Reem Acra is an internationally renowned designer known for her breathtaking collections in ready-to-wear and bridal. After successfully establishing herself in the bridal market with her detailed and innovative couture designs, Acra expanded into ready-to-wear in 2001. Similar to its bridal counterpart, the collection features carefully crafted pieces with ornate beading, flawless embroidery and layered texture details.
Celebrated for her ability to make a woman feel confident and sensual, royalty, heads of state, and celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Halle Berry and Selena Gomez have worn her captivating designs to VIP and red carpet events such as the Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes.
Following is an interview with Ms. Acra to celebrate the launch of the essie gel couture by Reem Acra wedding collection, a limited edition collection or special occasion shades fit for royalty.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
My inspiration comes from different things, sometimes it is a mood or it could be an era or architecture. From this inspiration, I create a mood board that will ultimately define how my collection comes to life.
How does your Lebanese culture play a role in your designs?
I am influenced by many cultures; my Lebanese background provides me with a passion and the love of beauty, my French upbringing provides me with culture and the knowledge of couture and luxury and my American lifestyle brings me a practical sense.
If you could describe your bridal design aesthetic in three words, what would they be?
Passionate. Luxurious. Regal.
Where do you start when designing a bridal gown?
The beginning of a bridal gown starts with who the bride is first. Then I dream of the wedding dress she would want.
What role does color play in your inspiration process when designing a new piece?
Although most wedding gowns are white, color is still very important to me. The way we line and layer the piece depicts a certain color that is important for the individuality of each bride.
When you first meet with a bride-to-be, how do you help her select the best head-to-toe look?
I love guessing how a bride thinks she wants to look at her wedding day. I can easily feel her energy and know exactly what she is thinking. I can visualize the bride and her look walking down the aisle within a few minutes of meeting her.
You’re a judge on the popular show “Fashion Star” in the Middle East region. What do you look for in up and coming designers?
As a judge for Fashion Star, as well as many other fashion competitions like style.com Arabia, I look for a few things: 1) the talent must have a real point of view. 2) they must have the knowledge to construct a garment that is practical and appealing to the consumer. 3) they must have the right attitude and have the charisma and the power to fight for their space in the fashion field.
What excited you about collaborating with essie for the wedding collection by Reem Acra?
As a designer I was intrigued to partner with a nail brand like essie to bring my bridal design aesthetic to life in a collection of luxurious polishes. The essie gel couture line is not only stunning, but also practical. As someone who works with their hands as part of my craft, I was impressed by the long-lastingness of the range and the precision of the application. This attention to detail is part of my design DNA, so the fit was natural.
You worked with essie to inspire the vision and perfect the colors in this collection. What was the most fun part about dreaming up a gel couture nail polish collection?
Working with the essie team is fun all together. Their expertise made it easy for me to translate my wish colors into the gel couture nail polish colors.
When did your relationship with essie start?
I’ve been collaborating with essie for about a year on the gel couture wedding collection by Reem Acra. First, I started with a story, my signature colors and fabric swatches to ground us in where we wanted to go with the shades. This essie gel couture collection really brings to life the intimate details of getting reading for the big day and I wanted to ensure it came to life in a Reem Acra way.
What does the essie gel couture wedding collection by Reem Acra mean to you?
In all my designs I want to bring an element of magic. Imagine opening up a jewelry box and discovering what’s going on inside. This essie gel couture wedding collection is about the intimate moment shared with the bride and the women closest to her. Her grandmother, her mother, her dearest friends. They are sitting in a room getting ready for the wedding. It will be a royal affair – a grand party celebrating the marriage. But for now, there is a shared excitement among them and such anticipation for what’s to come.
You talked about all the women present at a bride’s special day. Why should brides consider these colors for them and their loved ones as part of their special day?
A wedding is a celebration of lifestyle and a union of two people, two families and all their friends. All the women celebrating this union must also celebrate themselves. Picking the colors for their wedding theme, the wardrobe and the nails are all a celebration of this beautiful union.
What inspired each of the colors of this collection?
Each shade is crafted to evoke a feeling of love, and was inspired by my Reem Acra brand.
- ‘picture perfect’ – this white color infused with pearls gives depth to the meaning of commitment. it is pure and loaded with history of my background. my father bought me a jewelry box as a little girl and it always had these loose pearls.
- ‘getting intricate’ – the color blue is not just any color. it really has the spirit of good luck or a good luck charm. blue has always been a color of luck . it is a must for the bridal party to use it in one way or another. this polish has a perfect tone to blend with gold.
- ‘you’re golden’ – there is never a collection of mine without the gold color. it is my signature shade. it is regal. after all it also symbolizes my jewelry box world.
- ‘handmade of honor’ – this shade of pink polish is natural yet regal. it gives the hint of purity and friendship, something you depend on your designated maid of honor for.
- ‘moments to mrs’ – we all need a boost of color to remind us of the good life and all the opportunities we have – a way of celebrating life. what else is a wedding about? This lead shade for the collection helps to celebrate friendship, the union of two people and two families, as well as the beginning of the promise of a new life.
- ‘forever family’ - family is forever, and so is the color red. It is a color of passion, energy and love. When I think about how important it must be for family or friends that feel like family to be present, I wanted this shade to be red.
Was there a ‘must have’ color you wanted to ensure in your collection?
All the colors we designed for the collection are at the core of the Reem Acra brand.
If you had to pick just one shade from the collection, what is your go-to?
I really love ‘you’re golden’ and the way the light reflects in it.
How does a woman say ‘I do’ to the right nail color?
Nail polish color is just like a fashion accessory. The right color to commit to depends on a woman’s personality, her mood and the occasion. What’s important when we think about a wedding is that colors reflect the joyous moment. Even if you don’t wear polish regularly, these kind of special days are cause to choose a beautiful, lust-worthy color.
What are your special ideas to make the process of getting a manicure for a wedding special?
As part of the story to create this collection I came up a fun vision that the bride asks all those surrounding her on her big day – her mother, grandmother, best friends, to paint just one nail from their pedicure a different color. Perhaps the ‘getting intricate’ blue shade. It’s a secret shared only among them … and also a something blue.
If you had to recommend each gel couture by Reem Acra shade for a genre of occasion/wedding theme … which would you wear to a:
- black tie -Look sharp and well put together. The small touches like accessories are important. Choose shades like ‘forever family’ and ‘handmade of honor.’
- garden gala – Dress cool and comfortably so you can enjoy yourself. Cool shades that dress up your look pick ‘you’re golden’ and ‘moments to mrs.’
- beach vows – When you get swept away in the energy of the water and the beautiful couple, choose clean shades like ‘picture perfect’ and ‘getting intricate.’
You’re all about redefining boundaries in fashion. What would you say to a bride-to-be who is hesitating to choose a non-traditional nail color for her wedding?
I always like to say to a bride be yourself, but with so many decisions to make for a wedding it can be very overwhelming. My advice: there is a place for traditional, but allow yourself to be daring and be different, why not a new color you have not tried before that could be your something new? I wanted to ensure all the of my gel couture wedding collection shades offer traditional to modern choices for everyone attending a wedding.
From head to toe, what would be in your wedding day emergency essentials kit?
Safety pins, lipstick, needle and thread, extra buttons if your dress has them, a big smile, lots of love and do not forget your long-lasting polish like the essie gel couture line to ensure your manicure stays shiny and flawless during the festivities.
Do you have any advice for family members and guests attending weddings? – What are appropriate, or not recommended, fashion advice?
Do not outshine the bride. Be happy celebrating the union of two individuals who matter to you. Enjoy the wedding, look smashing and get something new for yourself!
Where can women buy the essie gel couture wedding collection by Reem Acra?
My gel couture wedding collection is available worldwide starting in March 2018. The collection is limited edition, so it’s something you’ll want to get your hands on whether you are the special bride-to-be, bridesmaid, mother of the bride/groom or wedding guest. I’ll be so thrilled to see people around the world wearing Reem Acra on their nails.