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Wedding dress designer David Emmanuel remembers Princess Diana

Designer reflects on Diana

Even 20 years after her death, Princess Diana is still considered a style icon. David Emmanuel, who designed her wedding dress, talked to CBS News about his friendship with the popular royal.

Emmanuel remembered first meeting Diana in his store, before she was famous.

"In walked, on this appointment, this tall, slim, adorable girl, who said, 'I'm Lady Diana Spencer,'" he recalled, adding that she was "terribly unaffected, completely natural and real" as he helped her find a dress. 

Then he said the next day, he saw Diana on TV with Prince Charles. 

"I go, that's my frock!" he said. 

He and Diana struck a friendship, and Emmanuel eventually designed the elaborate wedding dress that inspired countless replicas in the '80s and '90s, including Mariah Carey's 1993 wedding dress.

"There came a moment where we designed the dress and the train and I said, 'I looked it up and the longest royal train in the past has been 20 foot. She goes, 'Yes,' and I said, 'Well, we've got to make it bigger than that.' Well, I said, 'Come on,' and I said, 'What about 22, 25?' And she said, 'Oh great, OK.'" The dress ended up being so big it could barely fit in the carriage. 

But in spite of all of the frills and her royal title, Emmanuel said Diana was always kind — with "naughty eyes." 

"You could always see she had a great sense of humor," he said. "There was mischief in those eyes." 

Reflecting on Thursday's sad anniversary — 20 years since Diana's death in a car crash in Paris — Emmanuel said, "I feel honored to have met her, to be part of her history."

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