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Princess Diana’s Wedding Dress Designer Will Create a Modern Version of Her Iconic 1981 Gown – Brides

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When the late Princess Diana tied the knot with now-King Charles III in 1981, she wore a trend-setting wedding dress that had a profound impact on the bridal fashion space—and the world. The royal getup, a silk-and-taffeta ball gown featuring puff sleeves, 10,000 hand-embroidered pearls, and a 25-foot train, caught everyone’s attention, and brides everywhere wanted to recreate the princess’s iconic look for their own big day. 

Now, one of the designers behind the elaborate ensemble, Elizabeth Emanuel (who crafted the piece with her former husband, David Emanuel), has decided to recreate a modern version of Diana’s wedding dress. “I’m going to try and capture the spirit of the original but through my eyes now,” Elizabeth told People on April 3, 2024. “I want to preserve all the sparkles and pearls but with a completely different vision.”

Although Elizabeth noted that she wouldn’t have adjusted any detail on Princess Diana’s original wedding dress, now that more than 40 years have passed, she’s going to approach the new design process from a wiser, more experienced lens. “It’s a really exciting thing because I often get asked, ‘Would you do the same dress again?’” she shared. “Well, I wouldn’t change a thing on the dress in 1981, but if I was looking at it through my eyes now, there [are] so many possibilities.”

Hulton Deutsch / Getty Images


Elizabeth previously told the publication that the royal family didn’t have a specific vision for Diana’s wedding dress at the time, so Elizabeth came up with an array of potential design ideas for the future bride to choose from. When Elizabeth revealed those concepts—which covered the floor of her showroom—to Lady Di and her mother, the two appeared to be in shock, according to the designer. “I’m sure it must have been a daunting sight for the future princess and her mother who sat stunned and speechless for the first few minutes,” Elizabeth remembered. “We waited for a response for what seemed ages, and then, the smiles broke out.” 

After a beat, they selected a “very theatrical, very dramatic” design concept. “We knew the wedding was going to be in St. Paul’s, and that’s huge inside, so we wanted the dress to stand out,” Elizabeth explained. “But also, for Diana, we wanted to make her look like a fairy princess.” Since the future didn’t have any particular details she wanted her dress to include, Elizabeth and David decided to go above and beyond with the final product. “[We said,] ‘Let’s do it. Let’s go crazy. St. Paul’s [has] this huge, big aisle. Let’s put all the frills on the lace, everything, and make it the ultimate fairy princess dress,” Elizabeth recounted. “And we did that.”

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