One of my favorite things to do as the friend of a bride-to-be is go dress shopping. Not only do I get to look at the latest designs, but I get the honor of sharing that tremendous moment with my friend when she sees herself, for the first time, in a wedding dress. It’s a remarkable experience, and I get excited each time I’m invited to go along for the ride. I recently went with a friend to an amazing design studio in San Francisco, call Amy Kuschel Bride. It’s on Grant Ave., just off of Union Square. The studio is on the third floor of an old San Francisco building, and when you walk in, the first thing you notice is the openness of the space. It’s not cluttered with racks and racks of gowns, or partitioned off into rows of dressing rooms. It is, in fact a working design studio, with a salon where clients may try on the dresses. All of the gowns are created right there on the premises. In the studio, you can see bolts of fabric and sewing machines, and the designers and the dress makers hard at work. Amy is usually there as well, designing. Chatting with her, I found out that she just opened the studio about 3 years ago. Before that she sold her gowns exclusively through other retailers. In opening up her studio to brides, she has created a unique, couture experience for her clients. The idea came to Amy when a customer who lived close by requested to come by the studio, back when it was just a studio and not open to the public. Amy agreed, reluctantly. But when she saw how positively her customer reacted to seeing the studio, and behind the scenes, she knew she was on to something.
Amy’s designs are, needless to say, exquisite. The styles range from sweet and classic, to glamorous and luxurious. The gowns hang along the walls where brides can actually see, and touch them to decide which ones she’d like to try on, rather than just looking through a book. On the salon side of the studio, you have just a few changing rooms, a gigantic mirror, and comfortable couches for the guests. Everyone who works in the salon also contributes to the creation of the gowns, either as a designer, or dress maker. In other words, no one is hired just to sell you a dress. My friend tried on a dozen gowns, and each one she tried on, she liked more than the previous one. Right now the frontrunner is a style called Antoinette. The entire experience at Amy Kuschel Bride was fabulous. Amy has really found a way to provide the couture experience without the couture attitude, or prices for that matter. Her organic approach to business makes her an absolute pleasure to work with, and I highly recommend making an appointment to visit her studio if you’re in the San Francisco area. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that will open your eyes.
Amy Kuschel Bride is located at 23 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA or online at www.amykuschel.com.