We've got a special treat for you today, dear readers-- a one-on-one interview with one of our absolute favorite bridal gown designers, Amy Kuschel!
Q: Tell us a bit about your career as a designer & how you got started.
Amy Kuschel: It all started shortly after Bill's proposal in 1996. Trying to find the perfect wedding gown turned into an arduous task! I thought my needs were simple enough – to look elegant and modern without spending a fortune. In my search I found that I could opt to spend a reasonable amount for something mediocre, or spend an outrageous amount for something fabulous. Being a practical person and an experienced designer, I felt my best bet would be to design my own gown. A few years later, business plan in hand, Bill and I launched the Amy Kuschel collection.
Q: Do you have any style icons, in terms of your personal style?
A: Oh, so many. I've always loved Coco Chanel, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn...
Q: In general, who or what do you turn to for inspiration?
A: I find inspiration in everything, it's always evolving. For our 2014 collection my focus was on layers of personality... knowing yourself, embracing your layers. Interesting stories about remarkable women, all of whom have incredible layers to their personalities, played a role in our design process. We never know exactly where the inspiration will lead. Once the sketching starts and the fabrics arrive, we start to merchandise our ideas in more specific ways. Then the patterns are made...the prototypes are sewn - and slowly but surely, the dresses come to life. The editing and the details are another important part of the design experience. It's not for the faint of heart! But it is incredibly rewarding.
Q: If you had to choose a gown from your current collection to wear down the aisle yourself, what would it be and why?
A: That's tough!
I LOVE lace. From 2014, I might choose Coretta, as she's very much my style. She has an ease, a confidence - yet she's simple, practical. Elegant without the fuss. It makes me think of the quote "real beauty doesn't seek attention". But make no mistake, she does get their attention. Coretta is perfect for an outdoor wedding, which is appealing to me. Rustic elegance, garden romance, wine country.
For a little more glamour, I'd choose Monroe. She's dramatic, sexy, and feminine. Her trumpet silhouette just begs for a star quality entrance, while her sheer bateau neckline is alluring yet coy. I adore a high front neckline. And these contrasts in personality - I think they make things more interesting and unexpected.
Q: We love your latest collection so much! Can you talk bit about the inspiration for the gowns this season?
A: Our 2014 designs are inspired by legends like Beryl Markham, Zora Neale Hurston, Jane Goodall, Rosa Parks, Marilyn Monroe, Harriet Tubman, Coretta Scott King, Amelia Earhart, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Their fabulously complex and layered personalities are what drew us in. Like these women, our brides, too, are layered with character and complexity.
"It's all about being yourself and embracing your personality, balancing our layers. So often, as women, we're lured by the notion of perfection, trying to be someone other than ourselves. It's no wonder that we lose sight of how beautiful we are. We're positively imperfect, maybe a bit quirky, and naturally somewhat complicated – whatever we may be, we can't escape being ourselves. So why not spend the time getting to know yourself, embracing your layers, being the BEST version of YOU. When you're happy being yourself, you naturally radiate beauty... this is the essence of charm, of attraction."
With a bride's personality in mind, we crafted our 2014 collection using layers of lace, mixing textures and sheers, and accenting and highlighting to create character and personality with each silhouette. Our hope is that brides will find a dress that speaks to the layers of their personality!
A huge thanks to Amy for sharing her story with all of us! To see her stunning collection in person, give us a call [202.333.6162] or shoot us an email [firstname.lastname@example.org] for an appointment!