The atelier (a workshop where a cluster of master craftsmen used to produce only the finest decorative arts and couture) seems to belong to the distant past. But, scratch the surface of mass high-street retailers and you’ll see that more and more pattern- and dressmakers are reimagining this old arrangement. One of these is Bo & Luca, an exquisite, bespoke bridal atelier that recently set up shop in South Africa. Owner Shannon Pittman has designed a small collection of intricate showroom gowns, each one made to measure on order, a process that takes a good six months of labour and love. Fabrics are sourced from the silk mills in India, beads and stones from Japan and Europe … all hand-picked by Pittman.
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Elements from the past carry quality. Couture was done precisely and it was not mass produced. An article of clothing from a dierent era is always an heirloom piece and we have been trying to carry on some of those traditions,’ she says. That said, the Bo & Luca gown is modern, creative and daring; not held back by the trappings of a conservative bridal industry.
A team of artisans access generations’ worth of embroidery and seamstressing, adapting their skills with a modern-day design aesthetic. The result? Flowing silk crêpe and georgette, layers of soft tulle, hand-cut petals and headpieces made of pearls, Japanese glass stone, ribbon and brushed gold.