Monday, 30 January 2012

Designing Kate's Wedding Dress

I felt mixed emotions when my friend Kate asked me to design her wedding dress. I felt honoured, excited and even a little anxious. Sure, I had designed my own wedding dress but it was the first time I'd designed one for another person, let alone a friend. Designing a wedding dress is a lot different to designing a collection. I see it as selecting every perfect piece of clothing from the persons wardrobe that they love and feel good in and including it in their wedding dress. Now it wasn't going to be difficult for Kate to look incredible as she is an absolute beauty and would look good in a paper bag. It actually made my job a lot easier.
In this post I will share the entire process involved in designing Kate's wedding dress. 
  The wedding was taking place in  Byron Bay which meant the dress had to be appropriate for a beach wedding and Kate didn't want to look too formal. Kate initially came to me with three dresses that she loved; Kate Hudson's famous yellow dress from the movie 'How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days,'  Rebecca Twigley (now Judd) in her  J'Aton wedding dress and finally Mila Kunis wearing the incredible lavender  Elie Saab dress from the Oscars. Each of the three dresses are so different however small elements from each were used to help finalise Kate's dress design. The simplicity and elegant low back line from Kate Hudson's dress, The french lace trimming with soft draping and neckline in Mila's Elie Saab dress and the elaborate, detailed lace on Rebecca Twigley's wedding dress. 
 I always believe before you get a wedding dress made it's essential to go and try wedding dresses on. You may have always dreamt of wearing that simple elegant strapless empire line dress on your wedding day but then find that the shape is not right for you. Kate tried on some dresses at Collette Dinnigan and found a shape that worked well on her as well as the fabric that she liked. She found she loved soft flowing silk.  Then I asked Kate to try on my wedding dress (which of course finished at her knees due to the slight height difference..ha ha!) My dress was made with hand beaded french lace on the bodice and this inspired Kate to consider the idea of using beaded lace.

Below are some initial sketches. Here I experimented with shapes and details. Without the final selection of fabric it was a little challenging to make a final sketch because I find as a designer, fabric often inspires my designs.


Kate did some fabric shopping in Sydney where she is based and I did some in Melbourne. She really wanted an Art Deco themed lace and not floral. That became quite a challenge as there were few laces without floral details. 

After many MMS and emails Kate fell in love with this incredible Art Deco style French Chantilly Lace shown below.

 Once the fabric was in my hand I had some fun draping on my mannequin. This made me realise that the fabric was so beautiful it really needed to stand on its own and just rest on the body and shine.   Below are some photos of draping throughout the design process.

After draping I was able to come up with this sketch which took on the base shape of the final design:

I had suggested the idea of putting a brooch on the back to help finish off the dress but nothing really stood out  to us until the actual wedding day.  Dustin and I were having breakfast the morning of the wedding and the cafe happened to be next to Mimco where I discovered this beautiful white brooch in the shape of a rose.  It was the perfect finishing touch to the dress. It looked like a match made in heaven when we put it on the dress. You wouldn't have guessed it was bought a couple of hours before the wedding. 

 After working closely with my amazing dress maker we finished the dress and Kate looked absolutely incredible.

Here's the final piece!

Thank you so much Kate for inviting me to share your special day. I had so much fun working with you.
Kate's wedding was absolutely perfect. I had the most incredible time. I will never forget this experience.

Kate used amazing photographers on the day.
 Andrew McIntosh (Ocean Photography) and Dean Mansbridge. 
Check out their websites below:


  1. Beautiful dress Giv, you are so talented!

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