story and photos by Sandy Ramirez
Back in 1985, Amsale Aberra was a bride in search of a dress. She wanted something simple, modern, understated and elegant. Unfortunately, like many brides before her, all the pieces she found were the typically overdone gowns more suited to a stage performer than a bride. Unlike most other brides, however, Amsale was not going to settle. She was determined to rectify the situation. One classified advert, a sketchbook, and a few seamstresses later, Amsale succeeded.
Amsale’s name has become synonymous with elegant modern bridal, with designs carried by retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. Her design skill has also led to her becoming the lead designer for Christo’s and Kenneth Pool, and on the opening weekend of New York Market Week, she showed her plans for Fall 2009.
The first collection shown at the Amsale Flagship Boutique, at 625 Madison Ave, was her designs for Christos. The collection seemed an exercise in understatement and deceptive simplicity. What struck me most of this collection was its streamlined charm. These gowns could easily be successful as formal evening wear for any occasion.
Next up was the Amsale label itself. A 42 look parade of bridesmaid’s desses and bridal gowns, this collection showcased Amsale’s dedication to simple elegance. Here were stylish sing shoulder looks for bridesmaids, and of course Amsale’s signature little white dress. Well styled modern yet restrained flourishes, of the three presented, this collection exemplified Amsale’s better inclinations.
The final collection shown was Kenneth Pool. This was Amsale’s first collection for the marque after the departure of Project Runway favorite Austin Scarlett. Like any good designer would, it was obvious that Amsale had went back to the archives and presented a collection that was reflective of what came before in that line, yet still showed her own ornate touches. Detailed in Swarovski crystals, and showing a bit more flourish, Amsale did well distilling the essence of the previous Pool collections, without the excess.