As husband and wife, they became the toast of the fashion industry after creating Princess Diana’s extravagant ivory silk wedding dress.
But now divorced, David and Elizabeth Emanuel are at war over the dress that made them famous.
And in the last chapter of her increasingly fierce dispute, Elizabeth made the extraordinary claim that her ex-husband played no part in her project and dishonestly took credit for decades.
In legal documents filed last week – and seen by The Mail on Sunday – Elizabeth claims that she designed the dress entirely on her own and accuses David of making ‘frequent false statements to the media and the press that he had designed dresses for Princess Diana when he doesn’t ‘.
She is seeking a court order to prevent him from making any claims about the creation of the dress that, with its spectacular 25-foot tail, captivated a global TV audience of 750 million in 1981.
Elizabeth’s attack comes after David, 68, filed a lawsuit to prevent his ex-wife from selling sketches of the dress, claiming that she had no right to do so without her consent.
But in her explosive response, she claims that she was the “key creative force” in their relationship, and that David’s role was merely “organizing, dealing with clients and supervising the making of clothes by the workroom staff” for his clients. designs. Court documents claim that Elizabeth, 67, was “deprived of media interviews and financial income” because the public mistakenly thinks it was David who designed the dress and not her.
David recently landed a consulting role in Netflix’s hit drama, The Crown, to help recreate the dress for actress Emma Corrin to wear during the wedding scenes alongside Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles.
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However, Elizabeth says she would have received the job offer if her ex-husband had not spent years falsely claiming to be Diana’s tailor. And she claims he violated his copyright by reproducing the wedding dress on the screen without his consent.
It is the latest twist in a case that began when David sued his ex-wife over the auction of sketches of the dress and other garments worn by the Princess of Wales.
The other contested designs for sale include the chiffon blouse with ruffled collar and satin that Diana wore in the official engagement photo that Lord Snowdon took for Vogue; the black sequined taffeta evening dress from her first official engagement with Charles in March 1981; a green silk evening dress that she wore in 1985; a black and silver dress from the 1986 film Out Of Africa premiere; and a white crepe dress that the princess wore on a royal tour of the Gulf states that same year. The Welsh designer claimed that his ex-wife is selling the designs without his consent and seeks compensation for copyright infringement. He even asked that offensive copies of the sketches – which he claims she created from the originals they made together – be destroyed.
However, in a hard-hitting response to the Supreme Court last week, Elizabeth’s lawyers said her ex-husband “played no part in the creative process that led to design drawings. They were not jointly authored.”
She claims that David “very rarely, if ever, drew any sketch, work of art or created any design” during her partnership, which lasted from 1978 until her divorce in 1990. Legal documents state that she created the sketches in a room upstairs in her boutique Emanuel Salon in Brook Street, Mayfair, central London, while her husband worked in a room on the floor below.
Elizabeth also claims that her ex-husband could not have been the creator of Diana’s extravagant wedding dress because her design style is “simple and classic”, while she has “an innovative, dramatic, cutting-edge romantic style”.
David is often featured on TV as the designer of Diana’s wedding dress – or as an American broadcaster recently declared, “the genius behind that dress”. In her lawsuit, Elizabeth accused her ex-husband of taking credit for her designs in media interviews, ‘knowing that they were false and / or reckless as to the truth’, and claiming that he knew that she ‘created only all designs for Princess Diana ‘.
The couple met while studying at Harrow College of Art in the mid-1970s, before both completed their master’s degree in fashion at the Royal College of Art in London.
They set up their haute couture house in Mayfair and had two children, Oliver and Eloise, before their marriage broke down bitterly. For years, they communicated only through their children and lawyers.
David Emanuel declined to comment last night.