We had the extraordinary opportunity to speak with Amsale Aberra, head designer for Kenneth Pool. We especially enjoyed this one-on-one time with her because she is so inspired by what she does and it’s contagious! Amsale is a true gem in the bridal industry and the fact that she gave Lovella such personalized attention makes us feel so lucky that we carry Kenneth Pool in our salon.
In fact, on the heels of our exclusive interview comes our Kenneth Pool trunk show, taking place this coming Friday and Saturday, January 20 and 21. Brides, surely this is an event you will not want to miss! Appointments are required; call us at (818) 248-0026 today, as space is limited.
A huge thanks goes to Amsale for taking her precious time to speak with us. Enjoy this exclusive!
(Above) The designer flanked by the Lovella Bridal team, at a private viewing during bridal market
LB: Your latest Kenneth Pool collection is, without a doubt, feminine, glamorous and understated in the very best way. This time around what influenced your designs and all the details?
AMSALE: In the past Kenneth Pool was heavily beaded on satin and in this collection there is a stronger emphasis on femininity, softness, and sophistication with large scale tulle and organza skirts that radiate grandeur.
LB: You’re known for making clean and understated gowns for the Amsale collection. Kenneth pool is just the opposite. Why?
AMSALE: The Kenneth Pool bride personifies glamour and likes to make a grand entrance. Her wedding is usually very opulent and formal. I grew up in Ethiopia where weddings were large, important, and elaborate celebrations. In my culture there is a tremendous pressure to be extravagant, even if you prefer to be more understated. Therefore I give the bride the same sophistication in a more ornate way. This way the bride can wear what she wants, while still fulfilling the cultural pressure of wearing a gown suitable for a palatial wedding.
LB: You’ve dressed many celebrities… do you have a different designing process for celebrities than you do for a bride?
AMSALE: To me if she is a bride or a celebrity, I see her as a bride. It’s so important to me to reflect who she is and what she wants and that contributes to my inspiration.
LB: What’s your favorite fabric to work with?
AMSALE: Tulle, because it’s very versatile, especially when I want to make the gown light yet still have an extremely grand scale, and I can add beading to it. Tulle is a fantasy fabric; I use it for fabric manipulation and to create a fantastical look of airy and lightweight overlapping layers. As long as there is a fine line between Cinderella and a beautiful modern princess, tulle can really give the bride the look she wants.
LB: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Amsale: My inspiration stems from several things, although I always keep the bride in mind. I think of what her wedding will look like and I imagine her walking into a fabulous, opulent place, whether it’s a hotel or a castle. The feeling and the presence is more important than the space itself. (Also,) I think of old movies, old world Christian Dior, and big cities (especially being in New York City). The past is always my reference point to really create modern.
LB: You’ve mentioned that it’s important for a bride to select a gown that will stand the test of time. What style and cut is a no-fail way to guarantee timelessness?
Amsale: The best advice I can give to brides is not to ask what the trend is. What is important is a classic silhouette with a twist. All Kenneth Pool gowns are classic, and I modernize them with the cut, a change in the neckline, or sometimes making them a bit sexier. These are all qualities that embody the styles of today but overall they have a classic backbone behind the modern twists. It’s my job to make these gowns classic yet current. I make sure my designs are modern but not necessarily trendy.
LB: What city or country most inspires you?
Amsale: Cosmopolitan Cities are very inspiring to me, from the museums, to the restaurants, to looking at the women in the streets. In particular Rome inspires me, not only for the fashion and the food but for its history. I absolutely love Italy. I think part of what inspires me and makes me who I am is how beautiful things, like an old building, can become timeless.
LB: When you find the time, what are the things you enjoy doing (other than designing)?
Amsale: I enjoy being around friends, especially friends who are involved in other fields such as art, music, film, and architecture. I love to laugh, chat, and be around people.
LB: What are your style tips or advice for brides-to-be?
Amsale: Brides need to feel confident and comfortable. They need to be true to themselves and portray their individual style. My advice for brides when they start looking for gowns is to always look at their cocktail and evening attire. The cut and shape that they usually gravitate towards generally works in bridal as well. When a bride is looking for her gown it is important to seek recommendations from others but ultimately she knows what looks and feels most comfortable on her. Bridal consultants will then step in and help her select the right gown, veil, and accessories. A confident bride always looks and feels beautiful.