Her name and story sound like they are straight from the pages of a fairytale, so perhaps it is no coincidence that Gina Zatsarina makes a career out of helping brides feel like princesses. The petite proprietress of Zatsarina Fashion in Red Bank is a fairy godmother of sorts, who uses needle and thread as her magic wand to create exquisite wedding gowns.
Gina Zatsarina grew up in Russia, where her love of sewing was sparked watching her mother make clothes for the family. After earning a degree in fashion design at a Russian university, she set off to America through a work-study program with Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park. She was 21 years old and spoke no English, but managed her way through classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Her first job at a small tailor shop in Rumson led to work as a seamstress at area bridal salons. She quickly developed a reputation as the go-to
person to handle the most complicated and intricate alterations on high-end designer gowns. But, when their baby was born two years ago, Gina and her husband, Italian-born Victor DiDonato, opened their own studio. Today, Gina attracts clients from all over New Jersey and as far away as Florida, California, and even England. She specializes in extensive reconstructions, taking dresses apart layer by layer to make them smaller, larger, or restyled, then stitches them back together so they look perfect.
Gina is up to any alteration challenge—from “building up” low-cut dresses to meet brides’ religious or modesty standards to transforming the whole look through a revamped train, bustle or hemline. She has even been called upon to join the top of one dress and the bottom of another to fashion an entirely new gown. Her team of accomplished seamstresses can custom-craft capes, veils, head-pieces and other accessories, or dress up an off-the-rack gown with painstakingly hand-stitched beadwork, crystals, lace or feather embellishments.
Giving new meaning to the tradition of wearing “something old,” Gina often remakes a bride’s mother’s or grandmother’s bridal gown, or other family heirloom dress, into a more current look. She can also create “something new,” by transforming a dress into a baby’s christening gown.
The master seamstress’ other forte is designing custom wedding dresses. The process, which takes about two months from concept to creation, involves an initial consultation where Gina sketches designs based on the bride’s vision. “Sometimes a bride knows what she wants, but can’t find it at the store,” Gina explains. “I’ll work with them to create whatever they like, whether it’s simple, over-the-top, or somewhere in the middle.” She also offers custom work or alterations for the bridal party and mother-of-thebride, with group pricing. “We’ll work with any customer,” she assures. “Any style. Any budget.”
“Gina has a very good eye for which silhouette works best on every body type, and she helps guide brides to a design that suits them,” says Victor. “She’s not a diva designer; she’s very accommodating and open to customers’ ideas. She just wants them to look their best and feel special. She has a gift.”
Gina handles all design work, alteration consultations, and fittings, and is supported by a team of six seamstresses and beadwork specialists who work their magic in a studio illuminated by special lighting. To the untrained eye, a wedding gown is “white.” But a rack on the wall holding spools of thread in dozens of shades of the color speaks to the meticulous attention to detail that goes into crafting each dress. “The pure light allows us to distinguish the exact shade of fabric and thread in order to match them perfectly,” explains Victor. “We have extremely high standards of quality and put
tremendous care into every dress.”
116 Chestnut St., Suite 104, Red Bank (near train station)
732.383.7223 | zatsarinafashion.com