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Categorized | Business, Living, People, Weddings

Spring Fling

By AML Publisher

Photos courtesy of Kevin E. McPherson

Sasso’s talent for custom construction evolved from a Columbia MBA and love of mathematics.

Sasso’s talent for custom construction evolved from a Columbia MBA and love of mathematics.

I first heard about Josephine Sasso while attending the late summer Main Line wedding of a dear family friend several years ago. The fashion buzz, aside from the bride’s stunning $10,000 dress, was that the bridesmaids’ gowns had all been custom created by the local fashion designer via several consultations in her Suburban Square boutique. One by one, the eight beautifully blond and seasonally tanned maids magically glided down the aisle of Saint Katharine of Siena’s Catholic church in Wayne. Each carried a perfect cluster of fragrant, magenta peonies. And each attendant wore a slim-fitting, shantung silk strapless cocktail dress in a slightly different shade of powder pink. It was elegant and unique—and long before the concept of customizing a style and dress to each member of your bridal party’s figure (and taste) was on trend.

Sasso’s creative eye for design harks back to her privileged childhood. Riding since the age of two at family estates in Palm Beach, Wilmington, Delaware and Chesapeake City, Maryland, Sasso’s experiences shaped her taste for a distinctly preppy, sophisticated style of clothing. During her days at The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut and her time at The Tattnall School in Greenville, Delaware, Sasso developed a passion for fashion that led her to The Parsons School of Design for a short stint. After graduating with a BA and MBA from Columbia, Sasso’s career in fashion and interior design took off. “I’ve had a love for sewing since I was a little girl! It’s just something that always came naturally for me. Using my skills in structure and mathematics translated to sketching and constructing silhouettes very easily for me,” explained Sasso.

Heavy metal accents and layered chains counter the femininity of Sasso’s signature look.

Heavy metal accents and layered chains counter the femininity of Sasso’s signature look.

Since 2000, her Ardmore location has maintained a successful retail space offering a welcoming, homey feel. Customers can often find her eight-year old daughter Juliette and her friends playing dress up in the store’s fitting rooms. Or her husband, renowned caterer Peter Callahan, stopping by to drop off lunch. “My clientele is anyone from a twelve-year-old planning her bat mitzvah to a woman in her eighties and every age in between because we can really do anything. The wonderful thing about our boutique is that our customers are part of the creative process. When you ask us to design a sweet sixteen dress, a bridal gown, or something breathtaking for the Academy Ball, you can take the time to select your colors and fabrics and work with me one-on-one, knowing the end result is exactly what you had in mind,” said Sasso.

After her daughter was born, Josephine closed her New York locale to focus on the Main Line social scene, while maintaining a national scope. Sasso had originally done trunk shows for years. But, based on numerous requests, her business evolved into strictly made-to-order. “I constantly heard from my customers, when I originally started out, that they enjoyed a piece or part of a dress or outfit but wanted to change the color or neckline to suit their style. So, I listened and now that is all I do.”

Sasso uses consistent silhouettes with her signature look, recognizable at society events across the region, which involve bold patterns and bold colors. And, her designs are one-of-kind. A black and cream cotton blend ballgown that is showcased in the corner of a fitting room retails for $5,000, but the same pattern can be recreated in a $400 rendition. Sasso also prides herself on modern bridal dresses, satin coat dresses for a second wedding and nontraditional colors of soft grey as distinct statements for her clients as they walk down the aisle. Her looks have been highlighted in Martha Stewart Weddings, Town & Country, In Style and O Magazines, among others.

Bold colors, especially orange, and bold accents are spring 2009 trends.

Bold colors, especially orange, and bold accents are spring 2009 trends.

As for spring, she identifies a handful of key trends while emphasizing her seasonal lines stay true to her style and vision. “Ruffled sleeves, light-colored lace, and dramatic jewelry are all very strong, as you can see throughout the store. Hot pink, bright orange and yellow are statement colors for spring 2009. This spring is very exciting, because we have a new national fashion icon setting the tone for many of us in the industry.”

That reference is of course, a nod to the country’s fashionable first lady for whom Sasso has high praise and great expectations. “I love Michelle Obama, she is great looking and has a wonderful presence and her style choices are intuitive, fashion forward. I appreciate how she wants to bring in new, young designers and introduce their look while staying traditional-with a twist. I’m excited to see the full scope of Michelle’s influence on the fashion world, and that will most certainly include me.”

From outfitting a singer for a band performing in Joe Biden’s inaugural ball to the hundreds of dresses and tops shipped regularly to one of her biggest fans, Oprah Winfrey, Josephine Sasso has calculated the correct equation for a successful career that will continue to dress Main Liners and celebrities for years to come. “Every day I wake up with a new dress in my mind ready to design. Whatever inspires me each day of my life most definitely will eventually end up in a part of my designs. A cocktail party, a trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum, those experiences are perceived differently when you are an artist because you are constantly attune to details and pulling from life experiences with a mind always open to creative influences,” said Sasso.

The Josephine Sasso boutique is located at 37 Coulter Avenue in the Suburban Square Shopping Center in Ardmore, PA. For more information and store hours call 610-658-9002 or visit www.josephinesasso.com.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Patti Says:

    Josephine Sasso is a favorite Main Line boutique. Its the kind of shop you can walk into and peek around without feeling intimated-probably why she has survived all these years. just gorgeous clothes–and she is always there to greet me with a smile!

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