Win two tickets for afternoon tea at Diana exhibition at Newbridge Silverware, plus a free piece of jewellery each
On the 20th aniversary of her death, remember the fashion of Diana, Princess of Wales with a visit to a very special exhibition at Newbridge Silverware and the Museum of Style Icons.
'Diana - A Fashion Legacy' is currently running at the Kildare visitor attraction and includes some of Princess Diana's most famous outfits, including the original toile of her wedding dress, co-designed and created by Elizabeth Emanuel, who officially opened the exhibition back in July.
In 1981, Elizabeth and her husband, David, were at the centre of huge media speculation as the world waited for a first glimpse of the dress at the wedding dubbed "the stuff of which fairytales are made". An estimated 700 million people tuned in and the famous gown didn't disappoint - made of ivory silk, pure taffeta and incorporated antique lace, it also had 10,000 pearls and had a 25ft train.
The exhibition at Newbridge Silverware includes the final calico toile - the dressmaker's equivalent of a working document - for the wedding gown and a replacement veil. adjust the sizing and it has a distinctive shoe mark on the inside of the dress.
Numerous bodice changes had to be made by David and Elizabeth Emanuel as Diana continued to lose weight in the weeks leading up to the wedding day. "Diana, like many nervous brides, must have lost about a stone and a half in weight during the run-up to the wedding," said Elizabeth Emanuel. "The actual gown was only made up in silk based on this final toile at the last possible moment to ensure the most accurate fit and as there was a limited amount of the specially woven silk available"
After the dress was made, some silk was left over and the Emanuel's made a miniature copy of the royal wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses (similar to the ones given to Princess Diana by Elizabeth Emanuel and David Emanuel in 1981). The miniatures were made at a scale of 1/8th of the original dress and were created using cut-offs from the original bridal silk and lace, mounted onto miniature mannequins. The miniatures are also on display at the exhibition at Newbridge Silverware and feature mini versions of the three bridesmaid dresses similar to those worn by India Hicks, Clementine Hambro and Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones.
Other items linked to Princess Diana and Elizabeth Emanuel which are on show at the exhibition include a leather bound album relating to the Royal Wedding in 1981, including the Royal Wedding Order of Service, 'Ceremonial' invitations to 'Mr and Mrs D Emanuel' to both the wedding and reception, passes, seat reservations, press clippings, photographs and souvenirs to the wedding. There is also an album of press clippings which include letters, written by the Princess. Separately, Christmas cards, handwritten by the Princess to friends and family are also on display in the exhibition.
Of course, Diana's wardrobe was one of her most powerful tools of communication - and perhaps never more so than the evening when she wore what became known as the 'Revenge Dress', which is also on show at Newbridge. On the night that Prince Charles went on TV to admit his infidelity in 1994 Princess Diana wore a sexy, black off the shoulder dress by Christina Stambolian. The figure hugging dress, with its split up the leg showed off her toned figure and athletic body and was a regarded by many as a strategic dress, worn by the Princess to tell her wayward husband that she was strong and determined and would not be put down by his infidelity. The plan worked and the next day's papers showed pictures of a confident, beaming Diana arriving to the Serpentine Gallery.
Another important piece in the exhibition is the Catherine Walker Mughal-inspired lavishly embroidered pink silk evening gown and bolero, made for the state visit to India, in February 1992. It was during this trip that Diana was famously photographed sitting alone at the Taj Mahal - the monument to lost love. Her official separation from Prince Charles was to be announced in December of the same year. The Princess was photographed wearing this gown by Lord Snowdon in 1997 and is one of the most lavish of all her gowns. Labelled 'Catherine Walker, London', the sleeveless gown with deep scooped neckline and long princess-line bodice is delicately embroidered to the dropped waistline.
Diana - A Fashion Legacy runs until September 30 at the Museum of Style Icons, Newbridge Silverware. The exhibition is free of charge and the museum also features garments and interesting artefacts from several Hollywood stars, musicians, and celebrities. For more see www.newbridgesilverware.com or call (045) 431301
The Belfast Telegraph has four sets of two tickets for afternoon tea at Newbridge Silverware and the Museum of Style Icons. Each winner will also receive a beautiful piece of jewellery. To be in with a chance to win just answer this simple question:
What husband and wife team designed Diana's wedding dress?
Email your answer - including your name and address - with 'Newbridge' in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Monday, August 28