Photography: Ed Peers
Model agent Isabel Gordon describes herself as a “style chameleon.” From one day to the next, she can opt for totally different looks. This didn’t make deciding what to wear for her destination wedding an easy task! Torn between going bohemian or classic, she came across Tel Aviv based Lihi Hod and knew that either way, this was the designer who would create her dress. With just six months to go until her wedding date, Isabel changed her dress entirely, opting for a regal silhouette that would perfectly complement the Scottish Manor House she’d chosen as her wedding venue. Here, Isabel shares with White Dossier the pressure she felt around creating her bridal style and why listening to yourself is the only way to ensure you feel happy and confident come your wedding day.
Isabel’s Bridal Style
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style doesn’t follow any rule. Every friend of mine thought I would be going for completely different looks on my wedding day. One day, I can be very classic and the next completely bohemian. It totally depends on how I feel that day. I’m a bit of a chameleon when it comes to style!
Does working in the creative industry affect your relationship to style?
I work as a model agent so yes and no! My day to day life is surrounded by beautiful images, people and clothes but I still get to shut my door to it all at night.
Did you find it easy, or difficult to decide what to wear for your wedding day?
I am quite a laid-back person when it comes to occasion wear. I will either fall in love with an outfit, or absolutely hate it. I’m not someone who would keep looking around and around just to “be sure.” So, in that regard I found it quite easy as I literally went to three places to look at bridal. In terms of deciding what style of look I wanted to go for on my wedding day, that was much harder and I was completely torn! The dress I ended up wearing was actually not the dress I first designed. I originally decided to go quite bohemian and floaty but as the months went on, my gut was telling me it wasn’t right. I knew deep down I would feel more self-conscious in that style of dress so in the end I went for something quite classic with a twist.
Did you feel any pressure around what you’d wear to walk down the aisle in?
Absolutely! And I hated it! You spend your whole life thinking about this day and what you will look like, so when it finally comes to deciding what to wear there is this overwhelming pressure. I certainly placed that on myself! In my last fitting, I burst into tears after I put the dress on as I finally realised that no one else’s opinion could take away how I felt in that moment. Without a doubt, the dress I chose made me feel like the most confident version of myself.
What’s your one piece of advice for brides starting to create their bridal looks?
Take your time! I changed my mind six months before my wedding and that was okay! Obviously, that is the beauty of designing a dress yourself but it can totally relate to picking a designer dress too. Think less about what people expect of you and what’s on “trend” and more about what makes you feel the happiest when wearing it.
Where did you turn to for bridal inspiration?
I didn’t really! I preferred to look at red carpet looks over brides and just trusted my gut.
Have you had a recent bridal crush?
I actually really loved Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress. I think she looked beautiful and a few people texted me saying it had aspects that really looked like my dress.
Shop Isabel’s bridal style
Isabel’s Bridal Looks
Talk us through your custom wedding dress by Israeli designer Lihi Hod…
I decided to go for a classic regal-esque dress. In my opinion, it was quite understated, yet also had elements which really stood out. It was made from Spanish silk and had a structured off-the-shoulder bodiced top and a relaxed big skirt that wasn’t so big, it was overpowering. I didn’t want the dress to be too plain so we made a belt edged with pearls which came out into a beautiful bow as the back which also had pearl and stone detailing. I also wanted to carry the theme on the top of the bodice and sleeves which also both had pearls edged all around them.
How did you come across Lihi Hod?
I knew I wanted and Israeli designer, but everyone I came across was not very me. Too sexy and just too much. I am a small person and overly embellished, grandeur looks don’t carry well on me. I came across Lihi and her designs on Instagram and when I looked her up I loved that she had worked at Dior and seemed to have a lovely laid back approach. This is totally true even for the studio, which is in the middle of an off the beaten path in a tiny house. I absolutely loved visiting there. It felt untouched and like a little secret.
What did the design process involve?
In Israel they are so laid back! When some of my friends have had to have fifteen fittings when designing a dress in London, I had about four. When I called them up in a panic saying I wanted to change the whole look of my dress they just shrugged their shoulders and said no problem. There weren’t really any drawings, more just me sending images of dresses I loved and them bringing me different materials and examples when I was there. This suited my personality as it felt like nothing was definite and If I wanted to change anything I could.
Did you know you always wanted to wear a veil?
Definitely! I think the veil can really bring the look together. In my case, I used this as an opportunity to wear my “something old.” My grandma who I was very close to sadly passed away ten years ago and I used some of her pearls to edge of my veil. It was totally special and unique and made me very emotional wearing it. She always used to say I look like Audrey Hepburn (I wish!) and I just know that me wearing a classic dress like that on my wedding day would have made her so happy.
Where did you get your shoes? Did they stay on all night?
I bought Miu Miu court shoes that were decorated in pearls and stones. It was a risk as they aren’t the usual wedding shoe brand but they matched my dress so perfectly it seemed silly not to get them. Unfortunately, they were not comfortable (despite all the pre-walking around in them and Voltarol gel), and they came off after my first dance. I didn’t care for one second though as I was too busy dancing the night away and being on my husband’s shoulders!
Shop Isabel’s pre party look
Did you have an after-party look?
I am not sure why but I was completely against an after-party look. I am not someone who would wear a slinky short number anyway and I just felt like a wedding dress should make you feel so special that you’d never want to take it off, let alone in the middle of your wedding after only wearing it for a few hours.
What jewelry did you wear on your wedding day?
On my wedding day, my parents gifted me a beautiful pair of drop pearl earrings and a pearl bracelet cuff which they had made in New York. They were so delicate and perfectly complemented the dress. I didn’t wear any other accessories. I contemplated with the whole flower in hair look or statement piece in hair but I just thought it was too much and I didn’t want it to be overkill.
Describe your bridal bouquet to us…
My bouquet was made of Feverfew Daisies and Stephanotis which we had little droplets of pearls placed into. They came together by white silk ribbon and we left the ties to flow long against my dress in quite an untouched way. As my dress was quite classic, I wanted my flowers and set-up to be quite whimsical and magical. This perfectly matched the location which was a big Scottish Manor house that also had the most amazing gardens and lake.
How do you feel when you look at pictures of yourself in your dress?
Looking at photos is the absolute best! And not just photos from the night but even the fittings. Knowing I designed that dress myself and it was my vision that brought it to life is the most satisfying feeling ever. It was a total dream to wear and I wouldn’t change any of it!
You had a destination wedding. Talk us through any other looks you bought for your wedding celebrations…
I had two celebrations pre-wedding. A Friday night dinner at the wedding venue for family and a pre-party on the Saturday for all the guests that were already up there. For the Friday night dinner I knew I wanted something sleek and easy and I really wanted a jumpsuit. I came across a beautiful Emilia Wickstead number which fit like a glove and flared out at the bottom. The fact that it needed no alterations kind of seemed like fate. The pre-party was much harder to find an outfit for. We themed it to be a festival and asked all the guests to come in their best festival outfit (Coachella rather than Glastonbury!) I felt a lot of pressure in finding an outfit for this as I felt it was important to wear a well put together but fun outfit, rather than a mish mash of headgear, glitter body, cowboy boots etc. I still wanted my outfit to look like me and I also felt passionately about not wearing an over the top bridal white outfit. In the end I found an amazing co-ord from Zimmerman which was a red pattern with glimmers of white on a structured shirt and super high-waisted shorts. I then paired the outfit with Laurence Dacade white ankle boots which had butterflies on them. And my florist made me an amazing flower crown to top the look off!
What did your bridesmaids wear and how did you find their looks?
I decided to get my bridesmaid dresses made as it seemed the easiest option when they all have different styles and body types. I should have thought about the fact that three out of the six lived in different countries though as that made it much harder! I found a lovely designer who lived in Hitchin called Caroline Couture. I wasn’t that precious about the bridesmaid dresses so I let my sister, my Maid of Honour, pick her dress first and then I based the bridesmaid dresses around that. My sister went for a beautiful nude dress from Jenny Packham which had silver embroidery on top so the bridesmaids wore silky silvery numbers with individual-ised tops.
Did you help your husband decide on what he would wear? What was he suited and booted in?
No, actually! My husband has good style and I trusted him to make the decisions. I felt that if he didn’t get to see what I was wearing then it was only right that I didn’t see what he was too. I knew he wanted it to tie in with Scotland so I could have guessed there would be some tartan in there but it was done so tastefully and he looked bloody handsome! He designed his suit with the Clements and Church and still talks about how much he loved the team and the experience.
Isabel’s Hair & Make-up
Describe your wedding make-up and hair to us? Who did these for you.
I knew I wanted my wedding make-up to suit the dress and to be quite classic and not over the top. I am not someone who puts on a full face anyway (glam does not suit me!) so there was no point doing it for my wedding day. Because of my work, I am privileged to know top make-up artists and I knew I wanted Amanda Harrington from In Parlour straight away. She is a body countourist by trade so her makeup literally blends into your face perfectly. It helps that she is one of the nicest people I have ever met and made me so calm throughout the whole weekend. For hair, I had my childhood hairdresser with me who is just amazing and can come up with concepts within seconds. Her name is Claire Zottola and we literally did a hair trial a couple of weeks before and then changed everything on the day anyway. I knew I wanted it all up because I scrape my hair up most days but I didn’t want it to be super done-up and regal. We managed this by incorporating lots of twists into a low bun.
Did you do any skin prep/ hair prep in the lead up to your wedding?
I am very low maintenance so I can’t say I did! I am into fitness and wellness though so I just ate a super clean diet and hoped for the best! I also went for weekly LED Light Therapy at Cowshed.
26th August 2019
Kinross House, Scotland
Number of Guests
Big Day Designs
Planner, Decor, Flowers & Food
Wedding Planner: Dream Events. Flowers: Simon Lycett. Food: Allison Price.
Manor House / English Garden with a twist
The most memorable moment from your wedding
Either seeing my husband for the first time down the aisle or my dad seeing me for the first time. He isn’t a crier and he balled.