Ricki-Lee Coulter got into a public spat with bridal designer Johanna Johnson earlier this week over just who created her 2015 wedding dress.
The singer, 35, had told fans on Instagram she’d ‘designed’ the gown herself and ‘worked with an amazing French atelier to bring it to life’ – claims Johanna disputed.
Ricki-Lee’s representative later told Daily Mail Australia the dress ‘was always a collaboration’ between the Australian Idol star and Johanna, which was made clear in a New Idea article six years ago.
But the argument escalated on Tuesday when Johanna insisted ‘there was never a collaboration’ between the pair, and instead claimed she had created the ‘exclusive design’ entirely herself.
Bride wars: Ricki-Lee Coulter’s wedding dress spat has escalated with bridal designer Johanna Johnson refuting the singer’s claim her 2015 gown was a ‘collaboration’ between the pair
‘The gown was never a “collaboration”. We do not work that way,’ Johanna wrote on Instagram Stories.
‘It was an exclusive design, developed and created in detail by myself, and laboriously produced by my team.’
Ricki-Lee’s representative also said: ‘[Ricki-Lee] had one fitting in Sydney with Johanna and further fittings in LA and Paris by herself.’
But Johanna alleged: ‘We organised Ms. Lee’s further fittings for her in LA, not Paris.’
Statement: Johanna insisted on Tuesday ‘there was never a collaboration’ between her and Ricki-Lee, and instead claimed she had created the ‘exclusive design’ entirely herself
New Zealand-born, Australian-based designer Johanna continued: ‘This statement by Ms. Lee’s team is a poor attempt at deflection, instead of addressing the truth.
‘It does not explain her written statement that she “designed it” and worked with an amazing French atelier to “bring it to life”.
‘This incorrect response leaves us no other recourse than to explore all other legal options available to us.’
In response to Johanna’s claims, a rep for Ricki-Lee told Daily Mail Australia ‘the facts are below’ and shared a snippet of her New Idea wedding interview from 2015.
The article read: ‘The 29-year-old hitmaker glowed in a custom-made ivory sulk and tulle gown with a full skirt and cascading train, designed in collaboration with couturier Johanna Johnson.
‘”‘I knew exactly what I wanted,” smiles Ricki-Lee. “I’ve had the image in my head of what my dress would look like ever since I can remember. I’ve sketched it a million times.”‘
Fitting: Johanna also refuted Ricki-Lee’s claims she had ‘one fitting in Sydney [with JJ] and further fittings in LA and Paris by herself.’ ‘We organised Ms. Lee’s further fittings for her in LA, not Paris,’ she added
Johanna had earlier responded to Ricki-Lee’s claims she’d designed the dress herself, writing on Instagram: ‘It was a pleasure to create this for you. It would also be nice to receive the credit for the gift.’
‘It took us many weeks to create this for you. This was also in LA?’ she added, claiming the location was her American studio, not Paris as Ricki-Lee had stated.
She added: ‘This is highly unprofessional, untrue and frankly unkind. You are well aware I designed this custom gown. My team and I spent many weeks creating this exclusive gown for you.
‘Your fittings were also in LA – not Paris – where we arranged them for you. This beautiful gown was one of my favourites we had the pleasure of making over many long hours.’
Johanna went on to say she was saddened the pop star hadn’t acknowledged her ‘world-class, Australian-made gown’.
Claims: Ricki-Lee was asked in the comments section who designed her fairytale gown. ‘Me! I designed it and worked with an amazing French atelier to bring it to life,’ she replied to the fan
War of words: Australian-based Johanna, who also has a studio in Los Angeles, responded in the comments: ‘It was a pleasure to create this for you. It would also be nice to receive the credit for the gift. It took us many weeks to create this for you. This was also in LA?’
Ricki-Lee did not respond at the time, and within hours had deleted the Instagram post in which she claimed credit for the design, and below which Johanna had left several angry comments.
A furious Johanna then shared a series of posts on her own account, describing her hurt over what she claims is the singer’s refusal to credit her for the design.
‘The only part of Paris in this gown is the hand beaded Parisian lace at the neckline. From my own collection, which I personally selected in Paris,’ she said.
Upset: After Ricki-Lee seemingly did not respond, an angry Johanna then shared a series of posts on her own Instagram account, describing her hurt over what she claims is the singer’s refusal to credit her for the design
Dispute: Johanna claimed the wedding dress fitting photos were taken in her seamstress studio in Los Angeles – not in Paris
‘I adore this gown and our work on it. It saddens me greatly that in this day and age some women still cannot support others. I thought we were past that?’
The designer then uploaded a photo of Ricki-Lee in the wedding dress, alongside a long caption which read: ‘Thank you to all the genuine and professional artists we have had the pleasure of working with who always give credit where due.
‘They most definitely would not create untrue narratives as to the location of their fittings/designer etc, purely for their own ego.’
Hurt: The designer then uploaded a photo of Ricki-Lee (left) in the wedding dress, alongside a long caption which read: ‘Thank you to all the genuine and professional artists we have had the pleasure of working with who always give credit where due’
She concluded: ‘It also saddens me greatly that someone could risk putting a ‘cloud’ over their own special gown and day? Why not apologise, and set things straight.’
In response, a rep for Ricki-Lee confirmed she had credited Johanna in the past, and had also stated the dress was a collaboration between the pair.
Press reports: At the time of her nuptials, publications including Daily Mail Australia, New Idea, The West Australian, Mamamia and Yahoo! reported Johanna Johnson had designed the dress
The whole saga began on Friday when Ricki-Lee posted throwback photos to Instagram from her bridal fitting she claims took place in Paris.
The first picture was a mirror selfie that displayed the gown’s plunging neckline at the centre, while the second image showed off the full tulle skirt.
‘Six years ago in Paris…my final wedding dress fitting,’ the TV personality wrote before describing the ‘three parts’ that made up the dress in detail.
Married: The Do It Like That singer tied the knot with Richard Harrison (right), who is also her manager, in a chateau in France in August 2015
‘The under part was the slimline dress with a silk base and a soft tulle overlay and a split up the centre so I could party and dance in it,’ she explained.
‘Then there was a beautiful big tulle layered skirt that went over top and was belted at the waist. THEN there was a big tulle train that hooked on to the back of the skirt under the belt for the drama for the ceremony and photos.’
Ricki-Lee jokingly added that she ‘whipped that thing off when the party got started.’
The Do It Like That singer tied the knot with Richard Harrison, who is also her manager, in France in August 2015, surrounded by close family and friends.
Fancy: Ricki-Lee had posted the throwback photos to Instagram so her 277,000 followers could view the beautiful dress she wore for her special day. Pictured on Australia’s Got Talent