We’ve all sat on the sofa mid-week in a pair of sweatpants with unwashed hair eating ice-cream from a carton, a comical version of our worst nightmares wondering if we’d ever find that special one yet alone the one to spend the rest of our days with. We torture ourselves with movies like ‘The Wedding Planner’ and ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ when we get tired of reading about the latest weddings in Harper’s Bazaar or Hound&Country. G’D forbid that someone, from a distant past should actually be featured on one of those glossy spreads. But that aside, when you’re living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the odds are definitely in your favour of finding that six foot something dark haired green-eyed Dane to sweep you off your feet. But then the pressure really starts: what to wear on the ‘big’ day.
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. Pittman’s own journey started ten years ago when she landed in Dubai, her home for seven years, after travelling the world. With the narrow streets and lanes lined with small tailor shops that create the most beautiful hand-beaded saris and bespoke women’s garments for wearing under their abayas, Pittman was inspired to create something that would speak to like-minded women everywhere who enjoy their freedom and 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 confirm. 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 explained in her St. George’s Mall studio awash in the morning light that comes with this cosmopolitan part of our Mother City. 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 of following a pattern.
Her grandmother was a designer too, explained Shannon, so elegant creativity clearly runs in the blood. “She was a very modern woman and artfully hand-sewed garments that reflected her bold personality. He 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.” This is most evident in 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 hands, using skills that have been handed down from father to son through the centuries.
What we were so impressed by was the full 360ᵒ experience that harks back to our time on rue Cambon and Avenue Montaigne in the early days of our training in the world of fashion public relations which you experience at Bo & Luca. In a personal appointment with the studio director or stylist, each bride to be is given a personal consultation in which she shared her vision for her special day, usually over a glass of champagne and a light nibble of sorts. Once deciding on her gown, the bride’s measurements are taken and the process of creating her own ‘dream dress’ begins and though the process can be between four to six months – the beading alone requires around three months – the final fitting before the last alteration and adjustments are made has brought many a young-girls fantasy to life!
And no princess bride would be complete without hand-crafted headpieces and embroidered veils and gold-foiled thank you notes, ‘will you be my bridesmaid?’ cards and leather journals for the wedding guests which Bo & Luca provide too.
Bo & Luca regularly introduce new collections although each gown is created especially for a specific bride, and the collections carry names such as Bohindi, West Azur, Libertas, and Cassiopeia which give the style direction and guidance which a bride to be can choose and be influenced by. Although, it should be noted that you shouldn’t just take our word for it either. Vogue Spain last year named Bo & Luca one of the top up-and-coming bridal wear designers in the world and in addition to their Australian and Cape Town studios, their gowns can be found in bridal boutiques in London, Amsterdam, Los Angelese, San Francisco and Toronto too.
For more information, follow Bo & Luca on Twitter: @boandluca or Instagram: @boandluca or visit their website: www.boandluca.com
Below are some of The Editor’s favourite selections from the collections: