An Exclusive Interview with Designer Carlos Ramirez for Liancarlo

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Photo courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury

As New York Bridal Fashion Week quickly approaches, we had the opportunity to interview designer Carlos Ramirez of Liancarlo, one of the industry’s most respected bridal houses. Designed, manufactured and produced all in Miami, Florida, Carlos is known for his exquisite embroideries and innovative fabric techniques.

Jim Verraros: You attended law school and instead of interning at a firm, you sold a few sample dresses which essentially birthed the start of Liancarlo. Can you describe the very first gown you ever sold?

Carlos Ramirez: The first few pieces I started out with were actually not gowns, but sportswear pieces.  I thought those would be an easier way to break into the market.  It was almost a year or so later that the sportswear began to morph into late day/evening and slowly into gowns.  But the first piece was a very “gypsy” inspired piece with a neckline that fell slightly off the shoulder and antique lace appliqued on a silk chiffon ground. It was the late 80’s after all!

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Photos above courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury

JV: I love that your whole approach to fashion is how you approach art. Does inspiration begin with a painting that leads into a garment, or is it the other way around? Are they completely separate or very much connected?

CR: It’s ALL connected. Ideas occur in one space and are developed further in another, and that applies to pattern, shape, cut, the use of color… almost anything is “food for thought.”  A couple of seasons ago, while spending a really frustrating day working on new embroidery patterns, I left frustrated and absorbed in thought at the end of the day and went to my regular yoga class.  On the back of the guy in front of me was this small flower tattoo, it looked almost like a cornflower.  Well that was it! I got home and drew up various versions and the next morning I was emailing patterns to Italy for the embroidery.

JV: Your collections have stunning metallic threading and embroideries. Do you have a favorite gown you’ve done that you’re really proud of?

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Carlos creating abstract flowers from cut up Italian embroidery for the hem of a gown

CR: It is kind of funny, I don’t get too attached to what I have done, I always think the best gown will be in the next collection. It’s just the way I think.  In every collection I have favorites, but I am always excited about what to do next; that they don’t compare to the ideas or thoughts I have going forward.

JV: We’re heading into New York Bridal Fashion Week very soon! Can you share with us some hints about what we can expect from you for your Fall 2016 Bridal Collection? Any photos or sketches you’d like to share are welcomed. 😉

CR: I will have photos since we just recently did our photo shoot.  That was awesome, we again took over my house and my paintings and the canvas served as a backdrop. It was very cool, it’s like my whole vision blending into an image. This collection is really cool.  There are of course new embroideries; I worked with a new mill to develop this really unique metal threadwork, it’s very fine and delicate, almost like filigree. Beautiful.  Also, I used one embroidery to create abstract flower patterns, it was almost like painting in fabric.  It took forever to cut up and create the flowers since it was the whole hem of a ball gown and then we added crystals.

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Liancarlo, Fall 2014 Collection

JV: One of my personal favorite bridal looks you did was on Jamie Lynn Spears who looked timeless and elegant in her Liancarlo gown and gorgeous veil. Who’s your dream celebrity client to dress either as a bride-to-be or for a red carpet event?

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CR: I think we have lost perspective on who some of these people are.  I am perfectly content dressing a nice intelligent bride that I meet at one of my trunk shows.  Often times I meet the most fascinating and genuine women at our shows, and I am honored to be part of their happiest day. That works for me.

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Carlos designing embroidery patterns above

JV: You’ve recently joined Facebook which I am so excited that you have! You’ve been sharing a lot of your gorgeous artwork lately…how do we purchase a Carlos Ramirez original?

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CR: It’s at one gallery for the moment, but I am about to sign up with 2 more galleries.  It will be on my website: http://www.carlosramirezart.com

JV: The bride today is so much different then the bride of ten years ago in terms of style and buying behavior. How do you feel social media has influenced today’s bride?

CR: Obviously greatly, but it’s not just social media, it’s the internet as a whole.  The fact that brides can look at collections, wedding ideas from hundreds of resources, concepts that they may not have thought of before, really helps to expand the realm of creativity when it comes to putting a wedding together.  I think it’s a huge plus; I hear all these stories from brides about what they are thinking of doing for their wedding and think wow, that sounds exciting and fun.

JV: Is there a designer either in bridal or ready-to-wear that you respect or have admiration for?

CR: I actually have had a huge respect for Valentino (the man not the current label) for all of his career.  In many ways he really dressed people and wasn’t just about the hype.

JV: Your gowns can be heavily beaded and embellished and still be as light as a feather! How do you do it?

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Photo courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury

CR: I work very hard at that.  I always think the person should wear the dress and not vice versa, so I look for ways that they can remain light and wearable.

JV: What would you say is one of the biggest mistakes brides make when shopping for a gown?

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Real Bride wearing Liancarlo, style 5806, photo courtesy Troy Grover Photographers

CR: Too much shopping and too many opinions.  Once you have an entourage, you are dressing by committee, don’t do that.  Go with your feelings, have a close friend or relative that knows you help you out, but someone that also respects your individuality.  And by all means when you’ve found the gown, buy it and move on.  Lots of brides spend months looking for a dress, and end up getting confused after having tried on hundreds of styles, that they end with a poor choice.  Stop when it’s right.

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Photo of Carlos Ramirez on the runway at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design

Thank you so much, Carlos for spending the time with us! We can’t wait to see you in New York for Bridal Fashion Week!

Click on the video below to see the movement of Liancarlo gowns on our runway:

–Jim Verraros

Liancarlo available in Chicago exclusively at Ultimate Bride

To see the collections and to find a retailer nearest you, visit: http://www.liancarlo.com

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