She was the queen of the understated wedding dress. It was announced yesterday that bridal designer Amsale Aberra, the founder and designer of Amsale, passed away this weekend. As the first designer to do a simplistic, and incredibly elegant, take on the wedding dress, Amsale's mark on the bridal world is felt in every collection that showcases a minimalistic tone.
Amsale Aberra's foray into wedding dress design started on a personal note. She founded her namesake company, Amsale, in 1985 when she couldn't find a gown for her own wedding that wasn't full of the decade's over-the-top trends. In 1991, she sold her first collection to Kleinfeld. "She really was a trendsetter in the business. She was the first one who really introduced very classic lines, beautiful clothes and getting away from all the old traditions of lace, beads, and everything that really wasn’t modern anymore. She really created the modern wedding dress," Mara Urshel, co-owner of Kleinfeld, told WWD.
Mark Ingram also credited Amsale with being "the inventor of the modern wedding dress." Also telling WWD, “She was rebelling against the 1980s trend of ‘Dynasty’ and all this horrible big shoulder stuff. She designed her own wedding dress because she couldn’t find what she wanted in the marketplace. That was the start of her business. She wanted clean and simple and that’s what she did,” he added.
In an interview with Brides in 2014, Amsale herself describes the Amsale bride as a fan of "understated luxury." "She likes clean lines and simple silhouettes in exquisite fabrics, and her bridal gown reflects her daily style but makes her feel like a bride," she said.
When asked about her favorite fabrics to use in creating her gowns, the designer said, "I can't say that I have a favorite fabric necessarily, but rather it depends on the feel I want to create. For Amsale, I am focused on using soft layering, so I am sourcing soft tulle and silk organza from Italy. Lace is still very important for our collections, and I use Lyon and Alecon lace from France, layered with colored silk chiffon."
Amsale also offered her most important shopping tips for brides. "A bride must always make sure that her hairstyle will work with or without a veil. Plan for both, and work around it with your beauty look. For jewelry, I always suggest to keep it minimal, however, if you love jewelry, make one bold statement. Try a statement earring, necklace, or bracelet, but not all three at once!" Her number one tip? "Make sure to try on a veil. I find it's the one accessory some brides shy away from, but it's such a unique accessory that you can only really wear for a wedding."
With wedding dresses appearing in movies like Runaway Bride, 27 Dresses, Analyze This, American Wedding, When in Rome, and The Hangover, Amsale's uniquely minimal elegance is already iconic.
Scroll through to see some of Amsale's most memorable wedding dresses, including her own.