Tis the season to get hitched and yay I'm over the moon as my gorgeous niece Francis aka Spookie has announced her wedding plans for next October. As she's living in Australia I promptly thought of BO & LUCA, an Australian brand of enchanting gowns. I was fortunate enough to interview BO & LUCA's creative director Shannon Pittman last year so I've resurrected our Q and A's as she is just so lovely and included her latest collection SHAKTI SS18, which is breathtaking and inspiring. To all the brides and especially to Spookie, this post is for you..to love hope and happiness....and finding a damn fine gown!
Where did the love of Bridal gowns come from and why did you choose this niche market?
My love for wedding gowns started as a child and growing up with a grandmother who was a creative designer. She created the most beautiful gowns. I design wedding gowns for the beauty and the romantic notion of what the day represents.A beautiful tradition filled with love, family, honour and commitment.
Your collections are Bohemian inspired, tell us more...
The bohemian-inspired collections arose because I feel I am a travelling gypsy – never in one place for too long – taking in all the beauty of the world and all of the wonderful cultures and traditions that I have the privilege of being immersed in. There is a movement of strong, independent women who follow their own path; choose their own destiny and I feel I belong to this group. We don’t always suit structure or follow everyday traditions, but rather go where our hearts take us. So a more traditional or formal styled wedding gown would not work.
You've steered away from the traditional pattern making preferring to create a bespoke gown for the intended bride, by draping and shaping the fabric as it falls naturally. Can you elaborate why you use this technique and also the choice of word 'gowns' rather than creating bridal 'dresses’?
My design aesthetic in the bridal world differs greatly from the more traditional sense of structured corsets and strapless ball gown style wedding dresses. I design pieces that have ease to them. I like to think of the pieces as relaxed glamour. I like to drape the fabric over the mannequin and the body when being inspired and when creating my new collection pieces. This helps me to visualise and feel how a fabric will fall on the body. A woman should wear the gown not the gown wear her. It’s a subtle luxury. I use the term 'gowns' because weddings are a celebratory occasion and you wear special pieces on these occasions. A 'dress’ is something you can wear any day of the week.
The intricate beading, embellishments, fine detailing and sumptuous fabrics are just breathtaking. Where are your fabrics sourced, who does the handwork and how long does the process take to make one bridal gown?
Our luxury fabrics are sourced from all over the globe. We always use 100% silk as this moves on and with the body with elegance and ease. Every gown that we make has been delicately hand-beaded and hand-embroidered by my amazing team of artisans based in Mumbai, India.
And the low V backed dresses – is this a signature style of yours?
We do have a majority of pieces that have a low V back. I guess this is becoming a bit of a signature to the brand. It was never intended this way. I just listen to my brides and what they have to say. It’s lovely to show a hint of skin.
I love your choice of name – BO & LUCA. What is the meaning behind it?
The names Bo and Luca are from a song that I used to love when I was a young girl. They have stuck with me ever since.
Where and what inspires you
Living in my 20s in the Middle East was a great source of inspiration to me. I was fortunate enough to be taught the art of drapery and the cutting of silk by an amazing Indian tailor. The Indian craftsmen are so incredibly talented, true artisans.
They can create the most beautiful embroideries and their technique of fabric manipulation is phenomenal! I became obsessed with the tambour technique and spent a few years finding and sourcing the best Indian craftsmen while travelling through India. I now have a marvellous team of artisans who work on our silk pieces. The beading and embroidery for our gowns can take up to six months for one piece to be beaded! I spend a large amount of time travelling through different cities around the world so this helps with my imagination and inspirations for many of my pieces.
Quotes by: Shannon Pittman, Creative Director of Bo & Luca