And hello again lovely ones and how are you on this fine day? I hope you’ve got a spring in your step and a smile on your face and if not, this feature is going to perk you right up. Today, it’s a HUGE delight to have the incomparable Karen Willis Holmes here with us on Festival Brides. I have all the heart eyes for Karen’s new wedding dress collections (pics in this feature – oh hello!) so it’s a right old treat to have the super talented designer behind the label with us today. Don’t forget that you can also find Karen Willis Holmes in our festival wedding directory.

But now, let’s hear from Karen herself…

Tell us a little about the Karen Willis Holmes brand…

The KAREN WILLIS HOLMES brand is an Australian based brand designing wedding dresses for brides internationally. A lot of what we do is still done in house in our Sydney based workroom and I really love that our brand can uphold such a strong connection to workmanship and quality in all our dresses.

What made you decide to start Karen Willis Holmes?

I worked for myself and another company while I was in Perth before moving to London. I stayed in London for a couple of years and worked for companies specializing in evening and special occasion day wear. When I moved back to Perth I started a store designing evening wear. During this time I started to get people asking me to make wedding gowns for them. When the lease finished on my store at the time I had to make a decision about which direction I was going to take. My husband recommended I specialized in wedding gowns. I don’t know why I could not work this out myself and it took Geoff to suggest it for me – designing wedding gowns is perfect for me, I love the quality, the fabrics, corsets, trains…..

Tell us a little bit more about your current collection…

I am in love with my new collection. I have designed some really simple wedding dresses in this amazing stretch fabric that just hugs the body. This is something a bit different to what I traditionally design but I think these are very on trend and perfect for the bride who doesn’t want to wear lace or embellishments. The new KWH by KAREN WILLIS HOLMES Collection is also going into stores this month and my faviourties are the two long sleeve beautifully hand beaded and embellished dresses which I am really excited about as well.

Is there a signature Karen Willis Holmes look?

I believe my style is very feminine and focuses a lot on silhouette. I draw inspiration from fashion archives especially the corset structures of gowns – the detail work of the interior structure of a gown which, from the outside is unnoticeable, but internally there are so many components which create a great shape. I am also inspired by the fabrication and embellishments I work with – beautiful laces, embroidered and beaded pieces, and I believe this shows through as my ‘signature style’ as well.

I like to think my work is understated and this allows my brides to tailor and style their gown with different pieces and accessories to achieve a unique look for their wedding day.

What makes Karen Willis Holmes dresses different?

Two things, the fit and the quality. My background is pattern making so making sure a design works on a lot of different body shapes is really important to me. For quality, this is the most precious piece of clothing a bride will purchase so we strive for quality in the fabrics, construction and customer experience we provide.

What’s the design process? Where do the ideas come from?

The design process is influenced by inspiration I find online (Pinterest is such a great tool to collect ideas together!) and also knowledge and feedback from my staff that they are receiving from brides regarding the current collection – what is working, what isn’t, what are brides loving and what are they asking for. I then put everything together and just start sketching any ideas I have. I will then edit the designs and refine them before sending the sketches to our workroom for the girls to start working on the toiles. We usually go through several versions of the design, tweaking the design and fit before we put the final design into production to create samples to take to market and store samples for our boutiques.

KWH by Karen Willis Holmes

If our readers were to order a Karen Willis Holmes dress for their wedding, what can they expect?

Regardless of what collection you are buying from you should also expect to have an amazing experience with us while you find your dress and in the fittings. With our ability to mix and match designs to create a wedding dress which is unique to you, KAREN WILLIS HOLMES brides can also expect a beautifully hand crafted gown. You can find your nearest stockist STOCKIST LIST here.

How do you know if a Karen Willis Holmes dress is right for your wedding?

I believe, regardless of the designer, you will know it is the right dress because you will that that ‘ah ha’ moment, or you won’t be able to stop thinking about the dress and visualising yourself in the dress – that’s when you know you have found the right dress for your wedding.

KWH by Karen Willis Holmes

What’s your best piece of advice for brides who’re trying to choose their wedding gown?

There are a few main things a bride needs to consider when it comes time to shop for her wedding dress. These include time – have you set a wedding date? And how much time do you have as a result. Most stores require a booking lead time of 6 months or more. Another key point to consider is how much you want to spend on your gown. Keep this in your thoughts as you start the gown search so that you are only focused on gowns you realistically want to pay for – no one wants to have their hopes and dreams dashed by too many zeros on the price tag.

KWH by Karen Willis Holmes

If you had a chance to go to any music festival, which one would it be?

It might not be a ‘proper’ festival but I would love to see Queen with Adam Lambert live again.

Finally, what’s your life quote/motto?

Trust your own judgement, the hard work is worth it.

KWH by Karen Willis Holmes

A huge Festival Brides thank you to Karen and, if you’d like to find out more about wedding dresses by Karen Willis Holmes then you know what to do – click on over to the website or check out her listing in our festival wedding directory.


Wedding beauty on its way!

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