Amsale a name that spells Success!
Once a wedding gown is completed
to perfection, Amsale Aberra experiences the thrill as well as
jitters of getting married all over again. She tries on every
gown and says, “If I were getting married next week, this
would be the one.” Amsale is well known for her simple,
elegant, and timeless creations.
Every bride on her wedding day,
dreams to be flawless, beaming, and graceful in her dress. Amsale
aspires her bride to be the star and not the gown. She emphasizes
that, “It is such an important day, you want the dress to
fit perfectly and be comfortable enough so you feel like you’re
floating.” Amsale wedding gowns are exceptional for their
rich fabrics, intricate handcrafted beading with crystal and lace
accents, without being flashy.
Besides wedding dresses, her
minimal, chic and feminine evening wear which range from $500
to $4,000, are a hit because they are so versatile. According
to Amsale, her designs are a solution for every modern woman who
attends lavish affairs as well as midweek black tie events, “It’s
an option other than the little black dress with pearls.”
Amsale’s unique combination of sheath dresses with sheer
illusion tank tops, evening suits and silk ball gowns have caught
the eye of many famous Hollywood starlets like Halle Berry, Salma
Hayek, Vanessa Williams, and Kim Basinger who have graced the
red carpet wearing Amsale. Julia Roberts wore one of Amsale’s
bridal designs for the smash hit, Runaway Bride. For her role
in Analyze This, actress Lisa Kudrow of Friends was also dressed
in the designer’s wedding dress.
The incident, that led to the
present multi-million dollar bridal and evening wear business
at her 1,500-square-foot emporium on Madison Avenue, called “The
Amsale Boutique”, was her hunt for the perfect wedding dress.
To her dismay, she found all the bridal gowns overdone and ostentatious,
so Amsale, who was then a design assistant for Harve Bernard,
designed her own sleek and stylish wedding gown. Amsale recalls,
“There were questions in my mind about whether there was
a demand for such a dress. I thought, was I the only one who wanted
a simple gown? I took no formal surveys, but asked married people
and those in the bridal industry who showed an interest.”
Similar responses from her informal
survey encouraged her to publish a full page $13,000 photo ad
of one of her dresses in the Bride’s magazine. Immediately,
she was overwhelmed with orders, which she fulfilled with her
small crew of couture sewers from her loft in the garment district.
Realizing that there was a high demand for her designs in 1986,
Amsale and her husband film executive Neil Brown invested $50,000
of their own money to launch a bridal collection bearing the name,
After establishing herself in
the bridal business Amsale introduced her couture evening wear
in 1997. Her designs have been featured in Vogue, Instyle, WWD
and W, Hello!, and Harper’s Bazaar. Today, her gowns can
be found at select boutiques and retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman,
Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. However, Amsale does not
offer the same dresses in her boutique that are available in retail
Her passion for design began
when she was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she lived with her
parents, Mr. Aberra Moltot, who served as the vice-minister for
National Community Development, her mother Mrs. Tsadale Asamnew,
a homemaker, and her half sister Aster Yilma. Amsale created her
own clothes and was excited when Aster introduced her to Simplicity
Patterns after a visit to America. “I could do my maxi skirts
and hot pants,” recalls Amsale.
In 1973, Amsale moved to Poultney,
Vermont, to study commercial art at Green Mountain College. Months
after her arrival to the U.S. there was a revolution in Ethiopia
and her father was imprisoned, which led to financial difficulties
for her family. She dropped out of school and moved to Boston
to live with her sister. While waitressing at a coffee shop, she
met her future husband Neil Brown, then a Harvard law student.
In 1981, she graduated with a degree in political science and
enrolled in New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology to
pursue her real passion. After graduating with a degree in fashion
design she got a job as a design assistant with Harve Bernard.
Today, Amsale lives with her husband and 15 year-old daughter
Rachel in New York and The Hamptons.
To succeed in the business
Amsale advices, “You must be committed and do it with passion.
If you don’t enjoy it, get out.” Despite her success
in the competitive world of fashion, Amsale is not a household
name. This is because Amsale does not vie for media hype, “We
don’t want to grow beyond our means,” states Amsale.
Her goal is to maintain her brand’s uniqueness, focus on
a steady growth and most of all wants her work to speak for itself.
Follow your dreams…
Do you want to become the next Amsale?
Tadias has compiled a list of Fashion & Design schools for
aspiring fashion designers. We list these nine schools and their
contact information as a service to our readers, but we cannot
give guarantee for any of them. You should contact each institution
directly and make independent evaluation of their curriculum.
Suite 700, 3440 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010, US
(213) 251-3636 or 1-877-GO-TO-CDC
Academy of Art
79 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105, US
(800) 544-2787 Fax: (415) 263-4130
4825 E. Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, CA 90804, US
Where to buy
By Appointment Only
625 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10022, US