As an experienced fashion designer, pattern cutter and seamstress, Isabel Reid’s friends often asked her to create gowns for their bridal parties. They found the market limited in styles that were modern, suitable for a range of shapes and sizes and on-trend.
“It became a busy side project for me while working in the fashion industry in London,” says Isabel. “I really enjoyed working with brides and bridesmaids to create gowns for their weddings in the UK, New Zealand, and some exotic destinations in between.
“After moving back to New Zealand last year starting Gown and Altar seemed the next logical step to take.”
New Zealand Weddings caught up with Isabel to get to know her business:
What is Gown & Altar’s specialty?
We have a brand new bridesmaid/occasion dress collection and we custom-make bridal gowns.
I offer a personal experience; meeting with or having a conversation with my clients whenever it is possible. I like to discuss their needs, particular requirements, measurements and let them touch and feel fabrics to ensure they take away a gown they love and fits well. Because the bridesmaid collection is made to order any adjustments and customising can be accommodated.
I love to work with natural fabrics and have built a great library of gorgeous sheer silks with embroidery or delicate beading for future brides.
What are modern bridal and bridesmaid trends right now?
Satin is making a comeback for bridesmaids but in more fluid shapes, like the slip and gowns with a bias cut.
Soft floral prints and ruffle details are also very on trend right now as are midi length and asymmetric hemlines.
For Brides, antique style lace in sleek shapes that flare at the hem with or without a train; high and Bardot (shoulder-to-shoulder) necklines, low backs and sleeves of any length.
Dresses with voluminous yet light sheer layers from the waist that create drama with movement.
How does the creative and fitting process for custom bridal gowns work?
Whether you have a clear vision of what you want or are looking to draw inspiration from a number of ideas we can work together to design your perfect dress. We will also guide you through the fabric selection process, you can choose to use our fabrics or source the fabric yourself.
Custom wedding gowns usually require three to four fittings including the initial consultation. First, we will meet to discuss the design, fabric choice and take measurements. The following appointment will be to fit the toile – a mock-up of your dress to check the fit and general look.
Final fittings will be for trying on the actual gown to make any final adjustments to the fit and hem. Generally, the turnaround time is three to six months.
How has the style of the bridal party’s look changed over the years?
There is definitely more of a trend now than ever for brides to get creative and mix-n-match their bridesmaids looks. Brides are choosing a coordinating colour theme or style to tie the look together and leaving their gal pals to choose something that suits their individual style so they feel fabulous at the altar too.