By now, you've likely heard the rumblings about Spencer, the much-discussed new biopic starring Kristen Stewart as the late Princess Diana. The film follows the Royal Family during their Christmas vacation at the Queen's Sandringham Estate, and the fictional plot centers around Diana in the midst of the demise of her and Prince Charles's marriage.
And while the film doesn't give us a full reimagining of Princess Diana's wedding day, we were gifted a glimpse of Kristen Stewart in a remaking of the princess's iconic dress—originally designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel—during a flashback sequence.
Stewart is seen walking outside in a recreated version of the famous gown, which featured over-the-top sleeves and a ruffled neckline, reminiscent of Diana's dramatic silk-and-taffeta wedding dress that's since become one of the most recognizable fashion moments of all time.
The former husband-and-wife design duo created Diana's original dress over several months, as the intricate bridal gown consisted of an estimated 10,000 pearls, in addition to hand-embroidered mother-of-pearl sequins. The dress was created in top-secrecy—the designers even gave the princess a code name of "Deborah" and hired security.
“She was just lovely, really kind of easy going. We never had any special instructions about how to make the wedding dress. That added a bit to the fun of it all, made it bit of an adventure,” Elizabeth previously told People of working with the People's Princess.
During a red carpet interview at the Los Angeles premiere of Spencer, Stewart recalled the eerie moment of stepping into the mock dress. "When we put that dress on, it is embedded in a montage that kind of flashed her life before you,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “The wedding dress is embedded in that montage and putting that on was a spooky day.”
"We didn't have to do the wedding scene but I still had one walk, walking outside of this castle," Stewart continued. "I was like, 'Wait, but this is so particular.' This actually does land on a very precise day of her life and [the director Pablo Larraín] was like, 'Take everything you learned about that day, all of your emotional responses that you have accumulated, put them all right here. What does it feel like to believe in an ideal that then becomes very, very apparently farcical? It's kind of just like, let your heart break in a moment.' I was like, 'OK got it. Let's go.’”
While there's only one actual wedding dress in the film, the actress also dazzled in another wedding-worthy white gown during some of the most pivotal scenes. The ornate gown, featured on the biopic's movie poster, was designed by Chanel (Stewart is an ambassador for the brand). According to Vogue Paris, the fashion house recreated a Spring/Summer 1988 Haute Couture show gown, which took over 1,030 hours of work (700 of which were dedicated to embroidering the gold-and-silver-sequined floral pattern).
The stunning gold and ivory ballgown featured a cinched waist tied with an ivory satin bow, a tulle-lined strapless neckline, and a dramatic ballgown skirt. The dress embodied Diana's well-known, polished style, and could easily have been a piece chosen by the late Princess.
To recreate Diana's fashion sense—without directly replicating her actual outfits—the film's costume designer Jacqueline Durran studied the vast library of images available of the royal, who was photographed almost everywhere she went. Plus, Chanel granted Durran and the production team access to its extensive design archive.
“In terms of style and glamour, the collaboration gave the movie something we wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Durran told Vogue. “The Chanel pieces added to that aura Diana had as a princess, so it was an incredible match in that sense.”