Strap yourself in, because we’re about to reveal some of the best kept designer secrets to creating a World class couture masterpiece! With designer gowns and bespoke pieces costing well and truly over the average bride’s budget, it’s no wonder why this is a common concern for most brides. Whether you’re after an extravagant ball-gown, a simplistic modern-day frock or a beautifully hand-embellished gown, we understand the challenges of finding the perfect balance between good craftsmanship and a reasonably affordable price-tag. Quite often brides will have to pick between a poor quality wedding dress or breaking the bank for that gorgeous couture piece. With some bridal labels charging well into the 5-digit ballpark, it’s not surprising that finding your dream gown can be a lot harder than initially anticipated. As more brides turn to the custom-made process to bring their unique visions to life, a common question we often get asked is- “can you create a World class couture gown on my budget?” With many years of experience and knowledge within design, pattern-make and construction, our talented team of designers are all well-equipped to be able to assist you in making this million-dollar question a reality. With years and years of extensive research, trialling and experimenting, we’ve discovered some exciting and wonderful tips and tricks to help you re-create some of the Worlds most admired couture gowns. Without further-ado, it’s time to reveal our top World class secrets!
Designer: Mistrelli (Melody gown)
1. LAYERING LACES
Layering laces is the process of selecting two or more laces and incorporating them both into your custom gown. Most world class couture gowns aren’t just constructed with one lace; in fact, it’s very common that a bespoke bridal gown will consist of multiple laces that are intertwined to create a truly beautiful and unique design. But layering laces can be a daunting and risky process, especially if you don’t select the correct laces for your dress silhouette and body shape. Another common concern is ensuring that you find and select two laces that don’t clash together. Most world class bridal designers who use this method, will select two contrasting laces such as a delicate French Chantilly and a heavily beaded or 3d floral lace. Whilst you might initially think this is contradictive, it’s important to allow the laces to individually shine by opting for two different types of laces. The fine and intricate Chantilly lace is often utilised as the base all over the gown. The heavily beaded or 3d floral lace is quite often cut-out and appliqued in certain sections of the gown, depending on the design and the bride’s preference. It’s a great way to add more detail and overall interest to the dress. For brides who love the look of a heavily beaded gown, but not a fan of the hefty price-tag, then this is a fantastic method to create the same intricate and extravagant look.
Designer: Lee Petra Grebenau (Alexis gown from the Enchanted Blossom Collection)
2. OPT FOR EMBROIDERED LACES
From the intricate detailing, to the subtle floral design, it’s no surprise that most brides will fall head over heels for a beautiful lace embellished gown. Whilst re-creating such a masterpiece is definitely possible, it can still quite often than not, come over the average bride’s budget. So, how is it possible to turn this dream dress into a reality? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Over the past few seasons, embroidered laces have dominated the market. With their intricate design and subtle texture, this stunning lace can achieve a very similar look to some of the World’s top designers. In fact, as embroidered laces begin to dominate the bridal market, we can even start seeing some of our favourite bridal gowns and designer labels utilising this gorgeous option. An embroidered lace is simply a lace that is woven from a fine thread on a mesh tulle base. For a custom design, it is often achieved by hand, but as technology advances, majority of embroidered laces will be created from a mechanical machine. The beauty of an embroidered lace is that the design itself is raised slightly above the mesh base (meaning that the detail is not flat). This allows the design to stand out beautifully on your gown without being bulky and thick. Embroidered tulles are also some of the most affordable laces, allowing brides to create their dream couture dress without having to worry about breaking the bank.
Designer: Zuhair Murad (2020 Spring Collection)
3. DON’T LINE THE TRAIN
What’s better than creating a world class gown completely custom for you?… creating a world class gown that can leave you with spare pennies in your pocket! Yes, that’s right! One of our favourite trends at the moment would have to be the un-lined train. The train is the beautiful skirt feature at the back of a bridal gown that extends beyond the ground. Quite often lace gowns will showcase a fully lined trained, hiding the detail and true beauty of the lace. To add a real World class touch to your custom dress, consider not lining your train at all. When you don’t line your train, it means you require less fabrics which can ultimately save you hundreds of dollars (and in some cases a lot more). Along with this, a non-lined train, really allows your beautiful lace to shine, creating a stunning statement feature that will look incredibly gorgeous in photos. For brides who would prefer to line their train then we have a great tip for you- the half-lined train (as seen in the picture) is a great way to reduce fabric costs. Another alternative is to feature your lace in panels along the skirt and train of your dress. It’s a great way to add a modern-day wow factor to your bridal gown and to save a little extra cash.
Designer: Badgley Mischka
4. BRAIDED, PIPED AND BEADED TRIMS
Designing a gown from scratch is a super fun and exciting process. But it is quite common for brides to get all caught up in the shimmery laces and extravagant embellishments and often forget about the smaller details such as trims, finishing edges and straps. If you’re really wanting to re-create a World class gown then look no further. The perfect way to take your bridal look that one extra step is by opting for a gorgeous trimming. Whether it’s a subtle plain braided piping to finish off your neckline, or a sparkly crystal encrusted strap to drape over your shoulders, these stunning tips will not disappoint you. Whilst they may seem small and minor, these finishing’s are all an incredibly affordable way to incorporate a touch of sparkle and couture to any bridal gown, no matter what your budget is. The beauty of trims, is that you can utilise them in various ways to completely change the whole look of your gown. To add a real wow factor and statement feature, consider draping pearl strands from your shoulders, right along your back. You can also use flat beaded trims to outline the external boning and corsetry on your bodice to achieve a really glamorous and regal look.
Designer: Gali Karten (Paris Collection)
5. SELECT ALTERNATE FABRICS
Have you ever tried on a gown and felt that itchy, stiff netting underneath or seen the plastic shinny finish? These gowns are often mass-produced with nasty synthetics that can cause irritation, get all static, cling to the body and stretch and manipulate with wear. When selecting materials to create a bespoke masterpiece, it is always best to work with natural fibers as they will not only feel nicer against your body but will also capture much better on camera (and they’re environmentally friendly so YAY!). But creating a whole gown from pure silks can sometimes come with a hefty price-tag. When opting for a full lace gown, a great tip to reduce the costs is to select alternate fabrics underneath. Fabrics that are not seen, such as your main, corsetry, petticoat and lining can often be produced with more affordable fabric options. If you’re open to exploring similar, yet cheaper materials then you could cut your fabric costs by 50%! Don’t be afraid to ask your designer and dressmaker for ways in which you could incorporate alternate fabrics into your custom piece. But remember to always invest in a beautiful lace or beaded material as this will often sit on top of your gown and make up your statement feature.
Designer: Naviblue Fashion Group (Nicoletta gown from the Sweety Collection)
6. IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT FIT
One of the biggest misconceptions of creating a custom couture bridal gown is that it must contain laces or heavy embellishments to truly be a World class masterpiece. But as a designer and dressmaker, the most important aspect of any gown to us is the way it fits out brides. Whether you opt for a simplistic, modern day crepe gown or a crystal embellished ball-gown, the most important feature will always be the cut of the gown and the way it fits you. The only way to achieve a World class couture gown is to opt for custom-made. The custom-made process allows for you to try your dress on in step by step stages, ensuring that you’re happy with the way it looks but also the way it fits you. Along with this, a custom-gown is always created from scratch with your exact body measurements, unlike a pre-made off-the-rack dress. It doesn’t matter what fabric, lace or embellishments you choose, as long as your gown fits you like a glove, everything else will shine beautifully.
Designer: d’Italia // Photographer: @andrewaviphotographer // Bride: @Brittanycamz
7. SELECT SEQUINS OVER BEADING
From the subtle texture to that gorgeous shine, how can we not love a touch of beading? But with the hefty designer price-tag that comes with buying a beaded gown, it’s no wonder why finding your dream dress can become a difficult reality. For brides who love the look of beads and sparkle, then we have the perfect solution for you. Similarly, to beads, sequins can achieve a stunning touch of shine and extravagance to any bridal gown. A heavily sequinned fabric can create the illusion of a heavily beaded bodice, without the extra weight, bulkiness and price. Sequins can come in various colours, sizes and finishing’s (such as matte or glossy). The reflective surface of a silver coloured sequin can create a stunning sparkle and glow like no other. But for brides wanting to retain that natural colour and traditional bridal finish, select a simple and clear colour. Transparent sequins are the best way to achieve a beautiful shimmer and shine whilst still remaining bridal in appearance and look. But best of all, they look truly World class.
Designer: Lihi Hod (Elodie gown)
8. CORSETRY IS A MUST
Unlike standard off-the-rack gowns, a World class bespoke gown will often consist of a detailed in-built corset. A corset is a finishing that is created into the bodice of your custom gown and is often invisible to the eye. Every corset is crafted differently, depending on the dress silhouette, the brides body shape, the neckline and purpose and need for it. A corset is generally created to provide support to the dress and bride, along with eliminating the need for a bra. It is often made from a stiff material, fusing, boning and bra cups. But why is a corset so important? Well a corset is a couture technique, used to achieve a beautiful finish and to create a durable and well fitted gown. Without it, the dress can often be flimsy, manipulate and stretch in shape and even create folds and uneven bumps. For brides opting for a beaded or embellished fabric, it is especially crucial to ensure your gown is fully corseted to support the weight of the beads and to ensure they sit nicely against your body. A corset can also achieve a smooth finish and a clean shape to your dress, whilst ensuring your overlays and lace designs sit nice and flat. Corsets can even save you money as you won’t feel the need to invest in special under garments, spanx and custom strapless bras.
Designer: Gali Karten (Burano Collection)
9. SILK COVERED BUTTONS
Besides the stunning fabric and the fit, the most important difference between a World class gown and a standard off-the-rack dress is the finishing’s. From beautifully overlocked seams, to hand beaded embellishments and delicate French seaming, you really can’t compare to a unique custom couture piece. But along with this, one of our top secrets to achieving a gorgeous finish and a touch of ‘couture’ is to complete your gown with some beautiful silk covered buttons. A silk covered button is often a small plain round shaped button covered in a gorgeous fine silk satin material. The silk covered buttons can be made matte or with a subtle glow, depending on your gown and preference. Whilst most couture gowns are constructed with a simple invisible zipper, there is no harm in incorporating this stunning feature to add a touch of glamour and elegance to the back of your dress. To really show it off and create a wow factor to your bridal look, opt for a low open back with a fine nude/ivory invisible tulle.
Designer: Naviblue Fashion Group (Jayson gown from the Dolly Collection)
10. A TOUCH OF COLOUR
If you’re really wanting to add a touch of couture to your custom gown, then look no further than a splash of colour. As trends adapt and change over time, we can expect to see a lot of designers and wedding labels sway away from the traditional white and ivory coloured bridal tones. In fact, we can already see a lot of incredible World renowned bridal designers incorporating subtle tones of blush and nude into their collections and we absolutely love it. But for new brides, opting for a colour can be a daunting concept. A great way to re-create that World class look, whilst still remaining modest and bridal, is to select a gorgeous pastel tone as the base of your gown and add a gorgeous ivory or white coloured lace over the top. The pastel colour underneath the bridal gown can be a great way to let your lace and overlays shine. But not only that, this stunning contrast costs nothing additional and can truly be the difference between a standard bridal gown and a World class couture masterpiece. Some great colours to consider are- pale blush, warm oyster, soft champagne and nude. For brides who want to tone down these colours even more, consider opting for an ivory sheer overlay, from chiffon, to tulle, to georgette and organza. These are great ways to tone down that pastel colour whilst still achieving that World class finish.
Designer: Mistrelli (Grenadille gown)