By Austin Scarlett
One of my life’s greatest gifts has been the honor to know and work alongside one of the greatest bridal designers of all time, Amsale Aberra. The good fortune to join Amsale’s team came while a youngster in the beginning years of my life as a designer, learning the bridal industry from the very best. As my mentor, Amsale took me under her wing, always giving willingly and generously of her knowledge and advice. Her insistence on absolute perfection in fit and construction earned my deep respect and set the bar high for my career to follow. Her eye was so incredibly refined, her vision so pared down to the absolute purity of form. I often can recall her toiling over a design, forever striving to make it even more simplified, more streamlined. How grateful to have such talent, experience, and support to learn from at such an early point in my journey of creative self discovery.
Amsale and I first met when she was a guest judge on the first season of Project Runway. Sometime after the airing of the program, I received a phone call inviting me to visit Amsale at her flagship boutique on Madison Avenue. One of her three bridal divisions, the Kenneth Pool Collection, with its reputation for grand, opulently ornamented ballgowns, was in need of a new designer. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. Amsale supported my creativity and allowed me to bring my personal touch into the lavishly embellished collection, during my time as creative director of the Kenneth Pool Collection.
What I learned from Amsale was a strong and focused sense of personal style, leadership as a creative director, sharp business sense, and a tireless pursuit of perfection in the product. Amsale treated those who worked alongside her as family. She would share her lunch with me, let me help her select her wardrobe for a special event, while also inviting me and her entire company into her home. She will be remembered for her oeuvre of beautifully designed gowns that spoke to the simplicity and modern elegance of today’s bride. No one before or since has reached this sense of total understated perfection. Amsale captured the essence, the voice and the dream of the modern American bride.
She is no longer with us, but the beauty she created will continue to live in grace within our hearts and minds, always.