Acra’s childhood paved the way for a career in fashion. She respectfully speaks of her mom as her fashion icon. “My mother was a beauty. She knew how to dress. Since the age of five, I had a live-in seamstress, just for me. It was great having someone who would interpret my ideas. I would go buy fabrics with my mother on Saturdays. It was a great experience,” she recalls.
Yet, it wasn’t until much later that the young girl would grasp the idea that she was destined to be a designer. While studying at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, an editor noticed the dress Acra was wearing and inquired about it. Acra had designed the dress, herself. Ten days later, 2000 people viewed Acra’s personal collection of dresses at her first fashion show. That was, no doubt, a revelatory event. “It was an extraordinary moment. It hit me, on that day, at that time. I know exactly, the time and location, when my mind got set, and I knew, I will become a fashion designer,” says Acra.
She went on to study at New York’s FIT and Esmod in France. In 1997, she launched her first Bridal Collection. Her bridal gowns are highly coveted by many, from high-fashion lovers to brides who just want to look breathtakingly elegant on their special day. Acra’s attention to detail has asserted her as a top wedding gown designer. The success of her eponymous wedding gowns paved the way, and years later, the designer began creating ready-to-wear collections.
Acra’s muse is her customer, a woman who is both modern and classical and remains ageless. Her Resort 2014 Collection is the perfect representation of this client. The fabrics are lightweight, with intricate beading and embroidery. The dresses come in a gorgeous range of colors while added jewels play up the glamour factor.
In many ways, Acra’s client is a rendering of herself. After all, her path to success began with a dress she designed for herself many years ago. The Lebanese designer has managed to combine elements of her personality and the places she’s visited in her travels to create flawless designs. According to Reem Acra, fashion is more than a beautiful gown: “It’s not just about the dress, it’s the combination of the dress with the customer. That’s magic,” she concludes. ■