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Chic Meets Eccentric with Karen Walker Atelier at Wild Hearts Runway

Bellowing sleeves, draped bows and dandelion veils grace our stage this September at Wild Hearts Wedding Fair. We are delighted to host the first ever runway showing of Karen Walker Atelier. From a strong presence and community in the fashion industry, leading NZ designer Karen Walker has embarked on a journey through the bridal scene. Bringing simply magnificent structural silhouettes and fabrics of floral lace, botanical embroidery with generous coverage of glass beads and many more, this collection is an elegant abyss for fashion loving couples. Karen Walker sources fabrics by Gratacos, one of the great couture fabric houses, who since 1940, has been making fabrics for haute couture legends.

Fall in love with inspiration from Karen Walker Atelier as Karen shares a dreamy recount of the inspiration behind their journey in the bridal industry, the delights of working with couples to plan such a special celebration and their top picks for any style of wedding.

And you can hear more from the wonderful New Zealand Designer Karen Walker at our Industry Panel hosted by Greta Kenyon of Together Journal at Wild Hearts Wedding Fair 25th September. Tickets available HERE.

Firstly, tell us about your Karen Walker Atelier and the essence of your ethos?

Karen Walker Atelier is all about having our chic-meets-eccentric handwriting coming through in this collection as it does in everything we touch. We wanted options that had a realness to them and that combined chic with cool and added a sprinkling of tough in there for good measure.

What is your take on what marriage means in 2022 and why did Karen Walker branch into Bridal collections?

Marriage, to me, still means the same as it always did; making a commitment to each other.  

With regard to our Bridal offering, for as long as I can remember we’ve had customers asking about engagement rings and outfits for their wedding days – people who love our style and have it as part of many special or important days and want to have it on their wedding day also.

Are there unique design features in your collection we can expect to see on the Wild Hearts Runway this Spring?

This will be the first time Karen Walker Atelier has been in a runway show. 

What is the story behind your iconic veils, how did they come about? 

For our veils, we wanted something sculptural, strong, interesting and a little bit tough so we created the puff and bob veils which can be styled together or individually depending how much volume one likes. 

We see a range of fabrics in your bridal range like your textured Italian jacquard, what inspired this collection?

We began with some of our most beloved KW designs, cherry-picked from past collections. Playing with proportions, volume, length and different fabrics, the styles reference some of our favourite details like balloon sleeves, slashed-low backs with bows, high-frilled sheer tulle necklines, sashed waists and layered frills. 

Fabrics include an astonishingly detailed floral lace, a botanical embroidery with generous coverage of glass beads, a dotted tulle, a bubble jacquard, a Guipure flamed lace and a luxuriously full-bodied taffeta along with a luxe heavy weight crêpe de Chine. Most of the fabrics for Atelier have been created by Gratacós, one of the great couture fabric houses, who, since 1940, has been making fabrics for haute couture legends.

What is the process for couples looking to purchase or perhaps have a custom piece made by Karen Walker?

Our Atelier team will meet with the bride for an initial viewing of the collection. They’ll then assist the bride on their journey; measuring, fittings and adjusting the dress or suit until they have the final look that’s 100% perfect. From the initial fitting, the outfit will be completed within 14 weeks in our own Auckland workroom. 

For clients based outside of Auckland/New Zealand, we offer our Atelier services via phone and Facetime/Zoom, and we’re happy to work with their personal tailors too.

Do you have favourite styles for petite, curve and maternity weddings? 

As our Atelier designs are made bespoke for each client, we always personalise the fit for them.  For example, the True Love gown is one of our most popular designs; it’s elegant and restrained, and it looks just as amazing each time we’ve made and adjusted it in different sizes and lengths.

What are your top picks for :

The boho bride

The modern bride

The classical bride

The casual bride

Do you have stockists or can couples contact you directly?

All are welcome to make an in-person or virtual appointment with our Atelier team via [email protected]. Our engagement rings can also be viewed in select jewellers

What are you looking forward to most about Wild Hearts Wedding Fair and Runway Auckland 2022? 

I’m looking forward to meeting with brides and hearing about their plans. What excites me about designing for weddings is being invited to be part of a very important moment in two people’s lives. That’s a real honour.

Hear more from the wonderful Karen Walker at our guest panel at Wild Hearts Wedding Fair 25 September 2022. Tickets available HERE.

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