With showstoppers like this dress, it's no wonder that many celebrities are big fans. With showstoppers like this dress, it's no wonder that many celebrities are big fans. With showstoppers like this dress, it's no wonder that many celebrities are big fans. (Photo: Courtesy Galia Lahav)

Meet the mastermind behind these eye-popping bridal gowns

Designer Galia Lahav creates stunning wedding dresses for brides who want to dazzle.

Brides in search of that special gown for their weddings are intimately familiar with the names Vera Wang, Monique Lhullier, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Reem Acra and Marchesa. But women in the know who want exquisitely extravagant, couture showstoppers are also turning to Israeli designer Galia Lahav for luxurious, intricate hand-made creations in silk and lace, beaded with pearls and crystals.

Galia's dresses are extravagant and intricate and not for the faint of heart.Galia's dresses are extravagant and intricate and not for the faint of heart. (Photo: Courtesy Galia Lahav)

Lahav creates haute couture bridal and evening gowns out of her studio in Tel Aviv, where 100 people work to create some of the most stunning wedding dresses. She sells them all over the world, in more than 40 stores in Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States. Stars including Vanessa Hudgens, Nicole Scherzinger, Meghan Trainor, Taraji P. Henson and Kristin Cavallari are just a few of the celebrities who’ve worn her gowns on the red carpet.

“I create something new and modern for brides,” Lahav told From The Grapevine. “I have always wanted to combine modern-day fashion with bridal gowns while moving in a direction that is not known to be the traditional bridal gown. I believe that is what sets me apart, the fact that I bring a new fashion to brides.”

Lahav's brides are usually seeking something luxurious and more dramatic for their wedding.Lahav's brides are usually seeking something luxurious and more dramatic for their wedding. (Photo: Courtesy Galia Lahav)

From a family of seamstresses, she learned the trade as a girl. “My mother taught me to sew. She would make stunning matching dresses for my sister and me when were kids, and as I grew up I naturally developed an interest. I started sewing around the age of 12,” Lahav said. “I started out by just fixing my own clothing and then my interest in designing my own garments started naturally. I loved that I had the ability to make whatever I desired and wear it.”

Combining her interests in fashion and art led her to start a business in 1985 in a small coastal town in Israel, providing designers with gorgeous custom-made lace appliqués. “The idea to make my own bridal dresses started through personal requests and it slowly gained popularity through my community,” Lahav said. “I faced challenges such as finding my own signature style, which took some time to solidify.”

A model shows off one of the dresses from the ready-to-wear collection.A model shows off one of the dresses from the ready-to-wear collection. (Photo: Courtesy Galia Lahav)

Her typical customers “are usually brides who are seeking something luxurious and more dramatic for their wedding,” and they pay $10,000-$20,000 for sample dresses, and more for special orders. “I do a lot of custom made dresses for elite clients around the world,” says Lahav. “The most expensive dress that I have created was a custom one priced at $70,000.”

Fashion designer Galia Lahav started her career as an art teacher before she moved into designing wedding gowns.Fashion designer Galia Lahav started her career as an art teacher before she moved into designing wedding gowns. (Photo: Courtesy Galia Lahav)

Married and the mother of “three amazing children,” Lahav feels “very grateful that my business has developed into a family business. My daughter recently married and I made her a beautiful custom gown for her and for my son’s wife as well.”

To what does she attribute her success? “I put my heart into everything that I do,” Lahav states simply. “I believe in hard work and exceeding people’s expectations and every season I use all of my effort to do so.”

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