As we mark twenty five years since her untimely death, we take an in-depth look at the dress that captured a nation, AKA ‘the most closely guarded secret in fashion history’…
It had 10,000 pearls (and a historic piece of lace) sewn into it
Diana’s intricate and iconic ivory gown was embroidered with sequins, lace and a whopping 10,000 mother of pearl sequins and pearls. Not only this, but a piece of Carrickmacross lace was attached to the dress that once belonged to Queen Mary. The dress was designed by husband-and-wife team David and Elizabeth Emanuel and valued at an estimated $115,000.
There was so much fabric, she barely fit in the royal carriage
Diana struggled to fit into the carriage on the way to St. Paul’s Cathedral thanks to the vast amounts of fabric on her dress. The designers had to fold the fabric over the princess which caused wrinkles when she disembarked the carriage. “We had prepared for this, but for a millisecond, I was worried about smoothing them out,” Elizabeth told Vogue.
The designers installed a safe to keep it secret
The Emanuels went to great lengths to ensure that Diana’s dress was kept a secret, to be unveiled to the world only on the big day. They even installed a safe to keep designs and fabric swatches, which was guarded 24/7 by security guards Jim and Bert!
There was even a second dress, in case the first got leaked
The designer duo created an alternate dress – with a much more pronounced V-neckline and no lace – which was kept on hand in case details of the original dress were leaked. Elizabeth Emanuel also revealed to Vogue that they created a spare skirt in case Diana spilled coffee on the first, saying: “Racking our brains for things that could go wrong was a game we played.”
Its train was the longest in royal wedding history
The dress’s 25-foot train was the longest in the history of royal wedding dresses, attached via a carefully crafted mechanism inside Diana’s sweeping skirts. But the tulle veil attached to her tiara was actually longer than the train, at a super impressive 153 yards.