Under the traditional white wedding facade, wedding plans can feel more masquerade than magical. Picture perfect celebrations are often devoid of wild romance and revelry that couples really crave. Formalities can feel rigid and dated. On a day that should be all about celebrating your personal love story, spilling with authenticity, dressing up in a ball gown silhouette you can hardly move in, or outdated lace you’d never normally gravitate towards, seems wildly at odds.
For Lola Varma designer Courtney Illfield, challenging the ‘why’ behind traditional bridal dressing has always been her drive. As a talented international photographer, Courtney found herself in conversations with women who didn’t resonate with traditional bridal – the uncomfortable fits, outdated silhouettes and unbreathable fabrics worn in summer. Filling the void for stylish, modern bridal, Courtney launched Perth-based label Lola Varma.
This season, the new Est. Violet collection feels like a punctuation mark in that mission statement. It’s even more wearable – think velvet-like fabrics that melt through fingertips. Barely-bridal yet beautifully refined and elegant, Est. Violet so beautifully redefines modern wedding aesthetics.
We chatted with designer Courtney Illfield about Est. Violet…
What inspired this collection?
Many things inspired this collection. Romance for one! What we wear to wed and how we choose to celebrate our love is continuously evolving. My inspiration comes from our day to day fashion, whether it’s from the current times and runways in Paris to stretching back to medieval times, visible in the Raina Corset & Jamie blouse in this collection. The choice of material also dramatically inspired this collection. A lot of this collection is created with dead stock material. So once I found the beautiful materials, I designed ways it could work with the body, staying true to Lola Varma aesthetics.
“What actually inspires me is what isn’t in bridal. Lola Varma was originally created with the desire to fill a void that was held by the non-traditional and fashion forward person.”
What inspires you in bridal at the moment?
What actually inspires me is what isn’t in bridal. Lola Varma was originally created with the desire to fill a void that was held by the non-traditional and fashion forward person.
How has Lola Varma evolved since you began?
I feel Lola Varma is evolving continuously similar to how we do as humans. It listens, it learns from mistakes, desires, creativity, it finds its niche & place of comfort and delivers with authenticity wherever possible.
Favorite piece from the collection and how you could style it?
Ah, this is a tough one. Perhaps the Selene Blouse paired with the Spencer skirt & Raina corset. It’s comfortable, it feels like velvet on your skin and is re-wearable post wedding allowing longevity with these hand made garments.
The style of wedding you see this collection being worn at?
An intimate, minimal fuss and stylish occasion where the emphasis is on romance and connection between friends and family. Think a balmy summer long table lunch where vows are spoken at the end of the table while tucking into plates of fresh pasta. The lunch spills into the evening of dancing. Minimal formalities and maximum fun.
One thing you’ve learnt while designing bridal?
That it really is limitless and you can wear whatever you want… you just have to convince the mums haha.
Where can brides access the Lola Varma collection?
At the new showroom, also at my wonderful national and international stockists in the coming months. Stay tuned, some exciting new locations being announced soon.
Find our handpicked edit of Bridal brands from around the world on the Directory.