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The Perfect Wedding Dress and the Perfect Martini: Time Out with Rami Kashou

Special to OneWed by Denise Oliveira of

You probably know this about wedding gown designer Rami Kashou: He was a finalist on Project Runway. He designed Dixie Chicks’ Martie Maguire’s wedding dress. He also designed the costumes for the Roman Ladies in Madonna’s Superbowl 2012 Halftime Show, and he’s created red carpet gowns for the likes of Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum and Jessica Alba. Oh, and he is the creator of Bebe’s first bridal line that launched this Spring.

But maybe you don’t know this about him: This Fall he’ll be launching his very own bridal gown collection, and you might get to see him on TV again! His TV Pilot is currently circulating through the networks…. And I wanted to find out more about this Los Angeles-based designer who’s dressing brides all over the country and abroad. Not the stuff you typically read in interviews, but the good stuff; the little details of what it’s like to be Rami Kashou. He and I chatted, and he had this to say to you lovely OneWed readers!

Promise you’re not abandoning your custom wedding gowns now that you’re launching a collection? I’m absolutely not stopping that. My custom gowns are slightly different from the bridal gowns I’m launching. They’re more high-end and more detailed.

What’s your creative process? I usually sit down at my drawing table and I just start sketching away. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and a certain idea may come to mind while I’m still in bed, or I could be driving and have an idea. I just make a mental note of it and then eventually I draw it on paper. But usually I have a pretty clear idea about the foundation for the gown after my first consultation with the bride and a few follow-up chats. Naturally some of the details might change, but the foundation, the outline, is there. It’s my job as a designer to give them what they want, but also to keep them balanced, and advise them that certain ideas might not flatter them or might take attention away from them. Some ideas are great in theory but not in execution. It’s important that the bride feels extremely happy and comfortable on her wedding day, because being comfortable is a part of feeling and looking beautiful.

What do you draw inspiration from? My inspiration usually is romance and beauty, like organic details from nature. I’m studying lilies now. And always, the female figure. A body type can definitely inspire a design, whether she’s extremely curvy or extremely flat. I draw inspiration from different things, like I love Madame Grès, she was amazing back in her time. And I love sketches and artwork from Erté. I love watching old movies, and I like to go to museums. Photography can also really inspire.

How would you define your wedding gown style? The best way I can describe it in a few words is romantic, modern elegance. I think a lot of brides want to exude romance and something that’s ethereal, and I try to capture that in my designs.

What does a typical day in your life look like? I get up early, between 7 and 8, I’m definitely a morning person. And I love the smell of my strong morning espresso. I like to make my own coffee and I love the silence of the morning. I live in an area that’s away from the noise and the traffic of Los Angeles, it has more trees and nature, and you can hear the birds singing. I really like the morning sunlight, it’s so calming. I do my emails in the morning, I make some phone calls, things like that. For example, today one of my assistants will come here and we’ll work together on some patterns for the new collection. We’ll spend the whole day with music, working on different designs.

Where is your studio? It’s in the back of my home. I like that, because my work is my lifestyle. I can wake up in the middle of the night, and if an idea comes I can get my hands on some fabric and start doing something on the dress.

What time do you stop working? By 6:30 or 7 I like to go to the gym to stay fit. When I come back I might cook something with a friend, or a girlfriend might come over and we might make some drinks. Lately I’m all about mixing and playing with new drinks and herbs, it’s always fun. I’m kind of a home-body, I’m not out in the party scene as much. I like the quiet. Especially when I’m creating. It’s a phase I go through, I try to stay focused on the inspiration and the theme of the collection.

And when is bedtime? Bedtime is usually 11:30 to midnight during the week, but even during the weekend, 2 am is late for me.

How do you stay in shape, what do you eat? Well, I love to cook. Food is my second passion. When I’m inspired that is, not every day. Last week I had a friend over, and I made an herbed roasted chicken, which I roasted for two hours, and a Brussels Sprout, potato, and shallot baked salad and a fresh green salad. I have a Middle Eastern background, and our cooking is very much from scratch. We use a lot of different herbs and seasonings, so that’s always infused in the way I cook. But I’m not a boring eater, I still will have a pizza or whatever I want to try, within moderation. I think food is to be enjoyed. And if you work out, you delete the guilt.

Can you leave us with some advice for our brides? I think it’s important for a bride to understand her body more than she understands the trend of the moment. Because really, this dress is about her. I know every bride wants to be fashionable, but there are so many trends out there, and some might be right for her, but some won’t be, and a bride needs to be okay with that. The important thing is to try different gown styles, with different outlines, whether it’s A-line, fishtail, trumpet, or a princess gown. That’s better than trying on a million dresses within the same style.

What about a favorite recipe? Mixed Raspberry Minti-ni (ingredients below): Add in the vodka, club soda, lemon and lime juice mix, garnish and "LIVE"!

1/3 cup Effen Vodka
1/4 club soda
1/4 lime juice
1/4 lemon juice
Fresh raspberries, blackberries and mint leaves muddled with half a teaspoon of Agave nectar

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