There’s a beautiful poetry to every Bo & Luca collection; a sense of whimsy perfectly balanced with a restrained complexity, a symphony of detail and simplicity dancing into harmony. The brand has become synonymous for their wildly romantic, bohemian aesthetic, reinventing their hallmarks of hand dyed silks, intricate ancient beadwork and embroidery, vintage inspired details and effortless, fashion-driven silhouettes each season.
Yet the Bo & Luca woman is not predictable; she is fearlessly independent, authentic and complex, carving out her own style, her own way – breaking away from the conservative mould the industry has painted for a bride. The duality of her is unabashedly modern and forward thinking and yet seamlessly effortless, and entices us to push the boundaries within our own work and what we define as ‘bridal’. Here, we delve deeper into the new Bo & Luca collection, ‘Ophelia’s Memoirs‘, and discuss the inspirational stories and women behind the season with Bo & Luca Designer and Founder Shannon Pittman…
Tell us the story behind this season, the inspiration and the silhouettes explored…
‘Ophelia’s Memoirs’ celebrates the artistry and the perfect imperfection of hand-beading on sensual silks and chiffon. In a world of fast fashion and machine-made pieces, we’ve stayed true to our roots, lovingly hand-dyeing each piece in loose-leaf White tea before hand-beading the gowns using the ancient Indian art of Tambour. Alongside my team we’ve delved into newfound creative realms with a more alluring and sensual approach to the bohemian bridal style. We’ve given our gowns a touch of whimsy and alluring refinement with silhouettes that softly fall over the body; creating pieces that are easy to wear and non-constricting. We’ve forgone layers of voluminous tulle and made a statement with each hand-beaded design, woven over diaphanous silks and delicate fabrics. As always, we’ve paid homage to one of our favorite eras, the 70s, with billowy, voluminous sleeves, pussy bow necklines and tasseled trimmings.
“In a world of fast fashion and machine-made pieces, we’ve stayed true to our roots, lovingly hand-dyeing each piece in loose-leaf White tea before hand-beading the gowns using the ancient Indian art of Tambour.”
Ophelia is a strong symbol of the duality of women; of how we can be both soft, yet powerful, feminine yet sensual… how does that come into play with the collection and too, the Bo & Luca woman?
The gowns of ‘Ophelia’s Memoirs’ represent the gentleness of the feminine divine with delicate fabrications and soft silhouettes, while the hand beaded designs pay homage to a fearless and bold individual who doesn’t seek approval from others; the Bo & Luca bride who dresses for herself.
Bo & Luca is inherently known for its distinct bohemian and vintage inspired aesthetic, how do you modernize the brand with each collection yet stay true to your roots?
We are renowned for our distinctly romantic and bohemian aesthetic and are so happy that our brides love us for this. I believe that if you are true to yourself and true to your brand, then your creations will become easily identifiable and distinct. This for me is a job done right. As a brand we don’t tend to follow seasonal trends when designing, however, we do listen to what our brides want and add elements of this to each collection. We update and reinvent our silhouettes each season while keeping our hand beaded designs timeless.
“‘Ophelia’s Memoirs’ represent the gentleness of the feminine divine with delicate fabrications and soft silhouettes, while the hand beaded designs pay homage to a fearless and bold individual who doesn’t seek approval from others”
Your designs make a statement through details rather than volume, what are some of the unique fabrications and adornments new to this collection?
I don’t believe a gown needs to be ‘big’ in order to stand out from the crowd and this is evident in our pieces. The understated detailing of a beautiful garment is far more effective than layer upon layer of tulle. In this collection we’ve added drama with a ruffled sleeve or daringly low, open back. Glamour has been given in the way of delicately placed seed beads and scatterings of hand rolled silk petals to create 3D illusions. If you take a look at one of our pieces, a really close look, you will see that each individual bead and its placement has purpose.
You use ancient methods such as hand dyeing and Indian beading techniques, tell us a little more about these processes, and why you feel it’s important to carry these traditional techniques into modern design?
To me nothing is as special or compares to a hand beaded or hand-crafted item. Our couture gowns are hand beaded in our Atelier in India, using the ancient Indian art of Tambour. Each bead is carefully and individually hand-sewn onto the finest silk by local master craftsmen over a 3-6 month period. Tambour beading was first introduced to the Western world in 18th century France and we incorporate this age-old technique into each design as it produces finer, more intricate work than machine beading, which is a favored method in garment manufacturing today. Due to their hand-crafted nature, no two of our gowns are exactly alike, which I feel is a really special element of our brand. At Bo & Luca we cherish the importance of preserving traditional techniques over the favored machine made processes of today and with our gowns we are doing just that.
“As a brand we respect culture and heritage and celebrate and honor our artisans, giving credit where credit is due. We’re transparent about where our gowns are made and ensure that all our artisans are paid fair and responsible wages.”
How important is it for the Bo & Luca brand to practice sustainable methods, and how do you incorporate this into your design processes and ethos?
As we know the world is becoming more aware of sustainability and the impact that certain industries have on the world. The textile industry itself is one of the biggest polluters in the world, with textile dyeing being the second largest polluter of water globally. It’s important to us as a brand to keep our footprint to a minimum, therefore we use natural tea dyes for our silks and satins, organic cotton bags for packaging and storage and our hang tags and labels are made from recycled fabric waste.
We work with large artisan houses in India that have been working with some of the biggest names in luxury fashion for decades so are globally certified for sustainable practices. As a brand we respect culture and heritage and celebrate and honor our artisans, giving credit where credit is due. We’re transparent about where our gowns are made and ensure that all our artisans are paid fair and responsible wages. We consider our gowns as slow luxury pieces that will be handed down from one generation to the next instead of being discarded after a few wears like fast fashion pieces are.
Who is the Bo & Luca woman to you, and how do you envision this collection been styled, the wedding it would pair perfectly with?
The Bo & Luca woman is a strong and confident individual who also radiates an alluring femininity. She lives for the finer details in life and appreciates quality craftsmanship over fast fashion. I would say this collection is effortlessly glamorous and pairs perfectly with the true romantics at heart. Whether they’re getting married in a traditional or contemporary setting there is a piece in this collection for every bride-to-be.
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