Wedding Dress Designer Amsale Aberra

Actress Katrina Bowden in Amsale

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This Ethiopian designer first began designing wedding dresses after a frustrating search for her own gown in 1985 left her realizing there was a void in the market for simple yet sophisticated wedding dresses. With a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and experience working for Harvé Benard, she knew she could create something better herself. So she placed an ad in the back of bridal magazines for custom made gowns and soon began getting orders. Her business grew as people recognized her classic yet modern style. In 1997, she added a line of evening dresses and separates which have seen similar success.

All About Amsale

Amsale developed her style sense as a child in Addis Ababa, where she and her sister often made their own clothes. She first came to the U.S. in order to attend college in Vermont, but the toppling of the Ethiopian government and subsequent imprisonment of her diplomat father left her without money. She moved to Boston, worked and saved up enough money to graduate from Boston State College with a political science degree, and then attended FIT.

Amsale had a savvy business sense, and in order to provide beautiful designs for all brides, she acquired the venerable Christos line of wedding dresses and hired Kenneth Pool to launch a line that emphasized beading and over-the-top glamor. When that relationship ended, Amsale was again savvy enough to hire media darling Austin Scarlett of Project Runway to take over the line.

Today, the bridal lines--Amsale and Nouvelle Amsale, for both brides and bridesmaids--are produced in her stunning New York showroom. Wedding dresses are made-to-order to a bride’s exact measurements and specifications.

What Celebrities Have Worn Amsale?

You might have seen an Amsale wedding dress on Trista Rehn, aka the very first "Bachelorette" or, perhaps the gown that Alyson Hannigan wore in the movie American Wedding. But all kinds of celebrities have worn Amsale, including Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Angela Bassett, Lisa Kudrow, and Salma Hayek, to name just a few.

What Is an Amsale Wedding Dress Like?

Amsale specializes in clean, simple, modern lines in rich fabrics. Even with a full ballgown skirt, her simplicity of form creates a crisp and youthful wedding dress.

How Much Does an Amsale Wedding Dress Cost?

Depending on your area, Amsale wedding dresses cost between $3000 and $12000, with many around $4000.

Where Can I Buy an Amsale Wedding Dress?

The flagship salon is located on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and fine stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom as well as smaller bridal boutiques carry the line. Check out Amsale's website and click on “Store Locator” for a state-by-state guide.