Designing truly beautiful bridal gowns that reflect the personality of the bride is a gift that only a lucky few of us possess. Our guest today is Katie from Loui Col Designs a bridal gown designer based in Perth, Western Australia. Katie loves adventure (she has just walked the Kokoda track) and this comes across in her designs with their beading and lace and gorgeous embellishments – all a little different and all so feminine. How lucky Western Australian brides are to have her right in their midst! So let’s dream of sugar and spice and all things wedding gowns with Katie!
When did your dream of creating beautiful wedding gowns start?
My journey began almost 20 years ago! I was always interested in fashion design and dress making and completed 2 weeks work experience at Silk’n’Satin bridal shop in Subiaco. I was blessed with the opportunity to work with the amazing designer Marie Perry-Watson. Her back ground was in the theater, ballet and made to measure. She took me under her wing and I have never looked back.
Where did you do your training?
Along with working full time with Marie I went to College and completed my Diploma in Commercial Dressmaking and Pattern cutting, here in Perth.
Image by Amac & Wise
You spent some time in Florence, Italy honing your skills. What is it about the Italian way of designing that inspires you?
I love the feel of European design, Valentino at the time was one particular designer that stood out for me. Gorgeous, classic and elegant lines.
Around 2004 I had itchy feet and a desire to explore design and a different day to day lifestyle! So I planned, packed and move to Florence for 12months.
Getting into the bridal and fashion scene in Florence was a little more difficult than I had thought! (Surprise, Surprise) So instead I enjoyed soaking up all aspects to ‘living’ the Italian dream, until my creative fingers needed to do something..
With Florence famous for its leather work I decided to try my hand and started a course at the Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School). I ended up working with them making hand crafted leather goods under some wonderful ‘old’ school artisans. This was an extraordinary career experience and a year I will never forget.
Image by White Tulip Photography
When designing a gown for a bride, what inspires you towards a particular design?
My inspiration is driven by the person wearing the gown, their personality, style and how they aspire to look and feel both inside and out, on their special day. I’m also entranced and enchanted by the vast array of stunning materials available both nationally and internationally. Quite often I will start with a design and get excited about all the options that present as the dress comes to life.
I love reflecting on the history of design as it unveils the secrets of bygone eras, when women dressed beautifully from head to toe.
Your gowns all seem to have a standout feature – whether it is the fabric, beading or lace you’ve used. Is this a ‘signature’ of your design style?
I really love the unique creative process with each client, so I am not sure that I have ‘signature’ style. I love good quality! I endeavor to make gowns that evoke ‘a feel’ to them, rather than just a look. I am not as interested in following trends, I believe a classic look with highlight features for the individual is the key to a beautiful gown.
Image by Merge Photography
Your designs are all made on your premises in Perth. What are the advantages of this?
Having a bespoke gown made is a special treat, for a special day. I want my girls to enjoy the whole experience from start to finish. I aim to understand each bride individually and support a creative environment where we can explore beautiful designs, laces and materials, which involves the client through the whole process. My brides look forward to their visits as each new fitting brings their dress to life. Our studio is a wonderful space for the bride to either come by herself for her own personal experience or to share it with mums and friends. The time and space is all theirs.
Image by Merge Photography
Do you design accessories to accompany your dresses?
We do, as we get half way through our dress fittings we start looking at bridal accessories that include jewellery, veiling, headpieces and even the boys ties as our finishing touches.
We make all our veils and we hand create our lace headpieces to match our brides gown. Our beautiful silk flowers are made locally as is the elegant jewellery. I am very much about supporting the local talent we have in Perth.
There’s something about Perth……I love…..
I love the ease of living, I have lived in Perth city for about 12 years and I love being central with all my local connections.
Perth! Fabulous weather, great coffee, inspiring opportunities and most importantly my FAMILY & FRIENDS!
Image by Angela Higgins
A great honeymoon (or mini moon) location in WA is….
Our beaches are pretty sensational, you can’t go wrong anywhere along our coastline. The south west region also offers many popular and enjoyable wineries. Always a winner when honeymooning J
Thank you Katie for sharing your story with us today. To find out more about Loui Col Designs visit the website
Image of Katie courtesy of Katie Colgan