Designer Carlos Ramirez, best sums up his collection as refined elegance with a bit of Latin excitement thrown in. His roots and the cultural kaleidoscope that is Miami, are ever present in his collections. He combines feminine silhouettes with the use of luxurious fabrics, sumptuous textures and exquisite hand-work detail. A true colorist, he draws inspiration from the Florida’s sun-drenched palette.
Carlos’ mother was a seamstress in her native Cuba. After immigrating to the United States, it was through her small seamstress’ business that she helped support herself and her family. During these early years his passion for design was greatly influenced by the many hours spent in her shop. Although his dream was to be an architect, his mother persuaded him to attend the University of Miami Law School. Carlos was awarded a full scholarship before deciding to start Liancarlo in 1981, and follow his dream.
“My family and friends couldn’t believe that I dropped out of law school to start a dress company”, said Carlos. “They told me I was crazy, especially during the first few years when we never had any money.” His years of perseverance eventually were rewarded. “Building Liancarlo has been one of the most difficult yet fulfilling experiences of my life – my life certainly has turned out differently than those of my friends from law school.”
In 2001, Carlos launched his first bridal collection. The collection was immediately embraced by major retailers and exclusive bridal boutiques. In 2003, the New York Couture Bridal Associate and Wedding Dresses magazine awarded Carlos, Best New Bridal Designer. In 2004, Florida International Magazine presented him with the Best Designer in Florida Award.
A prolific artist, Carlos’, creative energy has recently fueled him to design a new blog that showcases paintings of Liancarlo brides as well as many of his personal projects. The blog is called “Art Reflects Life.” As for the future, Carlos intends to continue the evolution of Liancarlo to best meet the needs of his many loyal customers and to further pursue his artistic endeavors.
For Carlos Ramirez, founder of Liancarlo and native son of Miami, design is more than pouring heart and soul into his creations – it’s in his DNA. “I take great care and pride in what I do,” he says. “It’s part of who I am.”
But, Carlos’s path to a life as a nationally renowned bridal and womenswear designer wasn’t direct, nor was it easy. With hazy dreams of becoming an architect, he attended law school, at the behest of his well-intentioned, Cuban immigrant mother. His future as a successful lawyer seemed inevitable – a full scholarship, mentions on the dean’s list – but Carlos couldn’t shake his insatiable need to create.
So, he did what he advises others to do: “Follow the thread that means something to you.” Instead of interning at a law firm, he successfully sold a few sample dresses made in his mother’s sewing studio. It was then design became more than a job; it became his life.
Perhaps that path is what makes Carlos immune to complacency and reluctant to chase fast-fading trends. “My whole theory behind bridal is timelessness,” he says. “I design for people, not for show.”
A Liancarlo dress is stunning proof that classic does not mean boring. From metallic threadwork to blossom-dotted bodices inspired by his paintings, every piece shows that Carlos is equal parts designer and artist. “My whole approach to art is how I approach fashion,” he says. “I give myself the ability to play and experiment.”
Overseeing every aspect of the gown’s orchestration with his in-house team of seamstresses, Carlos brings his art to life. From concept sketch to muslin mock-up to finished piece, not only do his gowns show his commitment to making beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces, but also his devotion to making his clients feel inherently gorgeous.
“You want her to look special, but there’s also that level of transformation that becomes costume. It’s a fine line to walk,” he says. “I want people to remember how beautiful the bride was, not what a beautiful dress the bride wore”
Ultimately, Carlos says his designs are “what I am and who I am.” And, that is what a Liancarlo dress becomes as well – part of you.