Her dresses have walked the red carpet in New York, graced numerous beauty pageant stages, and accentuated the fine figure of TV personality Azucena Cierco at the recent Billboard Mexican Music Awards.

Now the designs from Maine native Ashley Lauren Kerr’s company can be purchased off the rack in dress boutiques, thanks to a partnership with the evening-wear company SCALA.

Clocking in at more than 50 pieces, SCALA by ASHLEYlauren burst onto the fashion scene in November with a collection that includes cocktail dresses, evening gowns, prom dresses, pageant gowns, separates and bridal gowns.

Locally, you can find SCALA by ASHLEYlauren dresses at Tavecchia in Portland and Simply You in Saco.

“A lot of my dresses might be considered simple but classic,” said Kerr, 28, who lives in Old Orchard Beach. “My dresses have a great fit, a great price and a style that will last you past the season you bought it in.”

Making sure her dresses are more timeless than trendy is particularly important to Kerr, who, despite her glamorous profession, remains a practical Mainer at heart.

“I want women to feel like it’s a staple in their wardrobe,” she said. “Change the accessories, change the shoes, and you have multiple outfits.”

The dresses feature bright, jewel-toned colors and luxurious fabrics such as satin, taffeta and organza. Prices range from $300 to $1,500, and sizes run from 0 to 18.

For the past few years, Kerr has headed a company that produces custom-made gowns and dresses for celebrities, society women and pageant girls. The company also offers pageant and etiquette coaching, and professional hair and makeup services.

It was Kerr’s work in the custom dress market that led her to create a mass-marketed dress line.

“Ashley has just the kind of eye and bold vision for cocktail, evening and ready-to-wear upscale fashion we were looking for,” Beeta Grover, owner and president of SCALA Eveningwear, said in a prepared statement.

“With Ashley having made a name for herself in the boutique fashion and pageant industry, SCALA is pleased to be working with her, and we are looking forward to her continued success. Her ideas and designs are unparalleled. The line really captures a woman’s inner beauty, yet provides a new level of confidence and allure for any occasion.”

Many dresses in the SCALA by ASHLEYlauren collection possess a Latin feel, influenced by the designers with whom Kerr works in her custom dress business. Women of all figures appreciate the dresses’ built-in corsets, which help smooth lumps and slim waistlines.

Kerr graduated from Waynflete School in Portland and Stetson University in Florida. She is the daughter of businessman George Kerr, who served for eight years in the Maine Legislature and is a current member of Gov. Paul LePage’s bipartisan budget team.

Kerr said she has no interest in running a couture empire. Instead, her goals are more down to earth: “I want a woman to be able to walk into a room like she owns it,” she said.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

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