May 20, 2015 11:29
The majority of women grow up dreaming about their wedding day, more specifically their wedding dress.
Couture wedding gown designer, Lisa Gowing specialises in literally turning those dreams into reality by creating the most beautiful dresses for us to walk down the aisle in.
She’s been designing gowns for over 20 years, playing one of the most important roles in the wedding days of thousands of couples.
We caught up with Lisa to chat about weddings, her newest collection and the gown that she designed for her own wedding.
Missy Confidential: Lisa, you've had a long career in fashion design but you've always focused on bridal design. What drew you to this area?
Lisa Gowing: I always knew I wanted to create dresses, but more importantly gowns!
Shortly after graduating Design School I was offered a role as an in-house designer at a bridal couture salon in The Strand Arcade in Sydney. Bridal was the perfect opportunity to work with the best possible imported fabrics, laces and trims, whilst learning couture design techniques - that was over 20 years ago.
I started my own label in 1997 first only offering Couture gowns but now offering Made-to-Order and Ready-to-Wear collections and accompanying accessories.
MC: How would you define the Lisa Gowing label - What makes it special and is there a trend that all your collections follow?
LG: The Lisa Gowing bridal collection offers brides an opportunity to purchase a beautiful fashion forward design at a more affordable price point than couture. My collections always feature European laces, usually French with hand detailing and a vintage feminine aesthetic. Every design will always have some form of detailing; in the form of French lace appliqué, jewelled embellishment or hand draped silks. The designs are made in very limited numbers using true couture techniques and imported silks, European laces and jewelled trims. Ready-to-wear prices start at $2790 and made-to-order start at $3790.
MC: How many collections have you had and on average, how many women wear your gowns each year?
LG: I design a new collection every year and keep at least three collections available at any time. We have 50 designs to choose from at present in our showroom. My gowns are quite classic in their aesthetic so they do not date and become timeless heirloom pieces. We dress 200 brides every year from the Lisa Gowing Sydney showroom and in addition, we sell gowns through the David Jones Bridal Suite.
MC: What kind of woman is a Lisa Gowing woman?
LG: A Lisa Gowing bride is a bride who appreciates design, quality and fit. She is a bride who wants to look fashion forward but not too “on trend”. She chooses to wear a timeless, heirloom gown that is feminine, vintage inspired and beautiful. She appreciates quality but not flash, service but not fuss and most of all beauty in design.
MC: Tell us a little bit about your newest collection, Ballet Beautiful.
LG: Ballet Beautiful was inspired by the ballet, the tulle and the romance of dance. This collection is mainly matte and soft; featuring silk failles, layered tulles and French Chantilly and corded laces. The details are in the handwork; hand appliquéd lace, hand ruched tulle bodices and Chantilly lace hand placed on skirts, with scalloped lace hems and capped lace sleeves.
MC: Your gowns are absolutely beautiful. Where do you get your inspiration from?
LG: Thank you! I am constantly inspired by all I see and do; old and new feature films, the fashion on the street, a flower, a pattern on an old tile, an opulent fabric or lace - any form of beauty.
MC: When you married in 2007, did you design your own gown and if so, what was it like and how on earth did you decide what you wanted (you must have had so many ideas in your head!!)?
LG: When I married I did wear a couture design that was created just for me. I was on holidays in Bellagio when my husband proposed, we travelled through Italy for 4 weeks and I was inspired by all I saw and able to start planning the wedding and gown in my mind, then on paper. When it came to my own gown I actually only did one sketch and that is what I wore!
My gown was silk-white silk faille with a scoop neckline, low back and slimline bias cut skirt and sweeping train. It featured hand placed and appliquéd French cotton rose lace dripping down from the bodice to the hem, which was double layered with a scalloped lace lining. I also wore a matching lace edged mantilla veil.
I had worn every gown in the collection, as I was the fit model for many years, so I had a good idea of what suited me best and what would suit my wedding, the venue and the styling.
MC: Do you have any advice for women who are shopping for a bridal gown?
LG: Do your research and make appointments - most brides are now looking online, on blogs, designers’ websites and Pinterest. Saturdays can book out 3 or 4 weeks in advance so keep this in mind. Finally, allow your bridal consultant to offer you some other silhouettes and ideas that you might have not considered.
MC: Having been in the bridal industry for so many years, you must have been around hundreds of brides. From your experience, what are your top 3 tips for women planning their weddings?
1. It’s much easier to come alone or bring only 1 or 2 trusted friends or relatives. We often see brides overwhelmed and confused by attendants who have their own idea of what the bride should be wearing, which often differs greatly from what the bride herself has envisaged.
2. Do not continue to shop until 3 months before the wedding! When you find a gown you love, buy it or you could miss out.
3. On the Big Day walk away somewhere quiet and alone with your new husband and spend some time enjoying the special moment. My husband and I did this and we know our wedding did not pass us by in a whirlwind.
All photos from Lisa Gowing's recent Vow Renewal in March 2015, where she wore two of her own designs. Blumenthal Photography, Simmone Logue Catering, Doblo Flowers, Chrisato Ari hair and makeup