Thursday, July 17, 2003

Visiting dress designer says brides need open mind


By Joy Kraft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Lazaro Perez
It's not every day that dress-hunting brides can pick the brain of a New York wedding gown designer.

But July 25-27 Lazaro Perez, know in bridal design circles simply as Lazaro, will be at Bridal & Formal in Reading to show off 20 bridal gowns and about 22 bridesmaids designs with his signature hand-embroidery detailing and subtle colors.

"Certain stores will come to New York to see the collection and can't buy the whole collection. This gives the brides a chance to see the entire fall/winter collection, not just what the store purchased," says Lazaro, 40, rumored to be JLo's designer choice for her planned trip down the aisle (her third) with Ben Affleck.

We caught up with the designer who packs his $2,000-$7,000 bridal and $200-$300 bridesmaids dresses on the road "about 2 1/2 months of weekends throughout the year" for each of his two collections.

Question: Why design bridal dresses?

Answer: Ever since I was in school I wanted to do costume and theater work. If you think about it, it is the most elaborate costume you'll ever wear. You can be very creative with it.

Q: You are known for color and embroidery. What's different about the fall/winter line?

A: The designs have a lot of gold and silver, lots of embroidery with metallics, very regal. There's an entire gold dress with a big, full box-pleat 100 percent silk satin skirt, with gold embroidery on the bodice, a sweetheart neckline, strapless of course. And we're designing veils to coordinate with the dresses - chapel length and hand-embroidered.

Q: When did "strapless" become the norm?

A: Five years ago, you couldn't give them away. I think girls nowadays are shaping up and are health conscious. They want to show it off. Everyone looks great in strapless. And it's comfortable because I do an inner bodice, almost like a corset, inside every one with 12 bones that make it stand up.

Q: What's most important in choosing a wedding dress?

A: Having an open mind. Try on a lot of different silhouettes, then eliminate and narrow it down.

Q: What style flatters the most body types?

A: The A-line skirt, popular right now, is good for petites and for those a little heavier. You wouldn't want a 4-foot-11 girl in a big tulle gown.

Q: What's your favorite dress in the new line?

A: There's a finale piece, a gathered bodice with a full skirt, almost like a trumpet or mermaid dress, made of razimer, a taffeta-like fabric.

For an appointment with Lazaro, call Bridal & Formal, 821-6622.


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