Weddings are some of the most important events in many people’s lives. Weddings come in all shapes and sizes - some are held on a large scale with months and years of planning involved, whilst others are planned swiftly and conducted privately. There are as many different styles of wedding as there are couples married each year. For the more traditional weddings though, perhaps we could argue that there are a handful of factors which are important – such as The Popping of the Question, the engagement ring and wedding rings, the wedding cake(?), the Honeymoon and of course the wedding gown or wedding dress. For most weddings big and small will have these elements in common, albeit in much variation.
Wedding dresses have a particular fascination for brides to be, and for many this can be the most important aspect and point of focus for them, when it comes to planning their big day.
Diamond Exchange takes a closer look at wedding dresses and the 25 Wedding Dress Designers You Need to Know…
In earlier times, weddings were more like an agreement and an allegiance between families and could involve important strategic alliances around money, property and territory. This still occurs today with some nuptials of course. So historically, wedding dresses were supposed to present the bride and her family in the best light possible – to demonstrate their social status and wealth. Wedding dresses were not usually purchased; brides simply wore the best dress they owned. Colour did not matter, in fact wearing white is a relatively modern concept (and although pertinent in the Western World, not so in other cultures – in Asia the traditional colour for brides to wear is red). Black used to be a common colour, as many a young lady’s best dress was a black number. In Europe, blue was a popular colour – also was a favoured fabric colourway with fine threads – and furthermore represented purity, piety and a connection to the Virgin Mary. Some colours were avoided, for instance green, which in the old days had connotations of bad luck. Dark colours were good too because they were forgiving of grubby marks and could be washed and worn again.
There are examples of brides wearing white going back to the late middle ages, however it was England’s Queen Victoria whose wedding to her cousin Prince Albert in 1840 is considered the turning point and the inspiration for modern brides to wear white. Brides who wanted to dazzle and also parade their affluence and rank would from the Victorian era onwards wear gowns created from exorbitant amounts of fabric. White was a difficult colour to purchase and maintain, thus augmenting its status and emblematic appeal.
Jump forward to today, there are thousands of styles, colours and fabrics brides can choose from. Sometimes gowns are passed down in families. Sometimes a lovely dress can be chosen from the rack or made to order at a bridal boutique. In recent decades though, we have witnessed the rise of the Wedding Dress Designer. Some of these designers have attained rock star status within the industry and they command huge fees for their work. Whilst some design wedding dresses alongside other creations for their fashion labels, others focus solely of wedding gowns. Consultations can be expensive and ongoing for months or even years. The gowns may be designed to complement diamond engagement rings or other jewellery. Designs might include symbolism or other elements which are significant to the family. Fabrics used may be extremely hard to find and precious. Many of these amazing creations will only be worn once. Some are actually sewn together with the bride wearing them, and she has to be cut out of the dress after the ceremony!
25 Wedding Dress Designers You Need to Know:
Known for their sleek, streamlined, more minimalist yet very feminine creations – Delila Fox is available at selected boutiques around Australia and also stocked at some overseas outlets. delilafox.com
Grace Loves Lace
Very popular in Australia and now in the United States as well, Grace Loves Lace has been a big hit with the many brides looking for the ‘Boho’ styling. All designs are handmade in Australia, stocked at their flagship store here and now in a US Showroom. graceloveslace.com.au
Love Found True
Love Found True provides an alternative way to purchase which is far simpler. Their dresses are beautiful and can be customised to traditional or contemporary looks and are available in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. lovefoundtrue.com
Georgia Young Couture
For the more cutting-edge designs, created with passion, Georgia Young Couture is a young, fresh look. georgiayoungcouture.com
Suzanne is a Melbourne fashion icon. She has been at the forefront of wedding dress and red-carpet design for nearly half a century. Available in Australia and selected USA Stores. suzanneharward.com
Anna Campbell gowns have the luxe look, soft lines, feminine and gorgeous. Available worldwide. annacampbell.com.au
Unique custom gowns, made in Melbourne, Nevenka sources special fabrics from France, Italy, Croatia, Turkey and The Balkans. Incredible attention to detail and known for stunning silk and lacework, Nevenka stocked at their Melbourne showroom and can also be purchased online with complimentary worldwide shipping. nevenka.com.au
Chosen by One Day
Sold from their South Melbourne One Day Boutique and One Day online store, Chosen by One Day present bold, stunning creations. Also available at select stores internationally. chosenbyoneday.com.au
OUI The Label
Pushing the Boundaries with totally unique, unusual statement pieces. OUI The Label breaks the rules and can be found in selected boutiques in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Europe. ouithelabel.com
Bo and Luca
Bo and Luca are Sydney designers for brides who really want their gown to tell a story. Available worldwide. boandluca.com
Match Made Bridal
Dreamy, beautiful, romantic dresses. Purchase online or at selected boutiques in Australia, USA, Canada and the UK. matchmadebridal.com
Gracefully combining traditional techniques with contemporary lines, their gowns have character and can be found at boutiques in Victoria and Queensland. lucidibella.com.au
Karen Willis Holmes
Karen Willis Holmes is an iconic Aussie designer with a big following for over 20 years. Her classic gowns are available at bridal boutiques internationally. karenwillisholmes.com
Steven Khalil is a leading figure in the industry, specialising in incredible wedding dresses and red-carpet creations. Their flagship showroom is in Sydney. stevenkhalil.com
Silvana Tedesco’s studio in Victoria creates unforgettable wedding dresses which are alluring and elegant. silvanatedesco.com.au
Made to Measure and labels – Adore, White Label, Couture Label - Jane Hill is based in Prahran and her contemporary and classic gowns are available around the world. janehill.com.au
Mariana’s creations are eternally stylish, simple, beautiful and available through their network of stockist internationally. marianahardwick.com.au
Moira Hughes Couture
Based in Sydney, Moira Hughes is a pre-eminent maker of dazzling wedding dresses. moirahughes.com.au
With decades of experience and highly respected in design circles worldwide, Pallas Couture brings breathtaking designs and conducts private design appointments for wedding dress creations at locations internationally. pallascouture.com
Bespoke wedding dresses from Melbourne. Specialising in the delicious vintage look. gwendolynne.com.au
Zavana wedding dresses are modern and sexy. They focus on luxury and attention to detail. Available worldwide. zavanabridal.com
Cathleen has received a lot of attention for her exquisite wedding dresses which celebrate a fusion of old and new with a fabulous, fresh originality. cathleenjia.com.au
Lola Varma is based in Perth and designs game changing, cutting edge wedding dresses. lolavarma.com
Available at their online store, Rachel Gilbert designs modern, simple gowns which are affordable and beautifully crafted. rachelgilbert.com
Wendy Makin’s bespoke wedding dresses are graceful and delightful. Wendy has been in the busines for over 30 years. wendymakin.com
There are many more fantastic wedding dress designers in the suburbs and towns around Australia. Designing and creating a wedding dress can be a drawn out and highly personal experience, with brides to be and boutiques often forming close relationships and friendships. The best dresses are those which express the wearer’s personality and tell their story in a uniquely stylish and beautiful way on that most special of days.
By Nick Resch