Designer Interview: Leanne Marshall

This is a first for The Overwhelmed Bride and I am beyond excited that we had the opportunity to interview three absolutely AMAZING wedding gown designers! Over the next three days, you are going to get an inside look at the lives of these designers, some of their favorite pieces, and some advice they wanted to tell you, the bride! So sit back, relax, and let's get to know the brains (and hands) behind those stunning gowns!

Leanne Marshall began designing her own pieces at the young age of 12 for her ballet and dance performances. And just a short time after, at age 18, she won the Levi's Dockers Scholarship and was awarded her amazing education at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. With her first line starting in 2006, Leanimal, she had such tremendous success that she was able to quit her full time job just a year and a half later and put her heart and soul into her label, full-time.

In 2008, Leanne was selected as a contestant on Project Runway, Season 5, where she was ultimately crowned the winner! Immediately following her win, she moved to New York City and since, has had her collections featured in New York Fashion Week and fashion weeks around the world since. Her dresses have been seen in Martha Stewart Weddings, US Weekly, The Post, TV Guide, The New York Times, People, Elle, LIFE, National Geographic, Lucky and countless others.

And finally, in 2011, the bridal industry snagged her up (woohoo!) and she came out with her signature bridal line. She has the most stunning gowns, and I have even been lucky enough to be able to model one in one of my favorites!

I hope you are as excited as I am to learn more about her designs...and maybe even find a potential wedding gown for your big day!

What gives you inspiration for a new piece?

I design to flatter the female form. Inspirations for designs come to me while I am draping fabric.

What is the process once you have an idea?

For me, it is the reverse. The idea happens during the process. I allow the materials to create the dress.

What fabrics are your favorite to work with?

Silk chiffon, silk organza and beads!

How do you come up with the names for your designs?

Sometimes it is the first client who buys a dress or the celebrity it was designed for, other times we look through baby name listings and choose the ones that we love (and suit the feel of the dress).

Which designs are your all-time favorites?

My favorite two pieces are the "cabbage" dress and the tuxi-dress.

Do you design with a specific bride in mind?

I design for brides that are not looking for a traditional dress. I appeal to the bride who likes a more ethereal feel.

What is your advice to brides who are still searching for "the one"?

Try lots of styles, even the ones that you think you may not like. There is a fine line between like and dislike. Sometimes when something is new to you, especially when it is on a hanger, you may think you dislike it. You may actually find that that feeling was just like, disguised as newness, when you actually put it on. And if you don't like it, what was the harm?

I also recommend that you bring a small party, like your best friend or your mom. The worst thing you can do is gather an opinionated group of  'mean girls'. In an effort to be the one who shares their 'unbiased' opinion, they will try to put you in their dress instead of helping you to find your own. When our brides come with a 'mean girls club' in tow, they always come back a second time, alone.

Who would you love to see in one of your gowns?

There are several lesser known talents I would love to dress. I'm sure you haven't heard of them...Anne Hathaway, Taylor Swift and Cate Blanchett.

Our brides all have different styles in mind for their wedding day. Can you inspire us with some of your designs for our brides who have not yet found their perfect gown?


A huge thank you to Leanne for allowing us to take some time out of her busy day to share her background, inspiration, and her advice for you!

If you would like to browse more of her designs, begin following her inspiration on social media, or find a store near you that carries her gowns, here is everything you need :)