To design the perfect wedding gown that reflects the bride’s personality and dreams, is truly a rare talent. There is nothing like the feeling of putting on the gown that is probably the most beautiful dress you will ever wear, on the day of the wedding. Louise of Louise Alvarez Couture understands this and puts her heart into choosing the fabrics, laces and beading and designing the gown, so that you will shine as you walk down the aisle. It is the culmination of much planning and dreaming – so feel your beautiful best!
What inspired you to become a wedding gown designer?
I always had a love for creating as a child and fashion has always captivated me, so it was a natural path to take. Wedding gowns allow me to create an artwork which is not only my expression, each one captures the bride who wears it. I love being able to take what a woman loves, turn it into a gown which gives confidence and joy to the wearer. It’s so lovely to be involved in such a personal way with each client on such a special day of their lives.
Where is your studio situated?
My studio has been located in the lovely leafy suburb of Roseville (27 Hill St Roseville, 2076) for 23 years.
What inspires you about the Australian wedding industry?
The Australian wedding industry is full of so many talented and innovative professionals, I love that we’re not afraid to run with new ideas and embrace the traditions that make weddings beautiful and meaningful.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Classically, elegant with a modern fashion forward twist!
My passion is for beautiful fabrics and laces cut and styled with true couture techniques, folds of divine silks finished with hand beading – the key note for me though is knowing when to stop…..sometimes it’s the most simple of designs which is the most amazing!
How many collections do you design a year?
I don’t limit myself to rules of numbers or deadlines for my collections…. I’m always working on a new design concept. Generally, we create two collections each year.
What is the starting point of the idea for the collection? What inspires and influences you when designing a collection?
Sometimes it’s a stunning fabric which speaks to me, other times I’m inspired by architecture, art, nature, different cultures. I’ve always loved fashion history and particularly love old movies and period pieces.
Do you travel far and wide to find your laces and fabrics? What influences your choices?
I love traveling, a lot of my gorgeous fabrics and laces are imported from France, Italy, Spain and the Orient.
I follow my intuition….generally if I love it, my clients will too.
The fabrics in your gowns are very different, giving each of your gowns individuality. From florals, to heavy lace, to sparkles and point d’esprit – do these fabrics catch your eye, and then you design a dress around the fabric?
Yes, usually the fabric speaks to me, although sometimes I search high and low for just the right piece to bring a new design to life.
What is involved in buying a Louise Alvarez gown from your collection?
An initial consultation usually involves trying on lots of styles and discussing what would best suit a client’s figure, style and budget.
Sometimes girls love a gown exactly as it is, quite often though we combine different shapes, fabrics and colours to create the perfect design for each person. I love designing something special which is a one off bespoke piece.
All of my couture gowns are made to measure to the exact proportions and fit of each client. Whether it’s a gown from my collection or a one off design there are at least 4 to 5 fittings involved before the final pick up and check of the finished creation.
The first fitting is a toile which is a mockup of the design shape to come, each time a client comes the gown evolves, by final fitting we do a final marking of the loops and buttons for a perfect fit on the big day. Most brides pick up their gown around one week prior to the wedding.
We also have a small range of ready to wear pieces, these have quite a relaxed feel and require only one fitting and a pick up appointment.
Is a bride able to customize a gown – for example adding sleeves?
Yes, as we cut each gown and fit it to the body we can adapt a design to make it perfect for each woman. This means you don’t have to settle for something that’s not quite perfect like with off the rack styles.
Do you have some tips for the bride to be when choosing her wedding gown?
Keep it classic, be true to your style! It’s great to add a touch of the latest trend, although at the end of the day when you look back at your photos (usually front and center in your living room) it’s nice to think you’ll always love what you chose.
Do you offer couture gowns for the bride wanting a custom designed gown?
Yes, I just love creating custom designs, all of our gowns end up customized in any case in one form or another, it’s really satisfying to take a bride from the sketch on paper through to the realization of her couture gown. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, I’m so lucky to come to work and do something I love so much. I have such a fantastic team around me and I know I am truly blessed.
What are the elements you consider when designing a custom gown?
Not only should a bride feel like she has the most beautiful gown of her life on when she slips into her wedding dress, she needs to feel confident and relaxed so she can enjoy her wedding day.
My main aim is to enhance a woman’s features and show them off to the full potential whilst at the same time creating the most flattering and figure enhancing shape possible.
The key thing a really good designer does would be to see things through the eyes of the bride’s likes and dislikes and tie in what she will love with what works best for her style figure and budget. The setting and feel of the wedding are crucial to creating the right design.
I always ask lots of questions and really get to know what is going to work best as I’m coming up with design concepts.
Colour is hugely important, the right colouring for your gown will suit you with no makeup or spray tan, I’m a strong believer in warm and cool skin tones, the right colour will make you feel good even when you’re feeling tired.
You have an online store with gorgeous bridal accessories, such as earrings, shoes, bracelets and haircombs. Do you choose these specifically with your gowns in mind?
Yes, we have beautiful pieces in our online boutique which can complete the total look. I’m a less is more type of girl, a fabulous pair of earrings always adds the perfect finishing touch, sometimes an art deco style hair clip or a bracelet works that final piece of magic.
Sydney is my home town because …
I love Sydney, you can go from the city to the bush to the beach all within an hour. I’m a water girl…. some of my most inspiring moments happen when I’m near the ocean, the salt air and crashing waves make me feel alive.
How does your team celebrate the end of the working week?
I am blessed with an absolutely amazing talented team, we work so hard with the sole aim always being to bring happiness and beauty! We work all kinds of crazy hours so we don’t celebrate each week end (although Saturday afternoon there’s always lots of music and laughs going down). We do make sure we have regular girl’s nights out to dinner and there’s always a special Christmas celebration at the end of each year!
Thank you Louise for sharing your story. Such beautiful gowns to choose from – all so different and sure to delight you with their exquisite style. To find out more about Louise Alvarez Couture visit the website.