Manolo says, the Kleinfeld’s they are moving!
t is like losing the Dodgers all over again: Kleinfeld, the storied Brooklyn wedding gown emporium that has festooned generations of American brides, is moving to – horrors! – Manhattan.
Officials at the store, the largest designer wedding-dress outlet in the country, said yesterday that they planned to shut down the store that has long drawn hordes of gown-seekers to Bay Ridge and transfer operations, including the 185 employees, to 20th Street near Avenue of the Americas this summer.
The new store, just west of Manhattan’s Ladies’ Mile shopping district, will be 35,000 square feet, with roughly double the selling space of the current store to accommodate what officials say is a rapidly expanding business.
Ronald Rothstein, a co-owner, said that Kleinfeld Bridal had looked to stay in Brooklyn, where the business maintained a Madison Avenue sophistication at the same nondescript Bay Ridge corner after opening as a fur store in 1941. But the complex requirements of selling thousands of high-priced silk, tulle and lace confections each year – including the multiple fittings – and the fact that about 80 percent of the future brides work in Manhattan, Mr. Rothstein said, justified the move.
Over the years, Kleinfeld developed an international reputation for its enormous selection of designer wedding gowns and came to be considered the ultimate destination for pampered, one-stop shopping with an old-world emphasis on personal attention. Many of the brides, accompanied by family and friends, came from New York and neighboring states, but others routinely arrived from across the country and around the globe.
The store, which turned exclusively to wedding wear in 1968, went through financial difficulties and changed ownership in the 1990′s before it was acquired at the end of the decade by Mr. Rothstein and his partners. They include Mara Urshel, a fashion executive, and Wayne Rogers, the actor who is probably best known for his role as Trapper John on early episodes of “M*A*S*H.”
The company is now doing well, Mr. Rothstein said, with bookings for wedding gowns up by 25 percent this year. An average sale, store officials said, is in the $4,000 range.
But Kleinfeld has outgrown its space, Mr. Rothstein said, necessitating the move.
Manolo says, if you like to look at the pictures of the wedding gowns up for the auctions, the Manolo he would like to remind you that he has built the site where you can do just that: The Designer Wedding Gown Auctions.
Here, if you are searching for the gown from the Monique Lhuillier or the Vera Wang or the Oled Cassini, or you are just the looky-loo, you can see what is out there.
Here’s an article about Monique Lhuillier one of my favorite bridal designers.
Monique Lhuillier has quickly gone from bridal designer to red carpet sensation.
That jade goddess gown on Diane Lane at the Golden Globes? It was hers. Britney Spears’ strapless, princess mermaid wedding dress? Another Lhuillier frock.
You can’t quite call her an overnight success, though. The petite Lhuillier, who was raised in the Philippines, has been interested in fashion as long as any 33-year-old could be. She knew in high school that she wanted to pursue a fashion career, so when it came time for college, Los Angeles’ Institute of Design and Merchandise was an easy choice. Her studies focused on bridal and eveningwear.
Lhuillier says she loves the intimacy of working with young women who are excited, nervous and in love all at once. “With bridal, I feel a huge responsibility for my customers. I really feel like when the whole event is done they’re my friends. We bond that much. It’s beyond the dress; I’m responsible for making their dreams come true.”
In 1996, she made a sample collection of eight gowns and brought them to a trade show. She picked up five stores right away. Six months later, and with another trade show under her belt, Lhuillier began to build up a following. She added evening wear in 2000 and opened her own store.
Here are three of my favorite Monique Lhuillier gowns. Note closely the way shoe uses lace.
Lhuillier brings a concern for sumptuous materials and workmanship which evokes the Old World. Yet her dresses which are at once traditional and romantic, remain utterly stylish and glamorous.
This sensibility is particularly evident in her lace creations. This is not your grandmother’s lace dress. Look at the how that middle gown shows off the model’s figure. Rather than piling frou-frou lace on top of satin, she’s created a form-fitting lace sheath which is both flattering and provocative.
Is it any wonder that Hollywood starlets have been turning to Monique Lhuillier in droves for both their bridal and evening wear?
Whether or not she wants to admit it, almost every woman, well before she’s met Mr. Right, has imagined herself walking down the aisle in the perfect wedding dress.
Amsale Aberra designs dresses that look like the ones we have in our heads. They’re for smart modern princesses. Traditional and romantic but not ridiculous, opulent but not decadent.
The ones I like most are her strapless, full-skirted gowns. They have a dramatic sweep, and the details are pretty and feminine, without being overpowering.