Friday, July 29, 2011

Real Bride...

Erin & Mark 

It is always exciting to receive pictures from all the Karen Willis Holmes brides and I love seeing their complete look and excitement from their day.
When I was reading Erin’s proposal story it was just too cute not to include…

“For months I watched my girlfriends around me become engaged and would stir Mark up about it jokingly…until after one of my closest friends got engaged and I started with the usual jokes he turned to me and said “In all seriousness, you know it’s going to happen but let’s just let all of our friends get married so we can have our own special time when we do get engaged.”
Of course, I had only been joking and this was fine to hear…but it ended up backfiring on him a few weeks later as we headed to the Sunshine Coast for a holiday (when we pulled into the gorgeous resort I had to stop myself from the usual taunts of how nice a place it was to maybe get engaged) – when he did propose later that night over a very romantic dinner, I didn’t believe him and kept questioning him for about 5 minutes “Are you kidding? This isn’t funny!” to his response on bended knee, “Do I look like I’m kidding?!” and asked again for me to marry him – which I then did the usual hysterical squeal “YES!”. And the rest as they say is history.”

Erin and Mark were married on the 5th of March at the RACV Country Club in the Yarra Valley on a stunningly sunny day – perfect for an outdoor wedding.
  Going with the theme ‘A Formal Affair’ for their simple yet elegant wedding with of black tie dress code and black and white colour theme with subtle highlights of pale pink, Erin and Mark wanted a simple yet elegant wedding.

As for the wedding dress, Erin first drew inspiration from magazines and the Karen Willis Holmes website before heading to the High Street store in Melbourne. “I had a fairly good idea of the style I wanted, so maybe about 5-6 dresses in KWH (I think I had tried on about 30+ dresses before coming to KWH though).”
Erin choose the Estelle gown features a corset bustier style gown with lace and ribbon top stitch detail on the bodice with a tulle ½ circle skirt.
“ The Estelle design was perfect, it had beautiful delicate lace on the bodice and a gorgeous tulle skirt that wasn’t too full – I didn’t want a big ball gown with lots of ‘tizz’ – this was clean and elegant, and had so many fabulous subtle details.”

Erin completed her look with simple drop earrings, diamante cuff, a fingertip length veil and silver ballet shoes from Witchery with black bows on the toes.  What I absolutely love was the detailing on her black waist ribbon.  She had metal initials ‘E’ and ‘M’ sewn on the ends of the ribbon.

Erin’s bridesmaids wore dresses by Rachel Gilbert while Mark and his groomsmen wore suits by Joe Black the Tailor.

Erin found a winner with Gillian Pollard Flower Designs, who came highly recommended.  Gilliam did the styling for the whole wedding including ceremony and reception decorations. Erin handmade all the invitations and stationery for the wedding with supplies from Rock Paper Scissors store – right next to the KWH Melbourne store. When it came to capturing every moment of their day, Erin and Mark enlisted Dansk Photography who they found on  The couple were married by Celebrant Barbara Beames who Erin says was ‘ very fun, relaxed and personable’.

Erin describes the work of Twisted Sugar Cake Designs as fantastic and faultless – so it was a no brainer!  Twisted Sugar Cake Design also supplied the guest room gift bags or chocolate-peppermint truffles and bonbonnieres of shortbread cookies with each guests name printed on them – yum!

All images by Dansk Photography

Congratulations Erin & Mark

Karen xx

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

As Seen In...

Cosmo Bride – Spring 2011

Can you believe that the Spring issue of Cosmo Bride is out already?! Bring on the warmer weather I say.  This issue features the dress and accessories guide, helping you decipher and fall in love with that perfect dress.

I love the concept of the shoot (shown below)!  And even more so the lovely ladies at Cosmo Bride asked us if they could shoot in our Sydney store!!!  featuring the Gabriella and Lana gowns from the couture collection.  The Gabriella couture gown has a V-neck, long line bodice with full skirt with layers of circles to add fullness. The bodice has woven organza detail and the skirt has layers of organza with the colours graded from silk white to cream at the hem – it truly is our showstopper gown!

Karen Willis Holmes – Gabriella couture gown

Are you after a not so traditional gown, maybe a colour even?  Than the Lana couture gown in its stunning silver blue hue is perfect.  With a Dior style full gown, the bodice has centre front tulle embellishment, wrapped pleating detail and belt to cinch in the waist.

Karen Willis Holmes – Lana couture gown

Lyndel, one of our Melbourne girls has only recently started photography (anyone remember her stunning ‘Madelyn’ gown shot last Cosmo issue??)  This time she has photographed the ‘Dakota’ gown – a V-neck all over corded lace slim-line gown with georgette frill sleeves and waist tie.  Lyndel has mixed it up by styling the ‘Dakota’ gown with the full tulle 'Margot' circle skirt, for an ethereal ball gown look.

Karen Willis Holmes – Dakota gown (worn with Margot skirt over the top)

This issue also features the Satine gown, a strapless bias gown with tulle Satine coat with shoulder feather details and embellished belt, as well as the ‘Tracy’ gown, a ruffled collar gown, with bias skirt and diamante shoulder detail & tie belt in powerloom silk.

Karen Willis Holmes – Satine couture gown and coat

Karen Willis Holmes – Tracy

The ‘Roberta’ gown is also featured this issue – it’s ruched strapless corset bodice and bias skirt makes a bold statement with a 3 ruffle hem.  This silhouette gives any bride a gorgeous hourglass figure and the shoulder corsage added to the gown gives it a unique twist.  (p.s. I love the colour concept on this page – yellow brightens up the day!)

Look out for the Style Stars section as well.  Try the couture ‘Ava’ gown, a sleek sequin gown with boat-line neckline, low V back and wide shoulder detail if you are inspired by Kelly Osbourne’s look or why not try the ‘Caroline’ gown from the bridesmaid collection in Natural for a halter neck gown like Megan Gale.

(L-R) Ava couture gown and Caroline bridesmaid gown

The 'Sophia' gown looks so lovely and the ball gown silhouette is perfect for a classic princess look.  Team the look with the tulle shoulder collar and diamanté belt as shown.

Karen Willis Holmes - Sophia gown

Last but not least… are you planning on wearing a veil?  This two tier fingertip veil is perfect for finishing off your look.

Karen xx

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

As seen in...

New Idea

I was asked by New Idea to design what I think would be a great gown for Jennifer Hawkins’s upcoming wedding.  Jen has become a serious fashionista, since she was crowned Miss Universe in 2004, and we are expecting big things for her when it comes to what she will wear on her big day!

“The gown I have designed for her plays on the balance of sexy and demure by defining her waist, as well as featuring a v-neckline.  I love the delicate layering of lace and sheer fabrics, which I have played with on the sleeves and neckline.”  I have also finished off the gown with an embellished detail on the waist – what girl doesn’t love bling!

Karen xx

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gown Style...

Sheer gowns

Sheer elements on a gown or an accessory are so soft and feminine.  Sheer fabrics such as tulle, georgette or lace are elegant and sophisticated.  They play on the idea of cover up and yet revealing at the same time can create a demure look for your wedding day.  Sheer fabrics can also add an element of fun drama to your photos when the light fabrics catch the wind.

Sheer gowns offer a romantic and relaxed feel perfect for destination weddings from beach to countryside.

I love this Real Bride shot, and while it is her veil that is caught up in the wind, so beautifully the sheer and delicate detail of the gown is equally visible.

Karen Willis Holmes - Real Bride

The lace ‘Emily’ blouse is also another favourite of mine.  Highlighting the lace as the feature the high scoop neck and soft sleeves is teamed with a cinched in waist tie defining the figure.  Team it with a beige camisole and voluminous skirt like the ‘Margot’ tulle skirt as shown for a modern twist on the ball gown look.

The Karen Willis Holmes bride loves our corseted dresses, but just because it has all the support from boning and inner structure doesn’t mean it still can’t be whimsical and delicate.  The ‘Natalie’ gown shown below is a corseted bodice with bias strips of crinkle georgette draped on the bodice.  The skirt also features a crinkle georgette overlay softening the look.

Talk about fun and dramatic, I love this shoot of the ‘Angelica’ couture gown from our photoshoot collection.  The ability to see a gown’s movement, especially on a human form and not just a 2D image can alter or change your opinion of a gown.

Visit us in store to check out more of these gorgeous sheer gowns.

Karen xx

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stella & Minh's wedding....

Real Bride Stella sent me the link to her wedding highlight video and all I can say is WOW!  
This is the best video I have seen in a long time.

Congratulations Stella & Minh

Karen xx

Video by C2 Video

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lovers Bridge... Paris

Lover locks adorn the Pont de l'Archeveche across the Seine River.  On my recent trip to Paris I recently saw a bride and groom taking photographs on this bridge next to their lock.  Rumour has it the gesture is meant to symbolize eternal love and can be found on many different bridges around the world.  

Au Revoir, 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Paris Haute Couture - JULY 2011

The first day of Paris Haute Couture fashion week opened with Giambattista Valli – a beautiful beginning of the week and for a new label to be invited into the exclusive world of Haute Couture by the Chambre Syndicale de la Mode. A great honour indeed and after only six years of running the business under his own name, with no backers. Perhaps because his work is beautiful, wearable & shows understated timeless elegance – I have shown 3 ball gowns which would look heavenly at any wedding.

If you have read any of my inspiration features, you would know that Vintage Dior is one of my favourite and a regular reference point. Each season I have loved the work Galliano has created under the Dior label and sadly, it shows he is missing.
Although the work is technically as stunning as always, the spark is missing.

The love this season has been reserved for Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy   his work is absolutely stunning, the attention to detail and fragility of the semi-sheer gowns is sublime. The soft shades of neutrals, ivory and the softest beige. The embroidered work of  delicate flowers and petals overlapping in subtle shades and layers is perfect with the use of the feathers adding texture and a delicate finish to the gowns.
With wedding gowns this season the trends are for the full gown or the soft fitted shapes as shown by Givenchy, all perfect for the modern bride wishing for some urban romance
- However we do recommend a petticoat for your wedding day

This is one of my favorites of the whole week

I Love the Edwardian feel to this


I love Gaultier – he is a “corset designer” many of his designs use this as a strong reference point and one of my lifelong favourites – this season is no exception.
I love the models he uses and a mix of intriguing characters all mixed both male and female.
The clothes I have picked here are more a reference to pieces I would like to wear rather than for bridal – but you have to have a bit of window-shopping!
There is a fashion-directional trend this season for sheer fabrics which heavy embroidery and beading in designs to work around the body rather than flat lace designs. Again, a type of finish we use a lot at KAREN WILLIS HOLMES that I love for bridal and of course, why I have noticed it in the collections.

showing the sheer fabrics and heavy beading & embroidery

i just love this trench! not really very bridal!

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli for Valentino.
The beautiful gowns showing flattering silhouettes with a delicate polished look for a modern day women
Piccioli said  “It’s the grace of a woman we’ve been looking for,” and this is what they accomplished – feminine and innocently provocative.

The sheer gowns with detailed beading
Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel
I love this collection there is more detail and layering and the collection looks a little edgier than past collections Lagerfield used some contrasting silhouettes with pencil skirts and peplums, frills and paillettes. 
Featured in the contemporary romance of the fashion-directional sheer fabrics and delicate use of embroidery and the feathers we have begun to expect for this season

All in all a stunning week of beautiful  Haute Couture gowns and some fabulous contemporary bridal influences

all of these images are from the
website - have a look for more detailed coverage and some more of the collections

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A model ‘royal’ wedding!

The wedding party    -    

Kate Moss, the 37-year-old fashion rebel married The Kills front man Jamie Hince over the weekend in a three-day celebration resembling a mini-music festival dubbed Moss-stock. Kate Moss arrived at the church in a silver Rolls Royce, wearing a white lace veil embroidered with flowers.

The bride wore a Galliano vintage-inspired, slim-fitting, floor-length dress featuring a smattering of sequins and very elusive sheer panelling. Her hair was set in loose waves by Sam McKnight, and her minimal make-up completed by Charlotte Tilbury. And not to be outdone, Jamie wore a suit from Yves Saint Laurent's Stefano Pilati.

But more on the bride and the wedding dress!!! This bridal gown has really hit the spot at Karen Willis Holmes. Moss appeared ethereal and dainty, with a delicate and mischievous look, it was just perfectly her. And it could not be more opposite to the royal weddings we’ve had! It was an outstanding dress and pure Galliano - bias-cut, nostalgic and charming – an accolade to him.

And after the weekend festivities were over, Kate and Jamie jetted off in a helicopter from their Cotswolds home to their honeymoon which is thought to be either Thailand or North Africa.
Congrats to the happy couple!

Kate with her father  

Ready for the after party   -

Monday, July 4, 2011

Prince Albert II of Monaco Weds Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene with her proud father

Charlene Wittstock walked the red carpet to an altar at the royal palace wearing an elegant boat neck bridal gown by Giorgio Armani. The dress fit the former Olympic swimmer brilliantly and was followed by a 5m long heavily beaded and embroidered train.

The couples intimate civil wedding on Friday the 1st of July, was followed by an extravagant religious Catholic ceremony the next day, which saw Charlene officially transformed from commoner into royalty. The marriage of the 53-year-old prince and the 33-year-old Charlene Wittstock from South Africa who is now known as Princess Charlene, ended a three-decade wait for a new princess!

The religious wedding on Saturday attended by international celebrities and royalty, bringing new charm to the tiny territory known for its luxurious casinos and as a gathering for the crème de la crème. Saturday's ceremony was attended by guests including former James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, supermodel Naomi Campbell and bohemian designer Roberto Cavalli, of Italy.

Thousands of Monegasque citizens cheered the proceedings while watching on large screens set up outside the palace, where both ceremonies were held. The last wedding of a ruling prince in Monaco was in 1956, when Hollywood star Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III.

After dazzling the wedding guests in her bridal gown, Charlene changed into an Armani Prive cocktail dress for the official reception, having her hair pulled back into a swirling French twist, wearing understated and natural make-up. She exuberated elegance, grace and style…we thoroughly approve! 

In her elegant Armani bridal gown

Just married!
Lexus LS 600h

Reception dress by Armani Prive

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gown Styles - Lace Gowns

Gown Styles...
Lace gowns

Whether you are a traditional or modern bride lace can work for you on your big day!  Lace can evoke a feminine and delicate look – softening a silhouette and adding texture.  At Karen Willis Holmes we use a number of French Chantilly and Corded laces on our gowns and want to share with you.

Estelle as featured in Bride to Be Magazine

The ‘Estelle’ gown is a great mix of modern design and delicate lace – a bustier style gown with lace and ribbon top stitch work on the bodice and a half circle skirt made from layers of tulle, flowing into a train.

Karen Willis Holmes – Estelle bodice close up

Karen Willis Holmes – Dakota

The ‘Dakota’ gown one of our most popular designs – highlighted by a flattering v-neckline and all over corded lace that features a scalloped hem and train, this gown is a perfect balance of a youthful and demure look. The gown is accented with georgette ruffle sleeves and a georgette waist tie. The Dakota gown looks elegant with a full length single tier veil or simply add a brooch and the look is complete. 

Karen Willis Holmes – Dakota

While the Royal Wedding has been and gone we have noticed that brides are taking note of Kate’s royal look and turning to lace!  Why not try the Emily lace blouse over an A-line gown or tulle skirt for a traditionally look.
Emily blouse as featured in The Knot Magazine

Real Bride as featured in Wedding Style Guide

If you are after a lace gown experiment with different silhouettes and looks that feature this gorgeous feature – it may be a an accent like a lace cap sleeve or an all over lace gown may be the main focus of your look but remember keep the accessories to a minimum. An ivory ribbon look great with lace gowns when it is tied at the waist for a subtle definition.  A gorgeous pair of drop earrings and bracelet is all you will need.

Image by Dansk Photography

Lace is a delicate and unique feature that can add detail to your wedding gown and will create a timeless and elegant look.

Karen xx

Labels: , , , ,