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April 27, 2012     Post-Gazette
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Page 8 POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 27, 2012 " ' A DESIGNER BEHIND THE GLITZ & GLAMOUR OF A NEW TV REALITY SHOW "Whoever has the most rhinestones wins." "We need to make o train that goes.forever." "It don't mean a thing i.f it ain't got that BLING!" "It is absolutely going to be loaded and loaded and loaded with crystals.'" These are just a few of the phras- es to pass the lips of Sondra Celli who is famous for her fabulous children's clothing including Bar- mitzvah, Christening, Communion and now has become America's No. 1 Gypsy dressmaker. Headquartered in Boston, Sondra's studio welcomes color- ful clientele. She doesn't bat an eye when getting a phone call from a Gypsy bride who needs the biggest, boldest, best dress... in just five days. What prepares a designer to work at lightning speed and with such originality? Sondra, is the go-do designer for the Gypsy community, and is sought after for her elaborate, over the top, crystal-studded dresses. Award winning designer Sondra Celli is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology. Upon graduating the Fashion Institute, Sondra attended the Scholastic International Program studying design in Italy, France, England, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark. Since then she has held designer positions at several prestigious companies in NYC, Italy, Hang Kong and Tokyo prior to founding The Sondra Celli Company in 1984. You can say that Sondra's trade- mark is her attention to detail and personal service. Sondra's designs have been featured in Vogue, Vogue Knitting, Town and Country, Harpers Bazaar, New York Magazine, New York Times, Boston Globe; and numerous newspapers aro. und the country. Do Gypsieread Vogue? TJat's irrelevant to Sondra, who knows instinctively What her clients Want when theyplace that all-imnt call. A Gypsy girl who wans to "blind" teenage boys gets a pair of knee-high boots coverd!wth 43,000 pink rhinestones and piok hot pants with hearts on the barck pockets. A bride whose wedding Nettle and JR's first kiss. This Gypsy bride waited 14 years for her dream wedding. Blinged up Baby Jackson theme is Winter Wonderland is given the snow queen treatment with fur, iridescent crystals and LED lights. Sondra delivers because she's been a part of the Gypsy culture for years. She understands how important a Communion is and knows that a little girl is on display as soon as she's born - and that's why she makes those precious white dresses "just a little sexy" with off-the-shoulder straps. Those dazzling wedding gowns? Sondra makes each one unique and better than the rest she knows day, the bride settles down to a lifetime of childbearing and house cleaning. TI_C announced that is has scheduled the premiere of the all- new series MY BIG FATAMERICAN GYPSY WEDDING - going inside the hidden world of American Gypsies - on Sunday, April 29 at 10/9c. Each of the series eight episodes will explore the tight- knit Gypsy community, offering up unprecedented access to their lives, welcoming viewers into their homes and trailers, and inviting them to their infamous Swarovski crystal-studded weddings. Building on the worldwide success of the UK series MY BIG FAT GYPSY WEDDING, TLC will now go across the United States to share what For American Gypsy brides, the preferred method ol transportation for their wedding day is a horse and carriage. Bride Annie and her bridesmaids sparkle at her reception. For her Winter Wonderland wedding, bride Annie dons white fur. it's like to be living as a Gypsy in America. "MY BIG FAT AMERICAN GYPSY WEDDING is a remarkable look at a way of life that is extremely hidden from mainstream America, despite customs and celebrations that can be extravagantly elaborate - this is a culture where bigger is always better," said Amy Winter, GM, TLC. "With this series, TLC continues to open doors into little known worlds bisharing the lives of these fascinating families, theirstrong traditions and their over-the-top parties and events." / There are an etimated one million Gypsies through- out the U.S., but most live in complete secrecy, away from the judgment and discrimination that plague their communities. However, their lifestyles are anything but discrete - they blend long-estab- lished values with modern- day influences, resulting in celebrations that are large, loud and lavish. Boston based Sondra Celli, Amer- ica's leading Gypsy dress- maker, appears through- out the series, making the elaborate custom gowns that are a trademark of the Gypsy wedding tradition. Her outfits are also sought after for birthdays and other milestones when looking their best is the most important thing on a Gypsy's mind. From Baptisms to Birthdays, to the wildest weddings across the USA, the series will introduce Gypsies who are clinging to ancient tradi- tions and connected by unbreak- able family bonds. See Sondro's designs and hear her always accurate, often humorous gypsy comments in My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, premiering Sunday, April 29 at 10 eastern / 9 central Nettle and her Wedding Party. Priscilla as The Queen of Hearts.