Wedding Designer Feature: Lazaro

Lazaro Perez always knew he was going to be a designer, and today his designs are beloved by brides around the world. From dramatic cuts and fits to shimmering fabrics, Lazaro gowns are full of modern, fantasy-like romance. Both brides and celebrities alike love the award-winning designer, and he isn’t stopping anytime soon.

How it All Began for Lazaro Perez

Born in Cuba, Lazaro Perez lived and breathed fashion. His mother was a seamstress, and Lazaro helped her make their family clothes, along with bridal gowns for several brides. He loved to draw and paint as well, and always wanted to be a costume designer. It was only natural for him to attend design school.

While attending the Ray College of Design in Chicago, Lazaro worked as a pattern maker and designed customs gowns at a couture bridal shop. In 1981, he wanted to venture out with his own designs, so he competed in a design competition. He won not just one but three awards for “Best New Bridal Design” (in the bridal, bridesmaid, and mother of the bride categories).

After graduation, Lazaro moved to New York and worked as an apprentice for bridal house Galina-Bouquet. He later moved on up and became head designer for Richard Glasgow’s Riccio collection. It wasn’t until about a decade later that he got his big break with JLM Couture.

How Lazaro Perez Got into the Bridal Industry

In 1994, Joe Murphy, president and CEO of JLM Couture, brought Lazaro into the JLM family to launch his own collection. Along with Lazaro, the JLM brand owns nine bridal lines, including well-known designers like Hayley Paige and Allison Webb.

From there, Lazaro continued to grow. In 2001, he won Designer of the Year and a DEBI (Distinctive Excellence in Bridal Industry) award, and in 2004 he won the Couture Bridal Award in the bridesmaid category. Six years later, Lazaro expanded his brand and designed the Tara Keely collection: a simple, pared-down aesthetic for brides wanting a more affordable price. The gowns are soft and romantic with timeless sophistication.

The Lazaro Empire Today

All of Lazaro’s designs are made in New York City and exude old-fashion glamour with vintage-inspired accents. Imagine dazzling embroidery, delicate lace appliques, tiered tulle trains, and Lazaro’s signature seductive silhouettes. Gowns range from sizes 2-28 and cost $3,500 to $8,000. Brides can only purchase a gown through JLM-authorized retailers—they are not available online.

When creating new designs, Lazaro starts with one sketch at a time (versus busting out an entire collection at once). As a visual person, he uses mannequins to bring his collections to life. Each gown has a bit of Spanish flare, like lace and playful skirts, as a nod to his Cuban roots.

Lazaro says his brides are his muse, and travels to a number of trunk shows to interact with them. He says nothing is more special and rewarding than seeing a bride wearing one of his designs. He loves watching them become overwhelmed with emotions knowing they’ve found the one.

Looking to the future, Lazaro would love to see his brand expand and evolve. The designer has been looking into more red carpet looks and hopes to create an evening line or mother of the bride collection.

Our Fave Lazaro Looks

For the Spring 2022 collection: extravagant skirts, whimsical embellishments, and playful accents. The ivory Amelie gown is Art Deco-inspired, and the tufted tulle overskirt adds a touch of drama. We have serious heart eyes for the strapless sweetheart Estelle gown. The floral embroidery is amazing, and the asymmetrical waterfall skirt is stunning.

For a show-stopping number, check out the Bacall gown. This ivory, organic-cotton ball gown features a plunging neckline, detachable balloon sleeves, and a side slit with pockets. Plus, the chapel train is oh-so dreamy.

Several celebrities have hopped on the Lazaro fan train. Mariah Carey looked like a princess in her ruffled, silk organza ball gown. It was the perfect pick for her Disneyland vow renewal with husband Nick Cannon.

Speaking of Disney, former Disney star Christy Carlson Romano said “I do” to a strapless beaded number from Lazaro. Romano finished the look with extra-long white gloves and white fur for her Winter Wonderland-themed nuptials to producer Brendan Rooney.

Another stunning design was pro surfer and shark-attack survivor Bethany Hamilton’s wedding dress. For her laidback ceremony, Hamilton chose a beautiful ball gown with lace detailing and a flowy tulle skirt.

When you write a love song, you need an amazing wedding gown to wear in the music video, and these singing starlets stunned in Lazaro gowns. Lindsay Ell wore a romantic floral gown in her “I Don’t Love You” music video. Demi Lovado chose a strapless A-line gown full of Chantilly lace for her “Tell Me You Love Me” music video. The dress is ultra-dreamy and gives us total boho vibes. Leave it to Lazaro to deliver the romance!