Designer Spotlight: Kate McDonald

We are delighted to kick off our new blog series highlighting Gilded Bridal designers by introducing you to the incredibly talented woman behind Kate McDonald Bridal – Katherine McDonald!

We’ve carried Kate McDonald bridal gowns at Gilded since the day we opened, and we just adore her beautifully classic designs. She sources sumptuous and sometimes surprising fabrics and laces from Europe, and applies them with a perfectionist’s eye to timeless silhouettes.

Katherine is one of our favorite people, and she’s a North Carolina native to boot! At New York Bridal Market, you are likely to find us enjoying a night out on the town with Katherine and her team, and we are delighted to consider her a friend as well as one of Gilded’s top bridal designers. You can see the designer hard at work in this pic from April 2018 bridal market: fitting models is an art!

We managed to catch up with Katherine and pick her brain about what makes her tick, and to learn how Kate McDonald Bridal came about:

GILDED: What’s your short-story? Where are you from, where are you now, what is important to you?

KATHERINE: I was born in Charlotte, went to UNC-Chapel Hill, moved to Atlanta for a brief stint for design school, back to Charlotte and then moved to Charleston in 2003.  I love SC but will always be a NC girl at heart.

GILDED: How did you get into fashion design, and what do you love about designing wedding dresses?

KATHERINE: I have wanted to be a fashion designer since I was a little girl.  I grew up making dresses for dances and big events in my life. After college, I decided to go to design school for a few months.  I absolutely loved it but the reality of paying for school on my own was a shock.  I didn’t stay long and left to get a job in the corporate world.  After a few grown up jobs, I couldn’t get design out of my head.  I quit a sales job and six weeks later had my first trunk show selling handmade skirts out of fun prints.  One thing led to another and 14 years later I am designing bridesmaids and bridal gowns.  Bridal is my absolute favorite because of the amazing fabrics that I am able to work with from around the world.  My dream is to visit each fabric mill in Italy, Spain, and France that we have worked with through the years

GILDED: What makes Kate McDonald dresses special or unique? Do you have a favorite?

KATHERINE: When a bride chooses a Kate McDonald dress she is supporting a small woman owned and run business. She is supporting the American Dream.  I started my original line LulaKate with $300 in my bank account.  How I ever made it work to this point is beyond me.  All of our dresses are designed in Charleston and then either sewn in Tennessee, Los Angeles or NYC so you are also supporting an American made product. If I am ever in need of a wedding dress again, I would wear a version of the Emerson, Ophelia or new Wilder gown.  Anything that is a little different without being too over the top.

GILDED: How would you describe the Kate McDonald bride?

KATHERINE: My bride loves simplicity with a romantic touch.  She appreciates details and fabric but she also can have a carefree and whimsical attitude.

GILDED: What do you wish brides knew about wedding dresses before they set out to find theirs?

KATHERINE: I wish brides would only bring one or two people to their appointments.  Too many people can be overwhelming and confusing for the bride.  Only bring those that you truly want their opinion.

GILDED: What do you do for fun or in your down time?

KATHERINE: I love yoga and gardening.  My boys are very active and I find myself on the soccer field or golf course often which I love.  My father has a sailboat and we go sailing  a few times a year.  Being on the water is extremely peaceful and therapeutic for me.

GILDED: What are you working on now that excites you – whether in your bridal line or in any aspect of your life?

KATHERINE: I am looking forward to finishing my 2019 collection and going to bridal market in October.  It’s always fun to see the owners of the boutiques that carry my line and also meet new people.

GILDED: What were some of your favorite parts of your own wedding?

KATHERINE: My Dad plays the drums and he played with the band.  It was a special moment to see him so happy and in his element on my big day.

GILDED: What are five things you can’t live without in your daily life?  (In no particular order)

KATHERINE: 1.  Coffee- slightly addicted.  2.  My co-workers- they definitely keep me going. 3. My boys- keep me young.  4.  Sunscreen- I burn easily. 5.  Laughter.

GILDED: Book or TV show you are currently loving?

KATHERINE: The last book I read that I loved was The Paris Wife.  I love historical fiction.  I also just read a book on Numerology and what it means when you see the same sequence of numbers over and over again.