Meghan Markle’s wedding dress got a nod of approval from Elizabeth Emanuel, who designed Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding dress with her then-husband David Emanuel.
“I thought she looked absolutely beautiful,” Emanuel tells PEOPLE of Meghan’s pure white silk Givenchy gown, which was created by British designer Clare Waight Keller.
The bride’s unembellished dress featured an open bateau neckline, a sculpted waist and slim three-quarter sleeves, which added a note of refined modernity. Meghan’s dress also incorporated a five meters long train, which flowed in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza.
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“I expected it to not have decoration,” Emmanuel continues, adding that the dress’s simplicity made a “really solid fashion statement.”
“It was absolutely plain and pure and elegant,” she adds. “Past royal wedding gowns tend to be very classic and very traditional, and this wasn’t because it did not have all the lace and all the decoration and anything on it. It was a new kind of look, but still classical and regal.”
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While in the days leading up to the wedding, many names were thrown around as Meghan’s possible bridal designer, Emmanuel says she didn’t even hear Keller’s name mentioned.
“It was always Erdem or Christopher Bailey, but I had not heard her name come up,” the designer remarks. “And I think it’s really nice that it is somebody really nice that not a lot of people outside of fashion know of.”
Emmanuel adds that Keller “should be pleased because I thought Meghan looked absolutely stunning and beautiful” in her instantly classic dress.
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Praising the dress’s sharp lines, Diana’s designer thinks that Meghan’s gown with “will be copied because it was so different.”
She says people will most likely copy Meghan’s dramatic tulle train and delicate veil, too.
“Probably people will thinking about having very long tulle trains as well. It is a very soft net — you can get the crunchy net, which is one sort of look, or this very beautiful, almost like a jersey tulle that falls like a drape and it is very pretty,” Emmanuel adds.
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Asked how she thought the look compared with Diana and Kate Middleton’s dresses, the designer said that while both Kate and Meghan’s gowns “are very classic,” Diana’s “was of its time.”
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“It was very much of the 80s and would look unusual if it was out there now. Whereas I think Kate and Meghan’s dresses would look perfect any time,” she explains. “In the 80s we were all a bit crazy and over-the-top when it came to drama and effect and everything.”
“But those dresses are very classic. It is different times,” she adds.