On July 29, 1981, 4 decades ago this month, Lady Diana Spencer stepped from a carriage at St Paul's Cathedral to marry Prince Charles with what would soon be referred to as dress from the century.
Diana's dress featured a considerable skirt complete having a record-breaking 25ft train and frothy folds of silk taffeta fit for any fairytale. 'That dress!' BBC presenter Tom Fleming exclaimed because the soon-to-be princess smoothed the gown around her. 'What an aspiration she looks,' commentator Angela Rippon added while noting Diana's tiny waist which had shrunk from 29 into 23½in throughout the couple's five-month engagement.
Decades later, we're re-examining exactly what went into Princess Diana's legendary wedding gown, in the frock's creation and total cost to copious prom dresses fittings along with a secret backup gown that went missing.
Who designed Princess Diana's wedding gown?
Elizabeth and David Emanuel, a couple of duo within their late 20s who had recently graduated from fashion school, designed Princess Diana's wedding dress. Buckingham Palace shocked the planet when they announced the pair had been commissioned to produce the royal wedding gown, but Lady Diana Spencer had caused the Emanuels on several prior occasions and would be a fan of the work.
How long was Diana's wedding train?
Princess Diana's wedding train would be a record-breaking 25ft long. To make sure it might fit on the aisle, wedding gown designers Elizabeth and David Emanuel secretly measured St Paul's cathedral having a tape measure.
How much did Princess Diana's wedding gown cost?
Princess Diana's ivory wedding dress cost approximately £9,000 ($12,000) almost 30 years ago which is equal to about £36,800 ($50,000) today. David and Elizabeth Emanuel as well as their head seamstress Nina Missetzis primarily worked on the gown in addition to several additional seamstresses. In keeping with tradition, the trio sourced the material from within Britain before hand-embroidering 10,000 pearls and tiny sequins to the bodice from the silk taffeta bodice and skirt.
Diana's dress also required five different bodices because of the bride-to-be's swift weight reduction. When Lady Diana Spencer reached her first dress fitting her waist measured 29in. By her big day, however, it would be a tiny 23.5in. The Emanuels sewed Diana into the gown ahead of her marriage ceremony so it wouldn't come loose.
How much did Diana's dress cost when compared with Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle?
In comparison to her future daughters-in-law, Princess Diana's dress would be a steal. Kate Middleton wore a £250,000 ($342,827) wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen when she walked on the aisle this year — which makes it the fifth priciest dress ever. In 2018, Meghan Markle married Prince Harry inside a £200,000 ($274,240) white silk Givenchy gown. Both royal brides also donned another dress for their evening receptions.
What happened to Diana's dress around the day of the wedding?
In addition to being sewn into the gown after losing more weight in front of her wedding, Princess Diana accidentally spilled perfume on her behalf dress just hours before walking on the aisle. The nervous bride-to-be dripped the scent onto her dress while putting it on to her neck and wrists, but Elizabeth and David Emanuel reportedly never discovered as Diana allow the spoiled section from the dress air dry before 'tucking the front to cover any residue. Her perfume of preference? Diana usually wore strong perfumes like Diorissimo by Dior but chose Parisian perfume house Houbigant's Quelques Fleurs — a lighter fragrance having a blend of jasmine, rose and tuberose — for her big day.
Did Diana possess a second wedding gown?
Princess Diana had three wedding gowns: The one she wore, a backup replica dress that will later continue display at Madame Tussauds along with a secret gown according to Diana's second choice design should the actual dress be discovered or discovered before the official big day unveiling. The secret backup dress was similar to the gown Diana wore — from the frilly sleeves to defined waist — although much plainer. The dress somehow went missing following the wedding and hasn't resulted to this day.
What was the cultural impact of the royal wedding gown?
Princess Diana's wedding gown quickly became one of the most famous garments on the planet — with replica copies from the gown appearing in shop windows in London just hours after details from the gown were announced. Elsewhere, brides enamored with Diana's wedding look began requesting full skirts, frilly sleeves, and defined bodices for their weddings.
Where is Princess Diana's wedding gown now?
Princes William and Harry own the mother's wedding gown — and after several requests in the Emanuel's to show the historic town, the brothers have decided to lend the famous dress to some Kensington Palace exhibition entitled Royal Style In The Making. It's the first time the gown has been shown in public places in over two-and-a-half decades. Following her death, Diana's brother Earl Spencer stored the gown for safekeeping. Harry and William inherited the gown and Diana's other possessions once they were both within their 30s.
The good reputation for royal wedding gowns
From Britain towards the rest of the world, royal people are known for their spectacular celebrations and wedding dresses. In addition to Princess Diana's legendary dress, Grace Kelly wore two dresses on her big day — one pink and something white. Queen Elizabeth II's frock wasn't only embroidered, but additionally embellished with seed pearls.