Elizabeth Emanuel dressed two of the evening's glamorous attendees

By Simon Perry
February 25, 2019 03:44 PM
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Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer helped add a royal touch to this year’s Oscars.

Elizabeth Emanuel’s look for Mary, Queen of Scots costume design nominee Alexandra Byrne was a “period piece with a modern touch,” says Emanuel.

The U.K. designer also dressed Sarina Taylor, the wife of Queen drummer Roger Taylor, who opened the show with the band in a nod to honoree Bohemian Rhapsody.

Byrne’s outfit had a pinafore effect and was made from black faille with cartridge pleating, “which is quite appropriate because it was used in that period of Mary, Queen of Scots,” Emanuel says.

Alexandra Byrne (right) and Sarina Taylor at the Oscars on February 24, 2019, in designs by Elizabeth Emanuel.
Alexandra Byrne

The outfit was worn with a white satin-backed silk organza blouse underneath. “It is quite Puritan in a way. It appears plain but it had a lot of detail on it up close,” says Emanuel. “She is tall and has an amazing figure and her haircut is very severe, so it really looked good on her.”

Elizabeth Emanuel

“I didn’t want to put any glitter on it because I thought everybody’s got glitter and she would stand out in the crowd. She wore it with flat shoes. It was a very strong fashion look.”

Elizabeth Emanuel

Both looks came from the newest Elizabeth by Elizabeth Emanuel line, The Paris 1902 Collection.

For Emanuel, who co-created Diana’s iconic wedding dress in 1981 with her then-husband David, working for a costume designer could have been daunting: “I would be awful in the same situation, but she was wonderful. She was very patient and came up with loads of suggestions, which was brilliant.”

Elizabeth Emanuel.
David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Maddox Galleryq

“We had to work out the detailing, and she would come up with ideas too. It was amazing to work with her on that dress because she is so experienced. For me it was absolutely amazing and a privilege to work with her.”

“She has reached the top of her trade, so it was really exciting.”

For Sarina Taylor, Emanuel dressed her subject in a black silk faille jacket with a “tiny waist” and a satin contrast collar. “It has amazing cuffs, which were inspired by a Star Wars movie – I saw it and thought, ‘What a great detail. I’m going to put it on a jacket.’ ”

The look also featured what she calls “crystal embellishments” – crystals that have been dyed to make them look vintage.

Her tulle leotard underneath was embroidered with lace and crystal bows. “It looks like she’s not wearing much, but she was absolutely covered. She has this long slinky long skirt slashed up to the knee. She has this amazing shape, with a tiny waist – curvy but slim. It is a mermaid shape in a way.”