Delicate silk crepe, luxurious French lace, intricate embellishment and layers of floaty tulle, yes, Steven Khalil’s bridal wear is reminiscent of fairytale fantasies. His designs are renowned for their elegance and beauty, combining classical elements of bygone eras with a contemporary edge. In other words, even if you’re not super girly, or nowhere close to getting married, you’ll have a hard time resisting his dreamy gowns. And with stylish fans like Kylie Jenner, Jesinta Campbell, Guiliana Rancic and our very own Bianca Cheah, you know Khalil’s onto a winning formula. We chatted with the Australian designer about his inspiration, international expansion and how to avoid common bridal faux pas’.
Meet Steven Khalil
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I can remember it clearly. I was watching the wedding of Princess Diana, it was so magical, awe-inspiring and a milestone moment. I knew then that I wanted to design bridal gowns with drama and make every woman feel amazing.
Describe the ‘Steven Khalil’ woman?
There isn’t one particular “woman” as such. I like to dress women from all walks of life with different backgrounds and stories as it makes my life more interesting. But I like strong, feminine and chic women who know what they want and want to look fantastic.
You’re known for your elegant, fairytale-esque gowns – where do you get your inspiration?
I think every designer will tell you that inspiration comes in all forms and from everywhere. I look to architecture for lines and films for colour and silhouettes but it could be the changing of the seasons or a fabric I see that gives me a glimpse into another idea and I can go from there.
Do you have any advice for brides when it comes to choosing a wedding dress?
To be true to yourself and not try to be anyone else. This sounds simple, but so many brides see another gown and want to emulate it. It doesn’t always mean that that gown is right for them. Brides feel pressure to be in fashion, but the reality is that simple, timeless styles will always be in fashion. If it fits you beautifully and you look confident then these are the most important elements.
How much time is needed to make a gown?
It depends on the fabric, embellishment and work that is needed to go into my design. But usually I like to see a bride for at least six months before we deliver her dream gown.
Loved working with @nikkikphillips on her Stunning wedding Gown! Here in the design stage. @scottehler photography #stevenkhalil A photo posted by Steven Khalil (@steven_khalil) on
What is the bridal faux pas you see most often?
Brides trying to copy designs or something that they love but that doesn’t suit them or their shape.
What styles or shapes are on-trend this season?
I’m seeing a return to simplicity with more focus on fit and tailoring – these elements are what I am trying to grow within my new collections.
If you could dress anyone in your designs, who would it be?
I have so many women that I would love to dress. Jennifer Lopez, Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard are a few, but also I love working with all my brides and clients. Each and every one of them brings me something different and makes me feel like I’m glad I have the career that I do – it’s very rewarding.
Do you have any advice for young designers?
Same as any other industry- work work and keep working! It is never easy no matter how long you do it for, but remember to ask yourself if you are doing it for the right reasons. If fame and glory is all you are after that’s fine, but that isn’t why most designers become what they are. They do it for the incredible satisfaction of creating.
We Adore this image from Amanda’s wedding album. #stevenkhalil wedding gown A photo posted by Steven Khalil (@steven_khalil) on
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Fame and glory! Haha! No just joking, I really want to expand my brand into the international market. We have so much interest and I believe it is time. I would like to diversify and offer my clients ranges and options all over the world and to grow the business into a multi layered platform that offers fans and customers evening, day and bridal with accessory lines and stores.
You must have an extremely busy schedule. Do you have any tips for bringing more balance into your life?
Everyone is busy these days and I’m no different. With the free time I do have I want to spend it with friends and family and make it count. I really need relaxation to unwind and I like quiet places or going out for dinner rather than huge parties – I’m pretty simple.