Red Carpet Ready

Elysze Held dresses Betsy Perez

he team on the Black Carpet Elysze Held, Betsy Perez and Rene Ruiz captured personal stylist Elysze Held as she prepped Betsy Perez – wife of mega music producer Rudy Perez – for The Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame gala at Miami’s New World Center. Perez wasn’t just accompanying her husband on the red carpet, but was also serving as an esteemed hostess. So in anticipation of the event – an invitation-only gathering of music industry legends – Perez called on Held, who’s known for dousing her clients with glamour and camera-ready style.

Held began the process as she always does — going through dozens of looks in search of something out of the ordinary, something different. For the refined and genteel Perez, Held wanted a dress that would transcend trend, and be an element of her personality – elegant, simple, and chic. Held says that comfort translates into confidence, and so a fabric in which she could easily greet her famous guests with hugs and also navigate the red carpet would be a critical element.

To help across the coast, Held called up New York-based stylist Samantha Brown, who scoured the showrooms and shops but it was unnecessary. The absolute only option – it turned out – was René Ruiz Couture, the Miami dress designer who had just returned from a debut at the Paris Collections. The designer has something for everybody yet he keeps true to his own aesthetic and his fabrics – chiffons, silk tulles, embroidered satins, and silk charmeuse – all from the most extravagant textile houses in France and Italy!

Inside Rene Ruiz's atelier, Rene & Elysze, trying to make it work

Ruiz is utterly intense about couture handwork; in many a dress, the stitching was so fine it was invisible. “I love to work in luxurious fabrics” he says. “My atelier’s artisans are the best, and expert at the intricate skill of working in the finest fabric available.”

And the collection is also an ode to his craftsmanship – beautifully exemplified in dresses with layers of lace and organza. In fact, Ruiz was singled out this past year in an article on craftsmanship in the esteemed Women’s Wear Daily for producing his collection exclusively in the United States.

Following a tour of his two-story atelier in Coral Gables, Held set out to pull the best looks for Perez.

Ruiz started with a parade of gorgeous gowns. The first a navy confection-which featured his signature beadwork in tone-on-tone embroideries on lace and tulle; a subtle silvery strapless column gown; a subtle multicolor floral over-embroidered in bead; all of them gorgeous but none of them satisfying Held’s standards for style perfection.

While Rene is busy with his next appointments – his salon now packed — and Perez in the fitting room, Held finally has the few quiet moments she needs to focus, when her eyes are drawn to a flawless white long sheath dress with a ballerina neckline and dolman sleeves pinched in at the side, tapered at the bottom and literally screamed, “Oh my God, this is IT! I know it! This is perfect for her!”

Ruiz hearing the commotion, comes out and grins – I think I have that fabric in a red. RED? (be still my heart – exclaims Held, RED – perfection.)!

Très chic! It appears that Ruiz returns from showing his first ever collection in Paris and adds a sleek silhouette to his line.

The rest is easy: Held pairs the design with pewter shoes – a pewter snakeskin Laura Buccellati clutch with a silver clasp, the perfect shape! Now the jewelry – must be elegant, classic AND MAJOR – Held calls in her go-to jeweler, Shiroiy D. Cama – Betsy mentions she will contact the family jeweler, Santiago Villar Cartier, in Puerto Rico/Caribbean.

Held sets out to the Cartier store to research, and finds the perfect piece on line in the archives of Cartier.

Nice, but not THE dress!

Perez, at the fitting is slipped into a muslin fabric … that is the exact replica of THE DRESS. At the final fitting, a few adjustments are made…ready. Perez glows.

The Day – Betsy Perez is handling a million last minute details for the star studded event. Guests will be arriving soon on the ‘black carpet’, which makes the choice of the perfect red dress even better.

Held finally tears her away from the production for hair & make-up with the “Master” Frank Ricigliano and his dream team. They are ready for her – and created a flawless beauty look of smoky eyes and blush lip color.

Stylist sanctioned, Mrs. Perez sets out to her public – E! Entertainment is producing the “black carpet – in her iconic Cartier jewelry and custom couture Ruiz dress. She captivated the ‘black carpet’ at the event, and reveled in her larger-than-life moment!

And Rudy Perez, the man of the hour? Beaming at his wife!

The silhouette-almost there!
aster of Makeup Frank Ricigliano
"What we go through... make a dress"! Ruiz

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