Our chat with Karen Willis Holmes at her Soho Boutique, New York
There was obviously a little magic in the air when my husband Milton won himself tickets to The Masters golf tournament in the Augusta Georgia on the 13th April. You may be thinking so how does this exactly relate to visiting the Karen Willis Holmes boutique in NYC? Well the trade off for a trip to the USA (for the greatest golf tournament on earth) was a week long stay in New York following the golf tournament, hooray!
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, Karen Willis Holmes and her New York team had just wrapped up One Fine Day bridal market and Karen surprised us with her presence on the very day we visited the New York boutique in the super chic neighbourhood of Soho ( in addition to a great boutique Soho is complete with all of our favourite things -good coffee and people watching in abounds).
Before we take a deep dive into Karen’s designs and share what we learn’t whilst we were there about her collections, fabric choices and what she really loves to design, we just wanted to a big heartfelt thank you to Karen for always being so generous with your time and knowledge and to her amazing team of women, who have all been overly supportive of the Mrs Fray concept since its inception last February and couldn’t wait to be involved in our series of pop ups to bring Canberra the modern drama and timeless style in bridal that you’ve all been craving.
So what did Karen say? Well for staters lets just set the tone by saying that whilst Karen is quite humble about it but we came to learn that she really has this innate understanding of the female form, she knows how to achieve the perfect fit that shapes and flatters womens bodies in comfortable yet exquisite fabrics to make you feel ever so good (and also eat, drink, sit and dance) on the most important day of your life. A skill she has refined for over almost 20 years creating gowns, but one that also appears to come quite naturally to her as a designer and woman.
Which brings us to then understand why she has chosen to work with beautiful stretch laces and modern sculpture stretch clothes as hero’s of the Wild Hearts collection. And heavily beaded and sequinned fabrics that just fall so elegantly to highlight the body in all the right places as a signature focus for the Luxe by Karen Willis Holmes collection.
Speaking of sequins, we were lucky enough to be given a sneak presentation of Karen’s brand new Luxe capsule collection for 2019. We can’t give too much away just yet, however you will find some of these new designs on the racks at the Mrs Fray concept store when we open in early July!
So back to Karen and what she personally loves to design. When it comes to her own personal sense of style, she considers herself a minimalist and this is reflected in the gowns she loves to creates, her most recent favourites being the Violet, Clarissa and Arianna from the latest Wild Hearts collection, GLASSHAUS in which she confessed she personally has all three in black in her own wardrobe.
As for Karen's eternal classics that she’ll always have a soft spot for include styles such as the Bobby (if you visited one of our pop ups you know this is the “magic” dress) and Karina from Wild Hearts and Anya, Cassie and Celine from the Luxe collection - all of which just happen to be our favourites and they’ll always be available at Mrs Fray.
And when it comes to trends, Karen does love to push the boundaries to ensure her collections are always at the forefront of modern bridal design. She forecasts that there will be a return of the drop-waist and a-line skirt silhouettes in the coming months and of course this key look can already be found in the Wild Hearts Gaby gown.
After all that amazing chat we all took up a bench seat outside one of Karen’s favourite morning coffee haunts, Gasoline Alley Coffee for a flat white and a spot of people watching. A perfect day in NYC.
Big thanks again Karen, Stephanie and Chelsea for hosting us and to Milton for the fly on the wall pics.
If you’d like to experience some of Karen’s favourite gowns for yourself there is currently a curated collection online here at Mrs Fray as we speak and they’ll also be ready and waiting for you at our concept store in Campbell come July. Pop your name on our mailing list below to be the first to know when we release our appointments.
See you real soon - Amy + Andi x