Friday, June 17, 2011

As seen in...

Lifestyle Asia

I was recently approached by Lifestyle Asia, the highest selling Chinese weekly magazine in Australia for a Q and A session to tie in with the cover story about weddings in Sydney.  Check out the questions and my answers below! 

1.         How and when did you start out in bridal wear design?
I had moved back to Australia from the UK and started designing day & eveningwear. A few brides commissioned me to make their wedding gowns, which I enjoyed making but did not see it as a full time proposition, my (now) husband suggested I worked on a wedding gown collection, I did not want to design traditional gowns as I was more interested in stunning eveningwear. We moved the business to a new location in Perth and at the same started a collection of wedding gowns and it worked extremely well from the beginning that I made it my main focus.  It has now come full circle because last year I started work on a new eveningwear collection again!
I started the original store in Perth around 20 years ago but moved to Sydney with my husband at the end of 2000 for the business (and because we love Sydney).

2.       How would you describe your signature style? What do you think makes your designs unique? 
I think I design a beautiful gown that complement’s our brides varied and unique personalities.  They are more fashion orientated and a bit edgy in design.  We make all our gowns in Australia in our Sydney workroom and I am very focused on the fit and quality of each and every gown. 

3.         What is your favorite thing about designing wedding dresses?
I get to work on what I love, making a stunning piece of art, which you get to wear on the most important day of your life. There is a great deal of skill and craftsmanship behind each gown and I love the challenge and excitement designing new gowns brings.

4.       Do you have a personal favorite style of bridal gown, and if so, why? 
I love them all for different reasons (or else I would not design them) I design for all different styles of brides and for different wedding days. My absolute personal style has a vintage 1950’s edge that cinches in the waist and has a fuller skirt reminiscent of the New Look by Dior.

5.       What inspired your latest collection? And what type of fabric and embellishment feature in the latest collection? 
My inspiration this collection is for feminine vintage layers using textures and mixed fabrics that work with many different silhouettes. Some of my favourite looks from the latest collection include belts and motif accents with diamante features complimenting sheer and floaty fabrics with a structured base.  I also love reinterpreting the classic all over lace gown this time with a slim fitted silhouette and playing with proportion with a fishtail silhouette.

6.      How far in advance do you recommend purchasing a wedding dress?
Six months order time is an industry standard, but my real answer is as soon as you know this is the gown you would love to walk down the aisle in – pay your deposit and book it.  At Karen Willis Holmes we are very flexible with the time frames because we make the gowns to order. If you only have a short time period and we have the fabrics and space in the workroom of course we will make it for you. However, we do not have all of the fabrics all of the time. I recommend you book as soon as you know you want it. Of course, it is not unheard of for brides to want to loose weight, you can book your gown so everything is locked in but we can resize the gown for you closer to the wedding date.

7.       Can you provide a retail price guide for both your bridal wear and your line of accessories? 
Evening collection $489 to $600
Ready to wear bridal gowns - $1489 - $3989
Couture gowns - $6000 upwards
Jewelry and accessories - $79 upwards

8.       What advice would you give brides who want to have their dress custom-made? 
The first thing I recommend to is to do some research for your gown, look at lots of images (magazines and the internet are great) to give you an idea of what you like get a little collection together. You might find most of the images are from one or two designers.  The next is to work out your budget – and look at stores, which are at your price point.  Shop around, ask for recommendations, find out what do you get from each store? As services provided are very varied so you need to know what is included and what is not with each store.   Lastly, your wedding gown is a huge decision to undertake and brides usually want a second opinion.  Choose the people whose opinions you trust – you will get honest answers and opinions and will not be inundated with several conflicting opinions and comments. 

Have a great weekend
Karen x

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