5 Minutes and four need-to-knows with Bo & Luca’s Shannon Pittman:
1. Trending in bridal wear for 2016?
You’ll start seeing a more minimalist approach to bridal this season with bias cut gowns and simplistic silhouettes, less detailing. Think raw and elegant. Carolyn Bessette -Kennedy comes to mind.
The ‘Manhattan’ gown, a lot of the art work found in my pieces are inspired by architecture, travel and culture. The design for this particular piece was inspired by a beautiful concrete wall motif that I had come across when I was on a trip in Russia. It was an old theatre and had this beautiful etched floral wall. I sketched from this and designed the print for this gown. It was a sentimental moment.
We share more on the brand here:
Since opening their first studio outside Australia in Cape Town just over a year ago, creative director Shannon Pittman and her team have been delighting South African brides and lovers of couture alike with gowns that combine old-world quality and craftsmanship with contemporary easy-wearing elegance as suited to walking down the aisle as it is for making an entrance at an informal gathering.
Ten years ago Pittman was travelling the world and ended up living in Dubai for seven years. “The Middle East was a huge eye-opener for me with its narrow streets and lanes lined with small tailor shops that create the most beautifulhand-beaded saris and bespoke women’s garments for wearing under their abayas. The culture and the intricately decorated buildings inspired me to create something that would speak to me and women like me who enjoy their freedom and live out their wanderlust.
After helping my friends in Dubai search for wedding dresses, I realised that there is very little on the market for women who are free spirits and who do not necessarily conform. I wanted to make gowns that will reflect modern women’s personalities and celebrate how lucky we are to be able to live freely, as we wish,”she says. Bo & Luca’s gowns are characterised by the way they are draped to flatter the body, something Pittman learnt from an Indian tailor who taught her the art of free draping and how to create a garment by fitting it to a woman’s body instead off following a pattern.
This gave her the impetus to start Bo & Luca in Brisbane in 2012.Her grandmother was a designer too and Pittman says, “She was a very modern woman and artfully hand-sewed garments that reflected her bold personality. Her love for beautiful fabrics and intricate craftsmanship was definitely passed on to me and the Bo & Luca aesthetic is a reflection of my meticulous obsession with detail.”
Among the details she obsesses about include sourcing silk–be it crepe, chiffon or georgette –for her gowns from mills around the world and personally liaising with artisans in India who bead and embroider the gowns by hand, using skills that have been handed down from father to son through centuries. The result is gowns that are so exquisitely made that they become heirlooms to be handed from mother to daughter.
The Bo & Luca experience Bo & Luca regularly introduces new collections but each gown is created especially for a specific bride. The experience starts with a meeting with Bo & Luca’s Cape Town studio director or stylist for a personal consultation.After sharing her vision for her special day –over a glass of champagne –and deciding on a gown, the bride’s measurements are taken and the process of creating her very own dream dress begins. This takes four to six months –the beading alone requires around three months –and ends with a final fitting at the studio before the last alterations and adjustments are made.Bo & Luca also creates hand-crafted headpieces and embroidered veils as well as gold-foiled, embossed thank you notes, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” cards and leather journalsfor wedding guests.
Bohindi, the designs were inspired by Indian women’s dresses that fit at the hips and fall to the floor. Bohindiwas Bo & Luca’s launch collectionand Pittmanchose the name, which is made up of two Hindi words meaning “rhythm”and “to speak”, to “speak to my audience and give them a sense of the label”.
West Azur, this 2013 collection echoes the effortless style of the glamorous women who holiday in the south of France and to this day is epitomised by Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin –iconic women who dressed for themselves –in the seventies.
Libertas, Libertas means freedom in several languages and all the gowns in the collection were designed to offer freedom of movement and Pittman created them for the woman “who has wild, imaginative dreams”.
This just-launched collection is not yet available in South Africa but key pieces will be introduced in the course of the next six months.
View collections and shop online here.