About Alyce Paris

Born in 1930 in Saessolsheim, France, Alice Marie-Thérèse Hamm had unusually ambitious dreams for a young girl growing up in a small farming village in drab, war-torn eastern France.  In 1942, despite the chaos of World War II, 12-year old Alice dreamed to make women look beautiful, so she harnessed her budding entrepreneurial instinct by hand-making elegant dresses for the local ladies out of her mother’s draperies (though maman was not pleased), and tailoring shirts for her town’s farmers. 

By the end of the war in 1945, Alice, now 15 and frustrated by the limitations of her birthplace, shifted her ambitious focus to the local design school in Saverne, Alsace, where she excelled as a student in a design school run by strict nuns.  Upon graduating at age 19, Alice was hired immediately by the school to teach couture, patternmaking, and draping techniques.  

Inspired by the intense enthusiasm surrounding Christian Dior’s revolutionary New Look (1947), Alice realized that she really needed to become a dressmaker in Paris.  So in 1952 at age 22, Alice’s fearless ambition led her to the City of Lights, where she was thrilled to be knit together with the historical, post-World War II fashion fantasies that were reinvigorating the Paris couture scene.  Alice first worked as a costume designer, then enrolled in the École de Coupe to crystallize her dream of becoming successful in the United States, where her own mother had worked in her early twenties, from 1923 to 1928, before returning to France to start her family. 

After graduating the École de Coupe at age 25, Alice felt armed enough to make her mark on the international fashion world: so, in 1956, she hopped on a plane with her Parisian diploma in hand, abruptly switched continents, moved in with her aunt living in Chicago, and immediately found a job as designer for a bridal and specialty dress manufacturer named Carol Gowns.   At her interview with Walter Nagel, the proprietor of Carol Gowns, he crumpled up the Paris diploma that Alice proudly extended as a testament to her excellent skills, and sniffed at her, “I don’t care about a piece of paper—show me what you can do!” 

Alice decided she enjoyed her new life in the United States, and became a citizen in 1961, while working for her second employer, Blum & Leibach.  At that time, she changed the spelling of her name to “Alyce” (pronounced “AH-lease”).  By the mid-1960s, with 12 years under her belt as head designer, Alyce became gripped by a more audacious challenge which very few women had accomplished during those times: owning her very own fashion house.  Alyce dared to pursue the dint of her idols, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Madame Grès (where Alyce’s best friend worked during their years living together in Paris).

Not only was Alyce shaped by the revolution of Parisian couture in the 1950s, but along came the women’s liberation movement emerging in the U.S in the late 1960s that would encourage Alyce exponentially.  She dutifully had saved up all her earnings year after year, whipped together her brothers as financial backers (though she of course retained the majority interest), and finally founded her namesake company in 1967.  Alyce’s daring drive, fierce confidence, and impassioned courage had fueled her dream across continents to make women look beautiful on a global level.

One year later, in 1968, through connections in the pageant world, Alyce promptly dressed Miss America.  Miss America 1968, Debra Dean Barnes, crowned Miss Kansas earlier that year, had met Alyce, known then as “Mademoiselle Alyce”, and asked her to be Barnes’ clothier for the pageant.  Ironically for Alyce, Miss America’s historic speech was interrupted by Women’s Liberation protestors at the Miss America pageant, and became headline news.  Et voilà!  Alyce began her tenure as a celebrated designer of national repute.  She continued to uphold her handcrafted aesthetic and delight women in the public eye with custom gowns well after her business was firmly established.   

In 1981, true to her gutsy aspirations, Alyce decided that she needed to expand her horizons beyond pageant and bridal, and produce hand beaded prom gowns.  She sought out an agent in Singapore and flew overseas to tour hand-beading factories in India and China.  The East Asian factories that Alyce visited at the time only embellished tablecloths, so Alyce herself taught them how to embellish dresses!  

Embellished dresses soon became all the rage, so much so that the sequins manufacturer Sequins International once claimed that Alyce was the world’s largest consumer of sequins, confirmed by this Buzzfeed article (our favorite is #17). Alyce’s talents and block patterns spawned a worldwide industry built around prom, and today ALYCE Paris still influences modern formal wear and global copycats. Alyce finally closed the loop on her dreams to become known as the go-to designer for the modern-day Cinderella.

ALYCE Paris is now an iconic niche evening gown brand known in circles around the world.

Fifty years after Alice decided to boldly go, we still hand make dresses using many of the same finishing techniques that Alice developed during her prodigious working years and passed down to the next generation. 

Fifty years after Alice decided to boldly go, we still sell our evening gowns to some of the same bridal shops who were Alice’s first customers in the late 1960s.

Fifty years after Alice decided to boldly go, we still dare to dress up neverending dreams.

Claudine C. Hamm

Chief Creative Officer
Claudine C. Hamm, Alyce’s niece, hosted her very first fashion salon in Alyce's atelier at the tender age of 6, when she commanded all Alyce's party guests to don Alyce's stilettos before viewing Claudine's collection of carefully draped mannequins. She began modeling for Alyce as a tween, and by the time she was a senior in college in 1999, was designing the company's most popular signature beaded and two-piece dresses. She is now the company’s Chief Creative Officer, overseeing everything from supply chain to design to advertising, and spends her time traveling between Southern China, Chicago, and New York. Claudine strongly believes, “You need to excavate honest and natural feelings deep within yourself to create a collection that really matters to a variety of women. Fashion is created in the urgency of the moment.”

Claudine has a B.A in Fine Arts from Bard College, and a Masters in Management and Finance from Harvard University; she has also attended The University of Chicago Law School, M.I.T, Northwestern, and Columbia University in the City of New York. Claudine's charity experience includes raising money for charity:water; corresponding with a survivor of war in Women For Women International; registering donors for DKMS; and empowering women by supporting a code of courage.

Len Locascio

Chief Operating Officer and CFO
Len is a hands-on corporate finance and operations executive, who demonstrates leadership as a change agent in new business development, corporate finance, strategic planning, financial system implementation and turnaround implementation.

His management style and approach thrives in closely-held entrepreneurial, growth-focused enviroment.

Len has significant industry-renowned expertise as financial builder, creative problem solver and team leader, with the ability to develop highly cooperative working relationships with vendors, bankers, board of directors and other critical personnel. Innovative and common sense approach to business management and issue resolution with proven success in improving bottom line.

Specialties: Manufacturing, service and distribution organization experience. Merger and acquisition analysis, Big 4 public accounting, KPI Development, job cost accounting, Risk management, ERP system implementation, startup and turnaround experience

John Cox

VP of Operations
John Cox began his career in operations at the age of eighteen working for a small privately held beauty supply company. He worked his way through the ranks and became the VP of Operations. John was a member of the executive planning team which set the direction, focus, and tone of the company. During his career, he participated and led operations through five acquisitions. John managed a team of more than thirty people. John orchestrated two company headquarter relocations with zero disruption to customers. John’s hands-on ‘can do’ attitude helped the company grow exponentially since 1985. Next to the founder and current chairman, John is the third member of the company’s hall of fame.

In March of 2017, John was recruited by Alyce Paris to be the VP of Operations, and help the company manage its core business while setting up critical new initiatives that are expected to grow the company exponentially.