In the Fall 2018 issue of MunaLuchi, we had the pleasure of producing a fashion editorial shoot in tribute to the late Amsale Aberra. The Editorial featured new wedding gown designs by 4 prominent black wedding gown designers. Each designer also had the opportunity to discuss how Amsale has influenced their careers in the fashion industry. Over the next couple of days, we are sharing each designer interview with you, as seen in the Fall 2018 issue. Take some time to get to know these talented designers.
Next up on the list is Jean-Ralph of Jean Ralph Thurin
Jean Ralph Thurin has been designing luxury gown for the past 20+ years for the most discerning of clientele. Based in New Jersey, this couture bridal gown designer has mastered the art of sewing, which you can see on his website and social media account. Read on to learn more about Jean Ralph.
When did you begin designing wedding dresses?
My senior year at Parsons School of Design, I was asked by my classmate to design her gown and thus began my love affair with wedding dresses!
How do you describe your design style?
Effortless Elegance with an unwavering attention to detail.
What do you believe are the cornerstone design elements of every wedding gown?
Design, fit and comfortability.
How do you define the line between gown and wedding gown?
I believe that wedding gowns evoke a different feeling from the bride than evening gowns. There is a romantic quality about a bridal gown that just distinguishes it from the rest.
Do you remember the first time you saw an Amsale gown?
Yes, I was looking at brides magazine collection reviews and thought to myself how consistent and elegant the look of her collection was!
Amsale’s design drive was in creating transcending fashion statements. When thinking of fashion that transcends, what immediately comes to mind? How do your own designs transcend fashion?
When I am designing, I do believe in creating timeless pieces that will transcend the trendy looks offered in today's bridal fashions. As a custom designer, oftentimes my work is guided to the personal desires of each of my clients but as for my collections, they are based on either locations or design elements that I have found inspiration from as opposed to trends.
Amsale believed that true style is timeless. What design elements do you find to be timeless?
I think lace, textured fabrics and elegant embellishments are always timeless.
In 1985 Amsale began her journey into the world of fashion with wedding gowns. In a time marked by inflated forms and elaborate details she went against the grain with clean, elegant designs of “quiet impact.” How has you work gone against current trends? How do you define “quiet impact?”
My work has gone more against trends, embraced some and made some new ones along the way. Every designer is capable of creating their own quiet impact by simply staying true to one's design philosophy.
How has Amsale directly or indirectly influenced and inspired you and your own work?
For the longest time, I did not realize that Amsale was African. Once I found this out I was even more inspired with her work, for simply creating elegant bridal gowns that were consistent with her brand and for staying true to who you are and the women you design for.
Amsale’s first step into the industry came out of necessity. How has necessity shaped your own path?
Passion fueled my hunger for designing. I also grew up in Africa and always saw my mother wear elegant outfits and dresses to various occasions she would go to with my father. From then, I always thought I would be dressing her someday.
What do you love most about an Amsale design?
I loved Amsale for her design philosophy and the fact that she always stayed true to the brand she created!
To learn more about Jean Ralph, visit his website at www.jeanralphthurin.com
Photography: In His Image Photography
Assistant Photography: Nana Annan
Hair: Glamour by Shaniqua
Makeup: Brides by Melanie B
Earrings: Headpiece Heaven
Styling: James R. Sanders
Cinematography: Yamean Studios