Sunday, December 21, 2008

BEST OF 2008 - Merry Christmas from Culture Shock!

How quickly has this year flown by?

As i recall all the wonderful "Culture Shock" brides that we have had the pleasure of dressing thru 2008, here are a few personal highlights (in no particular order...)

* A lovely Norwegian bride whose gown we decorated with a traditional Norwegian embroidered ribbon waistband (which she painstakingly hand-stitched herself), and finished with an antique brooch from her Grandmothers wedding....DIVINE!

* Our always-smiling, nature-loving & very funky client whose bridal corset-mini-dress we designed especially for her, in white silk, then dip-dyed in bright lime green and sunny yellow, so that she was like a little Aussie"bush-baby" for her garden wedding - the result was FUN, FLIRTY & FABULOUS - and it fitted her personality, setting & theme just perfectly!

* Our beautiful Tasmanian client whose wedding took place on her own organic farm in rural Tassie, by a small riverbed containing several platypus, who were seen by the guests playing in the water during the ceremony- aaawwwwww!!!! How very Australian is that?

* The highest number EVER of interstate & international clients who flew to Sydney especially for us - planning their flights to visit the Culture Shock studio for fittings with whatever other excuses to come to Sydney they could muster- shopping trips, business trips, visiting friends and family - or just solely to visit Culture Shock! A special thanks to all those globe-trotting, jet-setting brides, it's always a pleasure & we trust it was worth the early morning starts and extra travelling time! The world is definitely getting smaller...

* Our fun-loving, bold, curvaceous and retro-inspired bride who cleverly blended her love of the 40's AND 50's with her "victory-rolls" hair-do, funky Fifties Obi frock, red petticoat and fabulous red peep-toe shoes - you looked AWESOME, Miss N.....

* So many "East Meets West" inspired brides who embraced my love of Japan, and allowed me to mix splashes of RED amongst the ivory and whites, to create wedding gowns that celebrate Asian cultures as well as our own - and allowed me to delve deeply into my vintage Kimono & Obi collections.

* Likewise with my Indian-inspired bridal clients - we created some amazing & totally unique wedding gowns from rich, exquisitely-coloured Sari's this year, including bold purple, deep turquoise and brilliant aqua, plus the ever-popular reds, all mixed back with whites and ivories to stunning effect - and we hope these gowns will be worn again to Xmas/ NYE parties very soon!

* If there was one look that dominated my brides this year, despite the diverse range of styles we create - it would have to be the GRECIAN GODDESS look! And to make that happen - soooooo many never-ending hours of pinning, hand-rusching, draping, hand-stitching and french-seaming layer upon layer of sheer silk georgette and chiffon- thank goodness my beautiful & immensely talented & experienced staff ALL have such nimble fingers!

So as i wave goodbye to 2008, yet another creative, inspiring & rewarding year for Culture Shock, i now take my hat off to my FABULOUS, patient, caring and very dear team of expert staff, who work with me here in the studio, weaving their magic and making my crazy ideas come to life and look so good on each and every client - ladies, without you, there would be no gowns, no Culture Shock, and no fun ....A HEARTFELT THANK YOU SHERRY, JOAN, SABINA, EVE, POLI and LINDA, for a job VERY VERY WELL DONE!

AND a BIG, warm and very special thanks to all our beautiful brides ... here's to a SPLENDID year in 2009, have a magical Christmas,

love from Lisa xx

Monday, December 8, 2008

Soft and Flowy, Grecian Goddess RULES!

I've noticed so many more brides these days wanting "lighter" wedding gowns... made from fabrics that are lighter in weight, styling that's softer and more flowing than the traditional corsetry-style gowns, less restrictive construction, and of course - more COMFY!
I guess this need for wedding dresses that don't weigh more than the bride who wears them is due to several reasons:-

a)- Global warming! Who wants to be hot 'n' sweaty on their big day under multiple layers of thich, heavy fabric?
b)- "Bridget Jones" undies - whether we like them or not, the Nancy Ganz-type of super-stretchy shapewear and control lingerie (aka- "foundation lingerie") out on the market these days REALLY WORKS! So it now enables brides to rely less on corsetry in a wedding gown, and gives women the choice of having lighter-weight gowns and much more comfort in the lingerie dept, whilst still getting a great silhouette, flat tummy and nipped-in waist.

c)- Beautiful, soft, flowing gowns using sheer fabrics look SOOOOO romantic, whimsical, elegant and classic... the ethereal "Grecian Goddess" inspired look is definitely here to stay, as seen at every glamorous Awards ceremony this year... and you DON'T have to be a size 6 to rock this look!

I recently did a fabulous photo shoot to showcase my Grecian-inspired Couture bridal gowns... & as you can see, we created some beautiful looks on the day! Big thanks to the super-talented team that worked hard to create these images with me on a Sunday afternoon- Dario Gardiman the photographer, Simone and Claire the fab make-up artists, Jack the hair stylist and our gorgeous models Alicia and Zara - stay tuned as these images (and more) will shortly be appearing in more detail on my website, too!

ciao, xx lisa

Friday, November 28, 2008

White Ribbon Charity Fashion Parade

It was such a pleasure to be invited to show my gowns at the "White Ribbon Charity Fashion Parade" at the funky DOME venue in Surry Hills, Sydney, last week. There were loads of exciting local designers showcasing their work, some up-and-coming, and others more established, and the level of enthusiasm, excitement and energy on the night was AWESOME!

Organiser Sharon Garrard did an amazing job, co-ordinating and managing the whole event, and raising much needed funds AND awareness for this worthy charity, to help prevent domestic violence against women. The place was packed full of fun-loving fashionista's, and the parade ended on a high note with an Opera singer performing her aria as the Culture Shock Couture models glided down the catwalk for the grand finale - oooohhhhh, what a wonderful sight!

At the risk of sounding like a complete tosser - i felt very proud of my team, our work, the fabulous models, hair and make-up crew, and the great feedback we received on the night - so a very heartfelt THANK YOU to all involved!!!

And a very special merci beaucoup to the talented photography team at ModalSoul Photo, who captured these brilliant Culture Shock pics on the runway.... one word, guys - W O W !!
xx lisa

Friday, November 14, 2008

Purple Reigns!

When your favourite colour is purple, & always has been purple, & everyone knows it.....then why not make a statement on your wedding day in a beautiful PURPLE SILK wedding gown!

That's exactly what Kirstin did when she recently married Wayne in Sydney, with their baby daughter as a very cute little flowergirl. As you can see from their wedding photos, Kirstin looked simply spectacualr in her Culture Shock Couture wedding gown, which we created from ivory silk liqud satin, with a fabulous purple silk train, and a detachable jacket and Obi waistband constructed from a divine vintage kimono we sourced directly from Japan. The whole wedding day had a purple theme running through it – the bride’s purple shoes were purchased before she had even picked her dress!

In Kirstin's own words:-

"There was a touch of purple in everything – from the invitations, dresses, table runners on tables, to the detailing on the wedding cake. We did try to keep things simple when organising the wedding by not sweating the minor details too much. We made sure the major details were covered – but didn’t really worry as much about the little things. This made it a much more stress free day for everyone. "

i think that is great advice for future brides - to focus on the big important things, get them right, and let all the finer, smaller details fall into place.


xx lisa and the team
at Culture Shock

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New photo shoot sneak preview!

IT's always so hectic this time of year in the Sydney wedding industry - my staff and i are meticulously hand-finishing lots of fabulous new wedding gowns for all our current Spring/ Summer 2008 brides, and at the same time, i am chatting to lots of prospective NEW clients for their upcoming Autumn weddings in March/ April/ May 2009.

With lots of final fittings and often emotional "goodbyes" as we see our finished work leave the studio in the arms of the beautiful brides who will wear them so proudly, my team and i always get goosebumps and the feeling can best be described as "nervous excitement".... we hope the weather will be kind, the bride will look and feel AMAZING on her big day, and all the plans that have taken so many months to organise will all go as smoothly and stress-free as possible!!! I often wonder what sort of reaction will take place on the day- will the groom cry when he see's his bride in her gown for the first time?? Will the guests let out a collective sigh of "ooohhh's and aaaahh's" as the bride makes her grand entrance?!?! And what will the grandma's, aunties and best friends say to our brides after the ceremony and formalities are over, and everyone is relaxed and full of smiles and congrats?? This is when the goosebumps start appearing in anticipation! Luckily the Sydney weather is being kind for now, with a stunning weekend full of sunshine and mild temperatures for our brides Gillian, Sarah and Helen, i hope you all had a BALL and enjoyed every moment of your weddings recently!!

In between keeping all our gorgeous smiling brides happy and looking just FAB on their big day, we've also been busy creating some exciting new designs for upcoming fashion shoots and magazine editorials. Although i deeply adore our Indian and Japanese-inspired looks, i know that it's not always what everyone is looking for.... so our latest Couture additions include a softer, more romantic "vintage-inspired" feel, using pastel dusty pinks, latte's and antique rose colours.

These hot new photos were taken yesterday at a brilliant shoot by "Empire Creative", with our stunning models Olga and Tereza, make-up by Danielle and hair by Corrine. i will soon be putting more images on my website, with the dream styling teams' contact details! If you're ever looking for recommendations on make-up artists, hair stylist, photographers and the like, don't hesitate to ask... personal recommendations for highly skilled people who are great at their job, keen and reliable, are always invaluable, and i am happy to pass on my contacts.

ciao for now, xx lisa

Thursday, September 11, 2008

24 hours in Melbourne...

Isn't it FAB how interstate travel has become so quick, easy, cheap and accessible??!!

i have just spent the last 24 hours in Melbourne, and it's amazing how much you can do in just 24 hours, believe me! i had 2 glorious art exhibitions to visit, and lots of fabric sourcing/shopping to do for my new wedding gown designs, so with a combo of fast-paced walking, planes/ trains/ trams and friendly yellow cabs, it was a breeze!

After visiting my favourite kimono and Japanese textile collectors, and a few silk fabric suppliers, i sped over to the GORGEOUS Art Deco Exhibition at the NGV in St Kilda Rd, and fell in love with EVERYTHING!!! Amazing collections of jewellery, furniture, music, film, objects d'art and of course FASHION, the highlight for me was naturally absolutely breathtaking Couture gowns from the 1920's and 30's, by such luminary designers as Coco Chanel, Lanvin, Poiret and many more... definitely worth the trip, it's on until 5th October - see website

Then last night i had the pleasure of attending my friend and fellow collaborator Stan Yarramunua's official opening of his stunning Aboriginal art exhibition, in the foyer of the prestigious 101 Collins St building. Yarramunua's collection of paintings are a refreshing, colourful and modern take on the traditional Indigenous dot painting, and his use of "totems" such as the sea turtle and the goanna, mixed with his main theme of water, are spectacular.

Also in attendance was the beautiful Caroline Pemberton, who modelled a glamorous silk Couture gown that i designed & made for her to wear at the 2007 Miss World contest in China, where she proudly represented Australia (see gown in photo's here). Her fishtail-shaped, personally fitted and sharply tailored Culture Shock creation was hand-painted by Yarramunua, and last night it looked just AWESOME on Caroline as she mingled amongst all Yarra's paintings... You can only imagine how it must have stood out to the other Miss World contestants last year when they were on the world stage- so uniquely Australian, and yet so chic and so sexy, too! This one-off Culture Shock showpiece will remain on show with Yarramunua's exhibition til the end of this week, so if you're in Melb, do drop by for a look.

WOW - what a trip! i ADORE Melbourne and always feel sad to leave so soon - it's such a pleasure to visit a vibrant, culturally diverse and happening city that makes everything so easy for it's guests... i will be back very soon, Melbourne, so don't go changin'!!! xxx

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kim and Carl do it in style...

i get VERY EXCITED, often goosebumps too, when i finally get to see my clients' wedding photos- it's a real warm, fuzzy feeling of achievement, a reward for all the hard work and long hours my team and i spend creating a Couture wedding gown, and a beautiful & happy ending to a friendship made between the bride and all of us here at Culture Shock... it's also often the first time i get to see the lucky bloke they end up marrying, too!

So let me introduce you to Kim and Carl, who celebrated their wedding earlier this year in Sydney, beautifully photographed by Guy Lerner at Guy Lerner Photography...

We created Kim's fabulous 2-piece Culture Shock Couture wedding gown from a fabulous vintage kimono we sourced together online ( a great way to go kimono shopping without leaving your keyboard!). Being a beautifully pale-skinned bride who wasn't into the often unflattering "white wedding look", the rich bold effect of black silk spliced together with the fab red/white kimono worked wonderfully against the industrial backdrop of their harbourside pier location. AND we're sure that Kim will be able to wear her fabulous wedding frock again and again... Just goes to show that breaking with bridal tradition can look amazing, and be so much fun to wear, too !!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

sparkling new website updates!

Websites are like paintings - no matter how much you work on them, they are never quite "finished" ... there is always more you want to add, change, improve or tinker with (perhaps the same goes for blogs, too...)

So, after several weeks of writing, editing, collecting wedding photos from my recent clients, and defining exactly what my label Culture Shock is all about, i am very pleased to announce my website is now fully updated, and that i am really, really excited about it!

i have revamped my PHOTO GALLERY section, with lots of fab new examples of our most recent "Couture Bridal" Gowns, and added a whole new gallery of "Inspirational Themes" which i hope will assist in inspiring brides to think outside the square, and step away from the outdated big white meringue look! Within these sections, I've added new photos from 2 recent photo shoots i did with Nicole Ritchie (awesome photographer!) and my latest obsession- fabulous bespoke hats made by the talented milliner Sandie Bizys, which complete the look with a dash of fun and old-school Hollywood glam.

in my NEWS section, i've added some "Testimonials" from a diverse range of my bridal clients over the past 6 odd years, with photos to show just who is saying what about Culture Shock... Also in NEWS, i have offered a group of downloadable PDF's, with articles i have written myself, containing loads of helpful tips and advice from the perspective of an excitable Sydney wedding gown designer who loves to share her knowledge and passion about all things bridal fashion!

so, if you haven't done so already, check out my website, and feel free to email or comment on it... i love to hear feedback!
xx lisa

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Taisho Chic at the Gallery

Whenever i start to feel uninspired or overloaded with mental "clutter" from daily life, there is always an easy fix to get the creative juices flowing once again - a visit to my nearest art gallery!!!
The Art Gallery of NSW, in Sydney's Domain, is such a cool place. Apart from the great location, and intriguing, totally hypnotic Aboriginal Art section, there is a stunning permanent collection of Asian arts, classic European paintings and contemporary Australia works, plus travelling exhibitions from around the globe. Earlier this week i took my Mum to see the current exhibition there called "Taisho Chic - Japanese Modernity, Nostalgia and Deco"... in a word - BEAUTIFUL! Although it's small and compact, the exquisite collection of kimono's, paintings, silk screens, funky tea-cups and pretty little fans and knick-knacks was unique, often quite quirky, and just fascinating! A real snap-shot of life back then, very well-presented, and very educational AND inspiring...
Showing works from approx the 1910-1930's period, it demonstrated how Japanese women were suddenly able to embrace parts of Western culture & fashion, without losing their own strong traditions and still staying respectable and feminine. It was a time of big changes, and fashion was enabling women to express themselves more than ever before. Some of the kimono prints and colour combinations look like they are from the 1980's or beyond- until you look at the program and realize it was from around 1930 or so... amazing. This show runs til 3rd August, and i thoroughly recommend it to anyone here in Sydney, the guided tour starts at 1pm daily. LOVED IT!!!! xx lisa

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dreamtime dinner with a President!

OK, so i am going to brag a little... sorry, i just can't help myself, it's so exciting!?!!
Tonight, my dear friend and former Miss World Australia, the lovely Caroline Pemberton, is off to the Opera House in Sydney to attend a gala black tie function... dressed in a fabulous couture Culture Shock gown!
Due to her wonderful and very dedicated fund-raising work in East Timor during the 2007 Miss World competition, Caroline met and befriended a very famous East Timorese leader, the Nobel Peace Laureate President José Ramos-Horta. Tonight Caroline will be accompanying Mr Ramos-Horta to a special dinner at the famous Sydney Opera House, and she'll be proudly wearing our black silk "Dreamtime Gown", as pictured.

My team and i created this one-off couture gown last year especially for Caroline to wear to the Miss World finals in China. The authentic Aboriginal dot painting was meticulously handpainted onto the silk by a very talented indigenous artist, Yarramunua. This gown has also been worn by Caroline at the Melbourne Grande Prix last year, and always grabs attention due to the colourful artwork, her gorgeously curvey figure, and of course the "spirit of reconciliation" in modern Australia, which i think this gown helps to represent. Yarramunua is having an art exhibition in Melbourne of his work in September, and this stunning creation will be travelling to the exhibition to be displayed as part of his body of work - i'll be heading down there to say G'day to him with dress in hand! xxx lisa

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Haute Couture Heaven!

Hooray - it's that time of year again....the July Haute Couture shows in Paris and Milan -
W O W !!! i've just been online to check out the latest from the world's greatest fashion designers of today - eternally cool Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, the amazing John Galliano at Dior, my multi-culti fave Jean Paul Gaultier, glam man Elie Saab, and the list goes on.... check it out at

Every year in January & July, the European Haute Couture shows are held, and whether they admit it or not, fashion designers around the world look to Paris & Milan to see what these masters are creating, for inspiration, direction and new ideas. Colours, new fabrics & textures, new ways of working with pleating, embroidery, draping, etc, are all on show here, the absolute best of the best. The collections are , of course, exaggerated versions of what most people will actually end up wearing in a year or two from now (yes, it often takes that long for a new trend to be accepted by the general public!) but it's always impressive and often mind-blowing to see the new concepts of beauty and fashion...the sheer amount of work that goes into each artisan- made creation (Couture gowns sell from USD$20,000 and upwards!) with such fine tailoring, magnificent patternmaking and cutting, and legendary craftsmanship... oh, it brings tears to my eyes! I LOVE FASHION!!!!! xx lisa

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

sneak preview... my latest design

oooohhhh, i am excited! i have just received some photo's back from a recent shoot i did with the FABULOUS Nicole Ritchie, a cool Sydney photographer... our lovely model Eve wore this outfit with just the right amount of "attitude" and the pics look just fabulous! Accessorised with vintage gloves and cane, the black & white corset is hand-crafted from a funky print by legendary wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst (now there's a fascinating story...) and the silk Dupion skirt features a ruffled train and bustle at the back. i have recently been collaborating with the divine Sandie Bizys, a milliner in Annandale, Sydney, and she created the MOST AMAZZZZING hats to match each outfit in my shoot. More pics to appear on my website check it out! xxx lisa

Monday, June 30, 2008

to blog or not to blog?

Hello, my name is Lisa, and i am the designer and owner of Culture Shock.... it's a funky and highly original Couture Bridal label based in Sydney, Australia. Check out my website on

Wow- i feel like a child taking it's first delicate little tiny steps.... into the brave new world of The Blog! i am very much a toddler at this early stage, though (or am i still crawling!??!) ... a slightly techno-phobic wedding gown designer such as myself is not always equipped with the kind of technical wizardry that may be necessary for this kind of thing! goes.. wish me luck!

In my blog i'll be sharing tips on designer wedding gown styles, how to choose a wedding gown design that suits you best, beautiful bridal fabrics and the hottest new trends associated with bridal gowns and all things wedding and fashion-related! Plus photos from my Culture Shock fashion shoots, and sneak previews of my latest bridal designs, and much more! so, stay tuned.... cheers, Lisa....aka Culture Shock Creative!