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A Woman On Top

In-depth with wedding gown designer CARMELA SUTERA

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With an elegance and beauty that alludes to a “Jackie O” era and gracious charm to match, Carmela enters the room and greets me. Soft spoken and sweet, she asks if I would like some refreshments while she queries about what I thought of her runway collection.

This is a special year for Carmela; a twentieth anniversary in the business and with it, she introduces her new collection called Leggero. Leggero is an Italian word meaning soft and light in weight, this brings true meaning to the collection since it is made with fabrics like organza’s; chiffons; georgettes and Chantilly lace.

The inspiration for this collection was all about the fabric. “Fabric’s are my number one inspiration – they draw me to certain looks. If you don’t have the proper fabrics, you don’t have the proper dress,” says Carmela.

Carmela was also inspired by a new type of wedding in the market, where the wedding has a simple and less complex venue; this trend is something of familiarity to Carmela, as weddings in Italy of her era were kept to a simplistic elegance. For Carmela, this was a time period in her life that she recalls fondly, when a simple, classic dress made with meticulous craftsmanship was in vogue!

The Leggero collection is about a bride who prefers a dress that is less fussy and easier to wear but still embodies the highest quality of details and workmanship that Carmela Sutera is renowned for.

Carmela’s more formal collection “Classica,” has expanded this year to include painted embroidered fabrics from Como Italy to the finest French laces. Any bride would marvel over this year’s assemblage that includes stunning gowns made of flora satin organza with silk tulle overlay or a georgette gown with Chantilly lace and pleated ruffles with a detachable train.

Carmela’s ability to stay in tune with brides for over twenty years is rooted in a foundation of traditional values and professional knowledge of her industry.
Carmela has been in the fashion business for as long as she can remember. Her mother, a master designer and artist, owned a store in Rome. As a result, Carmela grew up learning the trade from her. “As a young girl, I remember twice a year a salesman would bring fabrics like ruffled eyelets, wools, and cottons (that don’t even exist anymore) to our shop and my mother would make beautiful clothes each season, for the family from them,” recollects Carmela. At eighteen she left home and traveled to the United States to attend The Academy of Design and The Fashion Institute in New York to perfect her skills. After working in a few high-end fashion houses she branched off into the wedding industry and in 1988 opened her bridal manufacturing business. Her family run business is rooted in traditional values and meticulous European craftsmanship. “They keep a watchful eye over everything and makes sure when the gowns leave, they are perfect for the brides. Our goal is not to be the biggest but the best,” says Carmela.

Today, with a manufacturing plant in New Jersey, Carmela says, “I am one of the only true couture bridal gown designers in America” which means, that she will design and oversee a gown from initial conception to its finished product, all at her flag-ship location.

With all her expertise and acclaim, I asked Carmela what recommendations she would have for brides purchasing their trousseau for their wedding day.

Here are some pointers from Carmela:

• Don’t follow the trends – pick a dress that suits your body type.
• Use a professional boutique to guide you through the process so you don’t have any unexpected and unhappy surprises.
• Give yourself six months to purchase a gown. It can be done in less time but you may not get the fabric or laces you want as they come from Europe.
• Shoes should be beautiful but comfortable for the day.
• Less is more when it comes to jewellery. I recommend earrings or a bracelet passed down from a mother or grandmother as a nice touch for the bride’s special day or even an orchid in your hair can be beautiful too!
• For destination weddings, pick a simple dress. There are many great fabrics to choose from for a destination weddings; Georgette, Chantilly lace, sheer organza or light shantung just to name a few. Usually the boutique can package the dress for traveling and sometimes will even ship it for you. When the bride arrives, most hotels have a service that can press the gown if needed.

In closing I asked Carmela, what makes you unique in the wedding business and attributes to your success? 

“My uniqueness and success is attributed to what I learned years ago, in Italy from Italian woman, and I have applied it to my wedding gown designs over the years. Woman then wanted a fabulous dress with a feminine edge. Every one of my dresses brings with it a little innocent touch and has a feminine edge that is timeless”

Carmela’s gowns can be purchased here in Canada, at Cameo and Cufflinks, in Calgary, Alberta.

Colleen Oreskovic
Stylist/Fashion Contributor
[email protected]
The Ring Bearer.ca

Carmela Sutera 2008 Collection

456 (Classica)
455 (Classica)
454 (Classica)
453 (Classica)
451 (Classica)
450 (Classica)
449 (Classica)
448 (Classica)
447 (Classica) 
446 (Classica)
445 (Classica)
444 (Classica)
439 (Classica)
438 (Classica)
437 (Classica)
436 (Classica)
435 (Classica)
460 (Leggero)
459 (Leggero)
458 (Leggero)
457 (Leggero)
452 (Leggero)
443 (Leggero)
441 (Leggero)

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