In Memoriam: Amsale Aberra

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The fashion industry mourns the loss of bridal designer Amsale Aberra. Just a week before New York International Bridal Week, Amsale Aberra passed away from uterine cancer.A native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Amsale Aberra was educated at Boston State College earning a degree in Political Science. Later Amsale received an Associate Degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, launching her signature bridal collection in 1985. As a woman of color whose bridal collections grew into a major international bridal brand, Amsale Aberra was one the first bridal designers that stripped away the over-embellished frills from bridal gowns, abandoning layers and layers of tulle, lace and beading and opting for a minimalistic ‘less is more’ aesthetic that reflected the individual mood of the bride.

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Prior to Amsale’s bridal collections, most bridal collections leaned toward ball gown-like costumes, sweet ingénue silhouettes, or modern Disney royalty. Amsale offered modern brides silhouettes that were centered on restraint, fashion-forward sensibility and individual charm.Located in New York’s Garment District, Amsale’s bridal silhouettes soon garnered traction in the bridal industry and later expanded her collections to include bridesmaids’ garments and ready-to-wear evening clothes. Later in her career, Amsale became the creative director of bridal brands Christos, spinning off a more youthful line that included more embellishment and luxurious fabrications of her Amsale namesake, Kenneth Pool, while maintaining her eponymous line Amsale.

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Margo Lafontaine, who served as senior studio director for Vera Wang for 12 years will take over design responsibilities at Amsale. “Working side by side, we spent 360 degrees of our time together, I know only too well both her creative genius and infinite goodness,” said Lafontaine in a article.Amsale Aberra dressed celebrities Halle Berry and Salma Hayek for their weddings and Julia Roberts in the film “Runway Bride.” She is also the recipient of the 2012 Legacy Award at Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit.

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The Amsale brand will continue to maintain her bridal store on Madison Avenue and will present its fall 2019 bridal collection during New York International Bridal Week on April 13. Amsale Aberra transitioned on April 1 and was 64 years of age.—William S. Gooch


  1. Terengo Argaw says

    Its with great sorrow to hear the death of our beloved Ethiopian bridal designer Amsale. Her death is a great loss both for Ethiopians and the fashion industry. For Ethiopians in diaspora she will always remain as our pride. As an internationally recognized genius and creative designer, Amsale will always remain forever in our memory.
    Rest in peace
    Our prayers go for her husband and beloved daughter Rachel .

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