Gowns of renown: Melissa Campanini and James Fresina have introduced high-end, special event dresses to the area with their Fayetteville shop.
Brides-to-be will be happy to discover
Melissa James, a new dress salon at Towne Center. Open since August
2008, its owners Melissa Aiello Campanini and James Fresina have
combined their extensive fashion expertise. They feature fashions from
more than 50 top-of-the-line designers. The only store of its kind in
Central New York, Melissa James caters to special events couture, which
includes bridal ensembles for the second-time-around bride, mother of
the bride and party attire. “If you’re looking for a pair of jeans, our
store is not for you,” says Fresina.
Once the partners concluded that there was a need for a
store that focused on elegant, special occasion and bridal attire, the
Fayetteville area was the most likely location to showcase their unique
fashion lines. The attractive salon sits within a series of shops along
the east side of Towne Center, which also includes Panera Bread and
Melissa James is a classy looking
emporium. Scrolled on the carpet at the entry is a logo next to a
brown-and-tan zebra design. Shades of brown define the interior,
punctuated by a brocade settee, a tall, gilt-edged mirror and
brass-like glasstop coffee table. Satin drapery stretches along an
entire side of the room. An eight-globe candelabra affixed with strands
of crystal illuminates the front area, along with recessed lighting
along the trey ceiling, a decorative element that is used to add height
and dimension to the top of a room. The subdued illumination lends a
dramatic tone to the area.
The front room is devoted to
accessories. Handbags from ornately beaded pouches to sleek,
envelope-style foldovers are artfully displayed. A collection of
colorful scarves is draped over artists’ easels. Patterned blouses in
soft fabrics collect in small groupings. An array of jewelry to
complement the fashions is beautifully encased in a corner cabinet.
Textured almond-hued carpeting highlights marble-like
flooring in the interior showroom, and an identical candelabra as that
in the front room illuminates the space. The Melissa James
fashion-forward bridal gowns, one more beautiful than the next, cover
one entire wall and feature designs from Amsale, Priscilla of Boston
and Romona Keveza. Bridesmaids gowns, as well as cocktail-type
ensembles, occupy the other side of the room. Badgley Mischka, Carmen
Marc Valvo and Tadashi are among the labels showcased here.
Wedding-day wonders: Inside Melissa James, Rebecca
(left) wears a Romona Keveza couture collection gown in pearl-hued silk
chiffon. It has a V-neck bodice and a soft billowy skirt that is
accented at its empire waistline with delicate crystal beading. At top,
Lainie wears the custom gown created by her dad, shop co-owner, James
Fresina. It’s made with Lyon lace from France and is appliqued with
crystals, hand-dyed pastel beading and a floral motif. The train is
eight feet long. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTOS
Aiello and Fresina’s extensive
experience in fashion is your assurance of impeccable attention to your
bridal or special events needs. Aiello has a background of 15 years in
the retail industry with a focus on sales, marketing, management and
visual displays. She has worked in major retail markets including Los
Angeles, South Florida and New York City.
Fresina’s formal training as a dress
designer at the Traphagen School of Design in Manhattan has prepared
him for a long and illustrious career in the industry. His fashion
design experience means he’s quite knowledgeable in the complete
construction of custom clothing, coupled with a buying and management
background for companies such as Ralph Lauren and Nieman Marcus in
South Florida and New York.
Both Aiello and Fresina say that strapless gowns have
become the most popular bridal attire. “Simple designs also seem to be
favored by today’s brides,” comments Aiello. “The majority of our
bridal fashions are in ivory, which is complimentary to most
complexions,” notes Fresina. They recommend shopping for a dress three
to five months ahead of the wedding, although small-sized brides may
find their dream dress right in the store.
Whether you are looking for a bridal gown, an ensemble
for a second wedding, mother of the bride or something really snappy
for a special event, Melissa James could be your spot. You’ll find them
at 525 Towne Drive, Fayetteville; call 637-7535.