Elegant Dressing: Amsale Aberra - The Inventor of The Modern Wedding Dress

I was shocked to read in London on Easter Sunday that Amsale Aberra, the Ethiopian-born bridal designer whose gowns are the epitome of understated elegance had passed away earlier that day in Manhattan at age 64.  Normally I would write my Designer Tribute immediately upon hearing one of my favorite designers has died.  In the case of Amsale because she had instructed that the Spring 2019 show go ahead as long-planned on April 13 even in the event of her death, I waited so I could include a capsule selection from her final collection. Named "The Inventor of the Modern Wedding Dress" by bridal gown retailer Mark Ingram in Womens Wear Daily, Amsale's latest couture gowns maintained their alluring aesthetic and didn't disappoint. 

Amsale's career as a bridal designer began in the early 1990s.  She presented her first signature elegant, understated silhouettes to Kleinfelds Bridal Salon based in Brooklyn, which back then enjoyed a worldwide clientele and they bought the entire collection. The Amsale gowns' pared back simplicity and lack of artifice, were a welcome antidote to the prevailing frothier styles throughout the '80s.  As Constance White noted in her column, For The Bride Who Wants a Simple, Sensuous Look for The New York Times in 1997...“To be sure, the leg-of-mutton dress, the traditional, high-neck, puff-sleeve number, still has its strong support base, but there is now the option of a sleeker and more sensuous spirit embodied in a narrower shape, bare arms and shoulders and subtle adornment, if adorned at all.”

Amsale described with crystal clarity who her client is via video during the show, which took place on a terrace at the Gramercy Park Hotel... "The Amsale bride is someone who is classic but modern. Her approach in design is very simple and clean, yet sophisticated. She's confident. She doesn't like flashy thing(s) but something which is really good quality, and quality is important to her." A woman strikingly like herself...Amen

All runway Images from Vogue.com

 A101, the first wedding dress Amsale sold commercially in 1991, at Kleinfeld. It was made of duchess satin with a sheer organza back and hand-rolled fabric roses at the waist.  Credit Amsale

A101, the first wedding dress Amsale sold commercially in 1991, at Kleinfeld. It was made of duchess satin with a sheer organza back and hand-rolled fabric roses at the waist. Credit Amsale

 The timeless A101 silhouette worn by an Ethiopian model opened the Spring 2019 show walking the runway with no music 

The timeless A101 silhouette worn by an Ethiopian model opened the Spring 2019 show walking the runway with no music 

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 Amsale on her wedding day in 1985 is the beautiful bride in one of her namesake designs -  credit Amsale

Amsale on her wedding day in 1985 is the beautiful bride in one of her namesake designs - credit Amsale