Austin Fashion Week Event: Bella Bridesmaid featuring Jessica Ciarla
Before Kimberly Spradlin won Survivor last year (which is a whole different, non-Fashion Week, amazing story), she owned North Lamar’s favorite bridal store, Bella Bridesmaid. In November, though, the store was taken over by the Breeland family, and sisters-in-law Samantha and Leslie jumped into Fashion Week headfirst and beautifully.
“Leslie is a lawyer, and worked for Ralph Lauren. Then she had a baby and just got burnt out,” Samantha Breeland, the store’s manager stated. “When this offer presented itself, we joked around about doing it, and finally my dad was like, ‘No, I REALLY will back you on this’ … And here we are!”
Bella Bridesmaid opened their doors on Friday the third, along with Stella Says Go – a shoe store, and Mynte – a new, fun and colorful boutique in the same building, for visitors to check out the space and to spy in on designer Jessica Ciarla’s new line.
“It’s very boho, with more handmade, cocktail and alternative pieces,” said the designer of her long, flowy CIARLA clothing. “I want people to know I do evening wear, since I’ve never really even done bridal. I would just make these things in white, but this is for the more modern bride, because I didn’t even wear white at my own wedding!”
Appetizers, looking as cute and festive as the stores’ displays, were passed along to guests, as they took in the flowerchild feel of the event. Jewelry designs by local artists, such as Kendra Scott, were also set about, giving even more for people to feast their eyes on.
“It was a bit of a learning curve to get this place then immediately get ready for Fashion Week, but we’ve had fun,” said Samantha, on preparing for the night’s festivities. “It can be daunting, but we work with fantastic people like Jessica, who know what they are doing, who guide us and who let us wear their beautiful dresses, which makes it so much easier!”
The dress chosen for Samantha in particular was indeed a CIARLA design, a classic LBD crafted with an ostrich-feather skirt. Ciarla has been traveling and mass-producing her looks all over the country, but after recently having a baby, she’s slowing down, focusing on single, unique looks, like Samantha’s.
“It’s great to be busy – that’s what designers want and need – but it’s exhausting,” the designer said. “Now, I’m excited to reach out to new people and be more creative, working with all the great stylists and photographers in Austin to do more artistic work.”
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photo credit: Sparky Anderson – Digital Fashion Studios/Fashionably Austin