I have long swooned over Amsale Aberra’s couture bridal gowns. The pockets, oh how I loved the pockets. The simplicity and the elegance. I was delighted when Amsale agreed to answer a few questions to celebrate the launch of her collection in Australia through the Angela Wilson Bridal Boutique a few months ago. (Check out Ms Floral’s review of the event here)

Tell me a little about yourself, your background?

I was born in Ethiopia and moved to the states to study commercial art. While in school a revolution broke out in my native country, which forced me to stay in the United States to support myself and complete my undergraduate degree through a number of odd jobs. I would design and sew my own clothing because I couldn’t afford to buy new things. That’s when I first thought of being a fashion designer. I enrolled in New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and started my career as a design assistant for Harve Bernard.

How did you get into the wedding industry?

While planning my 1985 wedding I scoured the stores to find a simple, refined wedding dress. I found little in the way of clean, sophisticated gowns, and discovered an untapped niche in the bridal market—elegant and understated dresses. Everything was so overdone and with too much ornamentation. I placed a classified advertisement for custom-made gowns for other brides-to-be who shared my taste in sophisticated dresses and started my business out of my New York City loft apartment.

‘What makes you different as a designer?

I aspire to design dresses that women will love 20 years from now, when they look at their wedding album – dresses that are forever modern and truly timeless. In addition, I think that my clean aesthetic fills a niche in the bridal market that very few designers cover. Each gown we make is made to order for each customer in our New York City studio. Quality and luxury are two things that are very important to me and we have uncompromising standards.

Do you design a new collection/s every year?

I design a new collection twice a year – every six months.

How do you find the inspiration to design a collection?

I take inspiration from what is current in RTW. I also think a lot about the fabrication of the dresses. Often I’m inspired by the drape of a new silk or the details of a beautiful beaded lace.

What inspires you?

I am most inspired by the brides I design for


How would you describe your style?

I love to be comfortable – especially in the summer months. I opt for simple silhouettes with great details.

Angela Wilson has brought your collection to Australia, how you view the Australian bridal industry?

I am new to the Australian bridal industry – and am excited to be here. We now sell gowns in many different countries and it’s interesting to see that while wedding traditions vary greatly, the bride’s dress is an integral part of the celebration all over the world. Dressing so many brides from different cultures is an honor. I cherish the opportunity to be a part of the Australian Bridal Market.

Do you see a particular incoming trend in weddings for the next 12 months?

Brides are loving adding color to their wedding-day ensemble. On one recent dress, I added a lilac sash to an ivory gown. I can see brides playing with more color in the upcoming year.

Where do you see Amsale in 5 years time?

I look forward to expanding and seeing more of my dresses outside of America, in Europe, Africa, Asia. And I look forward to getting to know more about the culture and wedding traditions in all of these places.

What are your favourite wedding ideas?

Wedding celebrations are getting so big these days, but my favourite weddings include some traditional aspects and also center around family.

What are 5 clever ideas to create a stylish wedding?
1. Pick your venue first, and then select a dress that ties in well with the feel of your event.

2. Think about the season and time of day (as well as venue) when you pick your dress. That way everything will be consistent.

3. Stay up to date with your favorite wedding blogs. They have great advice and make the process of planning FUN, instead of stressful.

4. Buy fashion magazines in addition to wedding magazines – you’ll find great ideas for hair and make-up that don’t look too “bridal”.

5. This is more of a tip – but make sure your wedding is your style – not anyone else’s. As much as you look to other people and places for ideas and advice, you are the one that should make the final style decisions.

Amsale gowns are available exclusively in Australia at the Angela Wilson Bridal Boutique.

Here’s a sneak peek behind the scenes at my recent Culture Bridal Couture photo shoot, showcasing 4 brand new sample gowns my talented team and I have just finished creating… these photos are NOT the official professional images, but rather just some quick pix I took with my own little pocket camera! So I am really looking forward to getting the proper finished images from our professional photographer Dario in the next few weeks – stay tuned for those!!

Once again I chose Dario Gardiman to photograph my latest designs, as his work is consistently FABULOUS, he always listens to what I want, and is a joy to work with. This photo shoot took place in his very cool Erskineville (Sydney) studio, and Dario created a great set with beautiful lighting and cleverly crafted props to create the shadow effects. I love watching Dario work, and all the little details he attends to, in order to get that perfect shot. I think if I wasn’t a wedding gown designer, I’d LOVE to be a fashion photographer!! Maybe one day…

shoot makeup & hair team work on our model

Our AMAZING hair & make-up team was just superb on the day, and the speed and quality of their work was mind-blowing! The very talented Susie Ayoub doing beautiful make-up, whilst the highly experienced Lizzie from L’Bridal Hair created works of art with our model’s hair, assisted by Mary. They all worked so well as a team, making it look “so easy” when I know it’s so hard to do in such a short space of time. Lizzie and Susie are available for weddings, formal events and any special occasions, see their contact details below.

And the star of the shoot was undoubtedly our GORGEOUS bridal model Tanya, who looked sexy, demure, goddess-like and downright incredible in every gown she wore! She has a fantastic and very feminine look that can be changed so easily, which is what every designer craves in a fashion model, so that we can transform her into whoever we want to, suiting each gown perfectly.

All gowns & accessories by Culture Bridal Couture

Make-Up Artist Susie Ayoub – Phone 0412 607 119

Hair Stylist Lizzie at L’Bridal by Lizzie – Phone (Sydney) 0411 335 988 or 02 9636 7047

Shoes by Deseo Shoes, 474 Oxford St, Paddington, Sydney.

Ms  Polka Dot says: Today we are thrilled to welcome the very talented Lisa from Culture Bridal Couture. Her gown designs are always a treat to look at – so feminine, yet at the same time, so bold. We loved this peek at behind the scenes, and know you will too!  Thank you Lisa!

Every love story is different! Based in Sydney, Australia, Culture Bridal Couture creates unique one-off wedding gowns to reflect who you are, and what you love in life. Inspired by diverse cultures from around the world, a love of beautiful fabrics and a dash of colour, our gowns celebrate each bride’s individuality and are custom-made to fit like a glove.

Polka Dot Wisdom is all about the wedding business- whether it’s insights from wedding professionals, behind the scenes at industry events or connecting with each other and making our businesses better.

One thing I want to share with you are some of the amazing pieces of writing I read, enjoy and find useful in my everyday work at Polka Dot Bride.

The Business Of Being Creative is a blog aimed at wedding professionals (or really anyone in the creative industry) by business consultant Sean Low. Sean is amazing mind who has previously worked companies like Preston Bailey. He’s based in New York City but as with most good business advice- you don’t need to live near him to get the benefits of his words.

I constantly pull nuggets of gold from Sean’s posts, from a good hard look at what we’re doing and where we’re going to something that helps me get past a particular problem. I always walk away with a seed implanted in my brain ready to take another step- the next step in making a fantastic & fufilling business.

You can read The Business Of Being Creative here.