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Internationally recognized designer Sareh Nouri is the creative force behind the eponymous, highly sought-after bridal label known for its romantic, sophisticated designs. Her wedding gowns are prized for their fine textiles, signature bow styles and delicate yet well-constructed design. As she celebrates a decade of success, we sat down with Nouri to learn more about her early years, her rise to industry fame and her latest collection of feminine gowns.
As a young girl, Sareh Nouri grew up with visions of bridal gowns dancing in her head. She dreamed of her own wedding day and spent hours sketching dresses embellished with lace and bows. For this hopeless romantic and professional graphic designer, those dreams became reality when she planned her own wedding, fell in love with the bridal industry and decided to turn her creative eye to couture dress design.
“I searched and searched for my wedding gown, but couldn’t find the kind of ethereal dress I had always envisioned,” she says. With a graphic-design degree from George Mason University, she drew an illustration of her dream gown, then visited the Garment District in New York City and returned home with layers of tulle that she delivered to an experienced seamstress. “After my wedding, I just couldn’t stop thinking of beautiful gowns and the bridal industry, so I started working for a luxury bridal salon in New Jersey,” says Nouri, 42, of Essex County.
After six years of modeling bridal gowns in the salon, collaborating with luxury couture designers and consulting one-on-one with brides, Nouri began sketching her own couture designs and started working directly with New York–area couture dressmakers.
“The key to success as a wedding-gown designer is this: It’s all about the fit. The fit is even more important than the fabric,” she says. “The best decision I made early on was to hire an extraordinary team of pattern makers and sample makers to create the best fit. Although I sketch all my designs personally, since I’m not a sample maker, I don’t know how to sew. That’s why I work with the most talented people in the business.”
Not surprisingly, in 2011 this hands-on designer turned out her own romantic and feminine creations of white, ivory and blush gowns, which her boss at the luxury bridal salon happily added to the racks, alongside preeminent designers such as Vera Wang. This collection of six luxe gowns incorporated imported French lace and Italian silk, all handmade with great attention to detail. The gowns were quickly scooped up by New York–metro area brides, proving that Nouri had transitioned from a successful bridal buyer into a successful bridal-gown designer.
Several months later, Nouri was surprised and delighted when salons in Maryland and Virginia ordered her dresses, along with colorful sashes adorned with Swarovski crystals, pearls and handwork that embellished her initial launch of six plain wedding gowns.
She then introduced an over-the-top, super-feminine collection that included the “It Dress,” a blush-pink Rose Garden wedding gown covered with handmade blossoms. That’s when things took off and she soon was represented in 15 stores. Nouri didn’t expect this level of success within her first year of business. “It happened so quickly. One of my best memories was seeing the New Jersey Bride cover of the Fall/Winter 2011 issue that featured one of my gowns. I’ll never forget that feeling.”
Fast-forward 12 years and you’ll find Nouri’s Fall 2022 collection, exclusively made in the USA—right here in Rutherford—in 65 national and international bridal salons including Bergdorf, Kleinfeld and Neiman Marcus. In 2021, she opened her flagship salon, Sareh Nouri New York, at the Mall at Short Hills. New Jersey brides also can find her collection at Bridal Atelier Montclair. More recently, the label appears on a large selection of U.S.-made evening gowns for maids and moms, as well as luxurious silk and lace robes, offered in select salons.
“It’s taken me years to learn this business and, even today, I still gain so much insight from brides who visit the salon,” she says.
Nouri is relentless in sourcing only the finest lightweight fabrics that drape exquisitely. “We work with special mills in Europe to find the most intricate beading and the most beautiful Italian silk and French lace in ivory, as well as off-white and white. That’s what brides as well as debutantes are looking for.”
Nouri’s Spring 2023 line is all about texture with classic laces. “My newest collection is inspired by our muses— Southern brides,” she says. “Blending timeless bridal aesthetics with contemporary styling, the Southern Charm collection reflects a sense of poise and confidence.”
Some favorites include Paisley, a three-dimensional floral-embroidered lace gown with a deep sweetheart neckline, soft A-line skirt and covered buttons to the waist.
Greer is a regal ballgown with a deep, sweetheart neckline and cathedral train. Embroidered floral lace and subtle paillettes add a romantic touch of texture that keeps the bride in a slight shimmer from her ceremony through her reception.
Addison is a sophisticated ballgown with a twisted, halter neckline. Subtle pleats in its soft, Italian stretch Mikado fabric envelop the bride in a bold, voluminous skirt as she floats down the aisle.
But perhaps the new look that’s getting the biggest buzz is Grayson (featured on the cover of the Fall/Winter 2022 edition of New Jersey Bride), with such couture elements as a pleated, draped tulle with straight-edge neckline, tiered pleated ballgown skirt and tiered pleated capelet. While also available in ivory, the frost-blue colorway is turning heads in bridal salons around the world.
“My bride is classic and timeless. She loves fashion but doesn’t stray too far out of the box. Think of the classic elegance of Hollywood starlets Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn,” Nouri says. “I always suggest an angelic look with a veil for the ceremony. Then consider a short dress for your reception or after-party.”
Today, Nouri calls Essex Fells home, where she lives with her husband and two daughters, one of whom is artistic and enjoys sketching wedding gowns.
To see Sareh Nouri’s latest collection, attend a trunk show or visit the flagship salon in Short Hills, where you can work with a consultant and try on the most current designs. For the latest collections and upcoming trunk shows, go to sarehnouri.com.