Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ULLA-MAIJA’s Couture Bridal Collection #30

Time & Place: Late Sunday Afternoon, NY Bridal Week,
The Ulla Maija Atelier & Showrooms, Manhattan’s Garment Center

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Richard Spiegel

Anna Maier was a real person; she was a master tailor who came to the United States in 1871, from the Alsace Lorraine region of France. Anna was Mr. Charles W. Bunstine II’s great grandmother.

Ulla-Maija Couture's business life is under the direction of Mr. Bunstine who develops the Anna Maier ~ Ulla-Maija collections with Allison Fletcher. Ms. Fletchter, very impressively, began as a design intern after graduating from the Savannah School of Design and worked her way up to her present position.


This season, the program notes promised us “contrasts, as they were a constant consideration”.

To start, fabrics are of paramount importance to this collection. There are rich duchess satins, sheer garza, and feather light tulle. The couture element extends to the various finishes and of course the draping the company is known for.


It’s clear that these are the sorts of gowns that a woman wears rather than the other way around. It’s likely that an Ulla Maija bride is also a fan of Calvin Klein’s. By “simple” we mean a notable absence of beading and lace overlays, and veils.

What really stood out was the skillful draping, sumptuous duchess satin, and how well the gowns fit. The gowns that worked the best were those that focused on shape and draping.

OUR FAVORITES: “Alita” a bias duchess satin gown with gazar draped shoulders and Katy:, a bias double charmeuse gown with asymmetrically draped constructed bodice and slimskirt.
Just about every bridal designer says the usual icons – Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Jacqueline Kennedy, influence them. The designers at Ulla Maija made not such claim, but they hit closer to the mark of capturing these icons’ classic elegance.
Simple by the way doesn’t mean that there aren’t any trains or bustles, rather they’re just smaller than in the past.

Although it’s called “couture” the prices are not out of the ballpark, starting with a draped garza coat for $1,900 up to a mixed duchess satin slim twisted tier draped gown with a silver and crystal floral embroidered bodice in the $5,000 range.

A low messy bun with heavy kholed eyes by VINCENT OQUENDO and his team at Smashbox Cosmetics that looked edgy, in contrast to the elegant duchesse satin gowns. The soul soundtrack that played in the background added a modern edge as well.