Each Lisa Gowing collection features her signature hand draped silks and couture construction embellished with exquisite French and Italian laces and embroidery. Always considering the bride’s body shape Lisa creates gowns that are timeless, yet modern and always so feminine, and can be paired with tulle skirt overlays and lace edged veils. Handmade in Australia, you will treasure your gown, not only on your wedding day, but also as a beautiful reminder of this most special of days.
What made you decide to specialize in bridal gown couture when you graduated from your design and Visual Arts studies?
I studied everything from Fashion Design, to fabric design, photography and art so I wanted a more creative avenue within the fashion industry and bridal couture provided the creativity and pursuit of excellence that I was striving for.
Where are you located?
As of 1st of July we are relocating our Showroom and Workroom to the one Studio Space at:
Suite 6/ 212 New South Head Rd, Edgecliff.
What inspires you in your designing?
I usually start designing my next collection as I am completing the current one. My design process is continuous which means that some of my best ideas come towards the end of the collection so there are always one or two gowns that don’t make it into the collection in time for the photo shoot and are on the racks weeks later. These designs usually fuel the style for the next collection. It is evolution of style. Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I can be inspired by a particular lace or fabrication and other times I sketch the design first based on something I have seen, a movie, street fashion, a flower, anything! And then I source the fabrication.
When designing a new collection how do you decide on the fabrics, laces and embellishments to use (there must be so many to choose from)?
I am always true to my own aesthetic which is highly feminine, fashionable but never trendy and always beautifully made. Whether it be form fitting or flowing the gown should be of the moment but still timeless, feminine and beautiful. I believe in style over fashion. I only use quality fabrics and lace imported form Europe. As the Australian dollar drops this becomes a more expensive process but I believe in keeping the quality of the garment where it has always sat in the industry, even when it is ready-to-wear.
Does the choice of fabric or lace inform a collection?
Always! Lace featured heavily in my first collection in 1997 and has shown in every collection since. LISA GOWING gowns are known and coveted for their beautiful lace. I see a lace that I must have and then I usually create at least two gowns from that lace. The lace will look completely different on each design depending on how I have used it. I always cut, place and pin the lace on the first sample myself, hand draping, molding, pinning until I get the design just right. Then my makers follow this sample for production.
Do you ever have embellishments or lace designed especially for a collection, or do you have contacts/sources who know what you love?
I have been working with my main suppliers for many years now and they do know what I like. They also make most of my laces exclusive to LISA GOWING so they cannot be found anywhere else. The way I handle the lace is also different to other design firms. Ours are not machined onto the bodices they are instead all hand sewn using age-old couture techniques that are not even taught in the Tafe and design schools in Australia today.
How much are brides able to customize a gown from your ready to wear collection?
Most of my ready-to-wear designs can have straps added or removed, capped sleeves added or removed and full or flowing skirts added instead of slimline or as an overlay to a slim skirt. Split sizing and ½ sizing is always available. Any gown is to be made especially for the bride and is not purchased brand new as it was originally designed, is called made-to-order.
When designing a made to order gown, what is the process? How long does this take from initial appointment to finished garment?
Our made-to-order gowns are actually the gowns that are created by making design changes or fit changes to the ready-to-wear collection.
How do the traditional couture techniques you use, enhance the fit of the gown?
All LISA GOWING designs have boned corsets with bra cups and wadding through the linings. The bodices are all 5-6 layers and the skirts are at least 3 layers. This makes the garment a gown in the true sense of the word and every bride who wears them can see and feel the structure and support and excellence of cut and fit.
Then on the outer layers the silks are hand draped or hand ruched, the lace hand molded and sewn and this provides the visual excellence and couture finish.
How do you guide a bride into making the right design choices for her figure?
Most brides are aware of the better choices for their figures and we can shown them which gowns in the collection will offer them the best opportunities to showcase their figure and personal style.
Are brides able to buy your gowns at overseas stockists/locations?
We are currently shipping gowns directly to international and interstate brides. They email us and after discussion, confirming their best style and size we then send their preferred style.
The LISA GOWING collection is now available interstate. As of 2016 we are securing a limited number of select high-end bridal retailers to stock the collection. (Editor’s note: See contact page for stockist details).
Are there any tips you can give a bride, when shopping for and choosing her Lisa Gowing gown?
Firstly, please be sure it is purchased from an actual LISA GOWING store or retailer to ensure it is an original.
Be open to trying on various styles and listen to the advice given by the sales experts as they will know what styles to show you to best suit your figure and your wedding. Please be sure to only bring 2 very important guests with you to your appointment as too many opinions can be confusing and keeping your chosen gown a secret is always a good idea.
Consider the co-ordinating accessories such as overskirts, veils and belts that were designed to be worn with the style.
Follow your instincts and choose the gown that is true to your personal style.
What accessories are you offering to brides?
We offer a full range of accessories at the LISA GOWING showroom that I design to complement each gown in every collection. These include overskirts, veils, headpieces, belts and waistbands, jewellery and cover -ups.
Are these able to be purchased online?
Yes, however most of our sales for accessories are to our LISA GOWING brides who purchase our gowns and then complete their ensemble with the co-ordinating accessories.
How do you create a work/life balance in this very demanding industry?
I mainly work from home to I can be with my two young sons as much as possible and I also do drop-off and pick-up for school and preschool most days and my husband does it the other days.
I choose to prioritise this work life balance and this is why I have chosen to stop exporting and travelling to New York to show my collections many years ago. I have chosen not to grow the company to include many retail stores and instead and am developing the local wholesale accounts instead.
Where do you like to go for a short break to re-charge your batteries?
My parents have a lovely home on the Brisbane water with their own boat ramp that we refer to as “the resort”. The boys love the ducks and feeding the fish. We can escape there at short notice as it’s under one hour’s drive.
We just returned from two weeks leave with my family. We spent the first week with my parents at Main Beach in Queensland as they have a holiday home there. Then for the second week we were at Noosa, always a favourite! We go every year. We are heading down to the South Coast in June for a few days and I am now planning our next break in September….
Thank you Lisa for sharing your story. This is the day to feel like a princess and wearing one of Lisa’s beautiful gowns is sure to bring that sparkle to your day. To find out more about LISA GOWING visit the website.