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Fashion designer who made bridal gowns for Elton John's wedding to Renate Blauel recalls the moment she was asked to plan the special day

Fashion designer who made bridal gowns for Elton John's wedding to Renate Blauel recalls the moment she was asked to plan the special day

 

Australian fashion designer Keri Craig-Lee remembers vividly the day she was asked to design bridal gowns for Elton John's wedding to Renate Blauel.

Aged in her mid-20s, Ms Craig-Lee was due to fly to Brisbane for a wedding that weekend so she quickly dropped off some things at her store in Sydney's Double Bay in February, 1984.

But before she could run out the door to get to a hair appointment that she was already late to, her mother Dianne Craig insisted she'd meet a customer.

Australian fashion designer Keri Craig-Lee designed bridal gowns for Elton John's wedding to Renate Blauel (pictured outside St Mark's church in Sydney on February 14, 1984)

Images: wedding dress styles

'I haven't got time,' the Queensland woman responded to her mother as she recalled the day to The Brisbane Times.

Her mother continued: 'This is Renate. She's getting married on Tuesday.'

'I said: 'That's exciting, congratulations'. Being a bit, you know, whatever.'

And as she inched for the door, her mother firmly said: 'Keri... Renate is marrying Elton John on Tuesday.

'I never got to the wedding that day.'

Three days later, she designed the wedding gown, bridesmaids' dresses, Sir Elton's bow tie and organised the flowers for the special day on Valentine's Day in 1984.

At the time, Ms Craig-Lee's factory was based in Brisbane - so the designer spent the next 72 hours flying back and forth to Sydney.

Sir Elton tied the knot to Renate, a German recording engineer, in a lavish wedding ceremony at St Mark's church at Sydney's Darling Point.

However, the pair filed for divorce four years later.

Ms Craig-Lee's love for fashion came after spending most of her life growing up around her parents who owned the clothing manufacturing business House of Craig, which she now runs.

At the age of 19, she started her fashion designing career after growing up around her parents who were both in the industry.

The now 59-year-old has received a medal in the General Division of the Order of Australia for her work in clothing manufacturing and business.

'The Queen is the most wonderful woman in the world to me,' she said.

The businesswoman said she thought Prince Philip was 'charming' when she had lunch with him at Brisbane City Hall and danced with Prince Charles.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised the designer after she was included on the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

'It is tremendous that one of Brisbane's most iconic business women and talented designers has been recognised with an honour,' Ms Palaszczuk said.

Related: plus size bridesmaid dresses

 

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