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.