The bridal industry changes driving Karen Walker’s new Atelier range

  • Design
  • August 20, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
The bridal industry changes driving Karen Walker’s new Atelier range

In the last couple of years, Kiwi fashion designers like Ingrid Starnes, Juliette Hogan and Paris Georgia have rolled out bridal ranges. Now they’ve been joined by Karen Walker. We asked Walker what’s behind the rise of designer bridal.

Walker launched her 20-piece Atelier range last week. The pieces will each be bespoke, “made specifically for and in consultation with the client by private appointment”, although simpler styles like the $500 Ceremony dress are available online for immediate express shipping now. 

All appointments, viewings and fittings will take place in the Karen Walker Atelier suite above the Ponsonby Road boutique and all styles will be made in the Karen Walker workroom in Grey Lynn. The private appointment will also include a dialogue with Walker herself.

Prices range from $500 to $4,250 for the full-skirted taffeta True Love gown. There are 12 dresses, a tuxedo paired with various options, a cape and three veils. 

The range has been paired with Walker’s bridal jewellery line, which has had 14 new designs added to it in honour of the Atelier range.

The range is based on the Karen Walker archive, and references many existing pieces as well as adding new touches. Most of the Atelier fabrics have been created by Spanish couture fabric house Gratacós.

Walker says her own marriage of 28 years and her love of “a tradition that makes people pin their colours to the mast and take on true commitment,” was at the heart of Atelier.

“Love, love, love a good wedding!” Karen enthuses. “They’re so uplifting aren’t they? There’s a real joy in two people having that clarity of vision to define themselves in the moment and walk that aisle and into life together.” 

Walker’s range is part of a larger global trend. As the US$2.4 billion American bridal market shrinks due to changing consumer behaviour – Millennials aren’t getting married at the same rate as their parents, and they want more inclusive sizing, more customisation and lower prices when they do – Vogue Businesssays new retail models are popping up.

 Traditional bridal retailers like the now-bankrupt David’s Bridal are losing market share to high-end ready-to-wear designers, venture-backed direct-to-consumer brands such as Anomalie and Floravere, and bridal ranges from fast fashion retailers like Topshop, H&M and ASOS. 

Walker shared more detail about how Atelier relates to these trends with The Register.

Several New Zealand retailers have launched bridal ranges in the last year or so. Why do you think bridal is suddenly such an attractive category to Kiwi designers?

I think that more and more people want to buy bridal from their favourite designers rather than from bridal specialists who they perhaps don’t relate to.

Operationally speaking, how does creating a bridal range differ from creating occasionwear and casual apparel?

Well, it’s completely bespoke so different in every way.

What business processes had to change at Karen Walker to accommodate those differences?

We’ve been working in a bespoke, personalised way for many of our high-profile, international customers for some time and this is just about making this approach more available.

Have you discovered any business or design insights from bridal that will feed back into other categories covered by Karen Walker?

No, but it’s early days.

Can you hint at which category Karen Walker might tackle next? Is there any product category you’d never touch?

Lots of new projects and wish projects on the cards. Stand by for more when the time’s right.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Countdown’s top team members honoured at its annual trade show

  • News
  • September 22, 2019
  • The Register team
Countdown’s top team members honoured at its annual trade show

Tom Jones-Griffiths from Countdown Newmarket is the grocery chain’s Store Manager of the Year 2019. He was recognised among other winning team members in a ceremony at the company’s annual trade show in Rotorua.

Read more

A temporary slowdown

  • Opinion
  • September 21, 2019
  • Satish Ranchhod
A temporary slowdown

Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod discusses how household spending growth has slowed in early 2019.

Read more

Pams Pantry: The groundbreaking convenience store shaking up rural Canterbury

Dairies have a special place in the hearts of heartland New Zealanders, but now there’s a new format in town.


Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Diamonds in a rhinestone world: How jewellers are holding fast

Pricier products from retail’s apparel segment are often described as an ‘investment purchase’, but finance professionals would disagree on most counts – except when it ...


Come and celebrate our industry with the who’s who of retail

  • News
  • September 19, 2019
  • The Register team
Come and celebrate our industry with the who’s who of retail

Our Gem Retail Hotlist is about celebrating the vitality and innovation of New Zealand’s retail sector. Get your free ticket and join our industry’s top retailers for the networking event of the year.

Read more

The simple excitement of inflatable advertising

  • News
  • September 17, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
The simple excitement of inflatable advertising

Our advertising landscape continues to rotate around the growth of digital and how digital can be used to further capture the attention of viewers.Yet there is one type of adverting so simple, so primal, so no-nonsense that even in this computer run society it has survived. We’re talking here, about inflatable, or balloon, advertising.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit