Timeless & Romantic Wedding Inspiration

Wedding Dresses

Stylish and Sophisticated Bridal Gowns from Karen Willis Holmes

I continue to be astonished at the no end of incredibly talented Bridal designers coming out of Australia and New Zealand. As one of the first I came across when I began CVB, I have long been promising, and looking forward to, a post dedicated to today’s designer – Karen Willis Holmes. Some, with a very good memory, may recognise this rather divine dress from the Sneak Peek all the way back in October of last year (my oh my, hasn’t the time flown)

Karen Willis Holmes - Felicity Bridal Gown

Karen Willis Holmes Wedding Dress - Dakota

First drawn to the Bridal industry by its unfaltering demand of attention to detail and exceptional fit, Karen has built an enviable position, over 10 years, as one of Australia’s premier designers of wedding dresses, renowned for exactly those two qualities. KWH collections reflect her lifelong love of fashion, influenced in particular by the 18th century and the 1940’s, celebrating the spirit of today’s modern bride, both stylish and sophisticated – all with a Karen Willis Holmes twist.

Karen Willis Holmes Couture Bridal Gown - Gabriella

Starting from a couture boutique in Sydney, Karen now has her couture atelier in Sydney, three ready to wear stores in Australia, located in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and international stockists as well as a truly exciting on line E-Boutique. All of Karen’s wedding dresses are manufactured in Australia (you’ll find a tour of their old flourmill work studio as well as a glimpse into the design process on her website), using only the highest quality imported fabrics, laces, and beading from around the world, with Karen and her team providing that hands on personal approach and commitment to detail, which is so evident in every single one of her dresses.

Karen Willis Holmes Couture Silver Bridal Gown - Lana

Karen Willis Holmes Couture Wedding Dress - Satine

After 4 years of couture, Karen was inspired to create a ready to wear bridal collection in 2004. The collection provides a wedding gown with the ease and price of a ready to wear wedding dress but without compromising on design and quality. Karen and her team’s reputation for constantly exceeding customers’ expectations both with the product and with the service provided applies to both couture and ready to wear clients.

Karen Willis Holmes Wedding Dress - Alyssa

Karen Willis Holmes Wedding Dress - Tiffany

Karen Willis Holmes Wedding Dress - Allegra

Karen Willis Holmes Wedding Dress - Renee

Karen Willis Holmes Bridal Gown - Felicity

I quite strongly believe that you can tell a lot about a designer’s (and a wedding photographer’s) passion for their trade from their website (that may be slightly harsh, given that technology’s never ending advances often have my head in a spin and my whole working life has been spent on computers…..but I believe in todays world a strong website is key to attracting new customers! Anway) Karen’s website is incredible! I could (and have) spent many an hour touring it. From her Shop The Look pages for some of her best selling gowns……

Shop The Look

To her E-Boutique, where you can shop her full and complete range – dresses, jackets, veils, headpieces, jewellery, everything! It took me some time to realise that there are infinitely more designs in Karen’s collections than are presented on the ‘Collection’ pages of her website! Designs like the fabulously glamorous and 50s influenced Brooke……

….with its flattering v-neck draped bodice topped by intircate diamante beading on the shoulders and at the waist – and detachable train! Can’t you just see Elizabeth Taylor in this gown???

Karen Willis Holmes - Brooke Detail

I have a petit penchant for statement accessories at the moment (ever since this Perfect Perth wedding with the bride’s gorgeous black accessories) – it is incredible how a statement piece of jewellery or accessory can transform a look. Luckily for any Karen Willis Holmes bride (or any bride come to that) this designer knows how to create the most beautiful accessories to complete any bridal look – cuffs, hair vines, combs and belts.

Karen Willis Holmes - Lace Cuff Bracelet

Karen Willis Holmes - Embellished Motif Comb



Karen Willis Holmes - Pearl Vine Headpiece


Karen Willis Holmes - Motif Flower Belt

Karen Willis Holmes - Silver Lace Belt

Those belts are just scrumptious!

I have also become completely addicted to Karen Willis Holmes’ blog from the sneak peeks of new gowns like the glorious,  1940s inspired (and I think slightly Edwardian) Daphne……

The Daphne Gown

I love the French Chantilly lace jacket with its peplum style hem drawing attention to a tiny waist and accentuating an hourglass figure.

To her truly inspirational mood boards……

Embellished Inspiration Board

Vintage Inspiration BoardI love the way Karen’s designs are SO obviously for the modern bride and yet the designer and her dresses are clearly influenced by ‘vintage’!

Karen Willis Holmes you are a queen of the bridal industry and I bow to you