David Emanuel will always be known as the designer who made Princess Diana's show-stopping wedding dress back in 1981. He admits the ivory silk taffeta gown, which featured a 25-foot train, put him "on the international stage" and was his "calling card" for many, many years. But reflecting on his work, David has said that some of his favourite pieces he made for the Princess were from her private wardrobe – and will never be seen by the public.
"The royals have their public wardrobe and their private wardrobe," David told HELLO! Online. "There are one or two dresses in Diana's private wardrobe that nobody ever saw. They were lovely gowns but were never photographed and never seen. Two days before Diana's wedding, it was the fun party, the ball at Buckingham Palace that I went to, and that dress I made was in shocking pink taffeta, very skin-tight, very fitted to the floor with quite a plunging neckline.
"And up until then, the world had only ever seen Diana as a kindergarten teacher, and on that night at her party before the wedding, I think she more than shocked – I think she dazzled people because you saw this fabulous girl with this fabulous figure."
David Emanuel created Princess Diana's wedding gown
He added: "I've done one or two things that nobody's ever seen, and you think, 'Damn, I wish people could have seen that.' But then that's the job, and I think it's important to the royals also, because they're on so much public show, that they have a separate private wardrobe that they can wear, that's not commented on."
Princess Diana's wedding dress making its way home to her sons
David, who is back on screens as the host of Say Yes to the Dress UK, went on to make several pieces for Diana. He created dresses for her royal tours and quickly became the Princess' go-to designer. "I just miss seeing Diana light up a room. I miss her fun," said David, who, like other royal watchers, will be marking her 20th death anniversary in August. "She had sparkly eyes and there was a lot of mischief, she was good fun. And she was sweet and caring and every time I made a gown for her, she'd handwrite a note saying thank you so much. Particularly if I rushed a gown, because sometimes they were rushed, and she would always take time to put pen to paper and say thank you. She was a lovely, lovely girl and very special. That's all. She was a very straightforward girl."
"I just miss seeing Diana light up a room. I miss her fun," said David
David is now lending his expertise to brides around the nation as season two of Say Yes to the Dress UK airs. His number one rule for brides is to "try and keep an open-mind". "Don't admire it on the hanger. What looks great on the hanger might not look great on you, and vice versa," said David. "I can see it working and sometimes brides can't and once I've got their confidence, they go with it and we get things moving. Some want nude panels, but unless you're slim as a whippet, stay well away from that! Some want illusion necklines and plunge necklines and I say, 'Jeepers! Where are you getting married? In a church? I don't think it's really good for church. Not sure what your minister's got to say about that.'"
The bridal designer returns for series two of Say Yes To The Dress UK
With all eyes trained on Pippa Middleton and her upcoming May wedding, David shared his predictions for her gown. "If she boxes clever, she should be completely different to her sister," said David. "It's an opportunity for her to wear something completely different, so it could be lace and chiffon, keep it very soft, I would. I'd love to see her in an empire-line gown, soft and flowing and elegant. You could have a scoop neck, lace bodice with sleeves and then a very full, very pretty three-layered chiffon skirt. Don't forget it's not a royal wedding, so we'll see. Everyone's excited to see it, to see a bride!"
Say Yes To The Dress UK airs Fridays from 12 May, 9pm on TLC.