CHICAGO — Mori Lee Associates took top honors at this year’s National Bridal Market, winning the DEBI award as manufacturer of the year in the bridal gown category.
Other 1997 DEBI manufacturer-of-the-year winners were Jordan Fashions, for bridesmaid gowns; Allin Rae Bridal Accessories, headpieces; Lord West, formal wear; Dyeables, footwear; Jessica McClintock, prom gowns, and Alyce Designs, special occasion dresses.
In the style innovator category, Lazaro Perez, designer and owner of Lazaro, was named outstanding bridal gown designer, and Achariya and Vatana Watters, designers and owners of Watters & Watters, were honored for outstanding bridesmaid gown design.
Bruce Cohen, president of Bari-Jay, received the Lifetime Achievement award, and Geoffrey Marvin, regional sales representative for the West and Southwest for Mori Lee, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Sales award. Both were selected by retailers on a write-in ballot.
Over 6,500 retailers voted for the 10th annual DEBI Awards, a feature of the National Bridal Market staged at the Chicago Apparel Center. The awards themselves were handed out at a gala at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, with the show hosted by actress Susan Anton.
The awards are sponsored by the Chicago Apparel Center, Modern Bride magazine and the National Bridal Market Association.

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