fashion design

A BRIDE'S TWO CENTS by Elizabeth Leese

Emily Post is turning summersaults in her grave.

I didn’t put return addresses on my invitations (or rsvp cards which actually caused mass confusion), I’m not wearing a veil at the wedding, I showed Hunter a picture of my reception dress... you name it and I probably did it the wrong way. But you know what? THE WORLD KEPT TURNING and I was happy. 

As you may note from the time gap between my last post, I have been up to my eyeballs. I’m currently wading in a sea of boxes waiting to be moved into our quaint apartment and we leave this week for Ireland and I’m not even packed. My nerves are oddly calm but I’m aching to share about the wedding!

My sweet Hunter got a sneak peek of the reception dress (pictured above) this week because I was too excited not to share. My photographer, Andrea Simon, nailed it. I am mesmerized by her camera smarts (and generally of just her as a person). We spent the day shooting at the Crescent Hotel in Dallas and to be honest, I might wear a wedding dress every day. People stopped to ask about the dress, they offered friendly advice on marriage, and I even got asked if I was modeling or actually getting married! If I felt like like a million bucks that day, there are no words for how I will feel when the only pair of eyes I care about sees me for the first time in my dress.  

So in a few short days, we are lifting off out of Dallas and heading to our dream wedding on the Emerald Isle. I didn’t get menus or ceremony pamphlet things printed, but I got macaroons! And I have the most incredible family and friends joining us to witness and hold accountable the most important commitment of my life. 

I have had the most fun getting ready for this big day. I made my wedding dress using my mom’s lace and this party jumpsuit with a detachable tulle skirt AND my bridesmaids dresses. I also got to work with the amazing House of Hannah (whom I still have not met, but has charmed my socks off with her impeccable styling taste and Irish accent). July 26th will probably look even more incredible than I can imagine, but if I have any words of wisdom it would be this: Brides, don’t sweat the small stuff. Emily’s ghost is busy haunting me so you’re free to put your elbows on the table and lick the icing off your cake before official cutting time. What matters is that the new role you are about to take on is one you know full-heartedly that you will work for every day. ENJOY your day-- What a thought. Imagine if more brides did that! The perfect dress and the perfect place cards will never bring you the joy that comes from giving your all to a marriage. As my mom always says, the wedding is short and the marriage is long.


photographer: Andrea Simon | dress: Elizabeth Leese | shoes: Sophia Webster | jewelry: Vince Camuto | venue: Crescent Hotel, Dallas | makeup: Christina Finkel | hair color: Michael Goude | reflector holder and dress fluffer: Nicole Votolato | 


I’ve never been much of a rule breaker unless I know I can get away with it.

In graphic design, mixing font moods is a death sentence. Moods must compliment, not contradict. The same can be said in fashion design, which introduces my current challenge: how do I combine my modern, minimal style with my whimsical Irish venue? There is an undeniable fairytale quality to Ireland and it's a direct contrast to my basic, boxy wardrobe. Yet, the beauty of art and design is that rules can be bent and broken if you know how to do it.

So here I am. I have a sketchpad full of minimal and modern designs and I’m trying to find a way to blend in frill. The more I sketch, the more progress I make, but the game changer has been sitting in my closet for months: my mother's lace wedding gown. Initially I did not think I would use anything but silk, but with my mother's full permission to take apart her dress and borrow the lace, it is looking like the perfect solution to blending minimal and fairytale. 

My parents were married in the 80’s—you know the look. Enormous sleeves, a neckline that comes up to your ears and a train the length of a football field. Mothers of anyone my age were married either in a dress similar or a pantsuit. God bless the 80’s. The lace from her dress, however, is timeless and has been very inspiring through the evolution of my dress.

Being in fashion, it’s expected for my design to change at least 10 times, it’s like a hair stylist trying to make a decision about their hair color. Despite the constant changes and daily tweaks, I am getting closer to my dream dress! As of now, I have decided on a silhouette, received my silk fabric, and have made three preliminary dresses to perfect the fit. My mother’s dress has been whitened and I am working to remove the damaged beading and take apart the seams. It's the first step to an evolving process and only the beginning of blending my styles. Can't wait to let the scissors fly!