Ever After’s Fashion House’s: Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Reem Acra, Anna Maier, Ines di Santo, Giambattista Valli
Each designer offers an individual expression of the bridal gown. At Ever After Miami we identify the brides individual style and match it with the perfect gown for her wedding day.
Vera Wang debuted as a talented figure skater, and competed professionally throughout her teens. Wang shelved her skating career and began working for Vogue magazine. Within a year, at the age of 23, Wang was promoted to senior fashion editor, a position she held for nearly 15 years. Soon after that, Wang became the design director for Ralph Lauren. In 1989, Wang wed longtime boyfriend Arthur Becker, frustrated with the slim selection of existing bridal wear, she sketched her own design and commissioned a dressmaker to tailor the elaborate gown. The following year, with some financial backing from her father, Wang opened her own bridal boutique in the upscale Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in New York City. Catering mostly to celebrities and socialites, the Vera Wang Bridal House initially offered couture gowns by the famed designers Guy Laroche, Arnold Scaasi, Carolina Herrera, and Christian Dior. Over the next few years, Wang honed her skills as a fashion designer and eventually launched a signature collection of streamlined and sophisticated bridal wear.
Carolina Herrera was born in Caracas, Venezuela on Jan. 8, 1939 to former governor of Caracas. Her socialite grandmother introduced her to the world of fashion, taking young Carolina to shows by Balenciaga, buying her outfits at Dior and Lanvin. She has said “My eye was accustomed to see pretty things.” Frequently associating with Mick and Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol, at Studio54. she became well known for her dramatic style. She first appeared on the International Best Dressed List in 1972, then was elected to its Hall of Fame in 1980. In 1981, her friend Diana Vreeland, then Editor-in-Chief of Vogue suggested that Carolina design a clothing line. She did so, having samples made in Caracas, and debuted her collection at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Club to critical acclaim. Shortly after that in April Herrera presents her first full collection. “Her premiere show of couture-quality creations for women, featuring exaggerated shoulder and sleeve treatment, was enthusiastically received by 400 members of the press and the Beautiful People at New York’s exclusive Metropolitan Club,.” A well known Park Avenue boutique, Martha’s, agreed to showcase her clothing in their prominent windows. Upon this initial success, she returned to Caracas and raised capital to fund a more formal launch. Her first runway show in 1980 included future supermodel Iman. The company has been based in New York City since 1980, and in 1981 the brand received recognition from several key publications.
Oscar de la Renta was born on July 22, 1932, in the Dominican Republic. At the age of 18, he left the Caribbean island to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. Originally he wanted to become an abstract painter but instead became wooed by the world of fashion design. His talent for illustration opened doors for him, and he quickly landed an apprenticeship with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristobal Balenciaga. In 1961, while on vacation in Paris, he was hired for his first real fashion job at Lanvin-Castillo. By 1964 he was in New York and joined the American design house of Elizabeth Arden. He began his own signature ready-to-wear label in 1965. De la Renta married Francoise de Langlade, an editor-in-chief of French Vogue, in 1967. During their marriage she introduced him to some of the most influential members of fashion society and invited many of the rich and famous to his shows. His line—identified by its delicate silk prints, use of ruffles, soft silhouettes and vibrant palette—soon became synonymous with casual luxury. Women of means couldn’t get enough of his distinctly modern yet romantic looks. November of 1973, he became one of five designers to represent America at the memorable Versailles fashion show, with, one newspaper later reports, “a flower garden of flowing, floating gowns in pastel chiffons and crepe de Chines.”
While attending the American University of Beirut, Reem Acra was discovered by a fashion editor. Captivated with the ornately embroider silk organza gown Acra made from her mother’s dinning room table cloth, she instantly offered to host a fashion show for the young designer that took place ten days later. Following the serendipitous encounter, Acra studied at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and its Paris counterpart at Esmod. A short stint as an interior designer was followed by Acra’s return to her fashion roots working in Hong Kong and New York. A style-setting friend wore Acra’s first bridal design to her society wedding and it sparked international interest for the designer and Reem Acra Bridal was born. The gowns became renowned for transforming classic bridal designs through the finest silks, intricate beading and exquisite embroidery. Celebrated for her ability to match a look to a woman’s personality, Acra has dressed global icons of style for weddings, red carpet appearances and awards ceremonies. Her following includes Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Beyonce Knowles, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Eva Longoria as well as royal families around the world.
Charles W. Bunstine II, former president of Barneys New York and Ulla-Maija’s head designer, promises not to let a bride leave without a perfectly fitted wedding dress. Anna Maier-Ulla Maija dresses are classic, white styles—some strapless, some big-trained—made from the same imported fabrics as the Hermès and Valentino lines. Anna Maier (who is Charles Bunstine’s great grandmother) and her husband were master tailors. Anna came to the United States in 1871 from the Alsace and Lorraine provinces of eastern France. Her creative spirit has endured more than a century and is now expressed in the collections of Anna Maier ~ Ulla-Maija Couture. Bunstine, a Columbus Ohio native, has spent his career directing, developing, and contributing to some of the fashion industry’s most notable companies including: The Limited, Barneys, and Vera Wang. Bunstine then moved on to start Anna Maier ~ Ulla Maija, a house that is luxury in all aspects of manufacture and design.
Born in Italy and moved to Buenos Aires when she was young, Ines di Santo’s mother owned a clothing factory in Buenos Aires. Ines trained in the finest European fashion design schools. Ines Di Santo wedding dress styles reflect her Italian, French and Spanish heritage and her devotion to representing the romantic and feminine form. Working alongside her daughter Veronica, Di Santo’s creations have been worn by many lucky brides. Ines di Santo has many components in our dresses and they have a lot of details. The reason they have a lot of details is to show who you are. Ines di Santo design astetic Romantic elegant with a touch of sexy. She also oversees the production of every gown, ensuring each piece is created exactly as imagined and meets the Ines di Santo standard of quality. These gowns strive to emphasize the beauty of the female form.
“Giambattista is one of the few young designers who understand couture dressing,” says Joseph Boitano, the senior vice-president and general merchandise manager of Saks Fifth Avenue. “He understands how a sophisticated young woman wants to look; he understands her lifestyle. He lives that lifestyle. And he has the technical know-how.” Giambattista is a French Designer, not an Italian. Although he was born and raised in Italy. Starting off in Fashion PR, he quickly found his way into design working for designers like Fendi, and Krizia. In 1997 he moved to Paris, and a few years later, Giambattista launched his own collection and in March 2005 held his first solo show in Paris. Giambattista Valli was thus born.