When it comes to unique, but elegant, silhouettes and perfectly on-trend colors, Joanna August is one bridesmaid line that consistently hits it out of the park. I can’t even begin to count the number of times we’ve seen their styles in real weddings–plus, they’re practically always a part of bridal parties rocking mismatched styles. Year after year, I’ve loved keeping an eye on the new designs and colors they come out with, and the newest collection might be my favorite yet (seriously, y’all, can we talk about the Kathy gown? So romantic!). It was a treat to learn about how the company began, how Joanna approaches her collections, and even how designing for flower girls is different from designing for bridesmaids in today’s Designer Spotlight!
Tell us about the beginnings of Joanna August—why did you want to start a bridesmaid line, and how did you get started? When I got married in 2008, I searched high and low for bridesmaid dresses that I thought would feel special, interesting and fashionable. I wanted my friends to be excited for their wardrobe and I also wanted guests to be intrigued by the visual display of all the dresses together–I wanted the bridesmaids’ fashion to make an impression, just like the flowers or the food or the band. But I couldn’t find anything to achieve my vision, so I designed my own! After the wedding, I started to think there might be other brides looking for the same thing, and the Joanna August bridal line was born!
What sets Joanna August apart from other bridesmaid dress brands? We truly approach bridal as ready-to-wear–no exceptions! Every single style, fit, and fabric is designed to be worn in “real life,” not just for weddings. The variety of colors and silhouettes makes it easy to for a bride to tailor the collection to achieve her vision and for the bridesmaids to find a style that suits her personality and body type, but at the end of the day, if any style feels like it would only be appropriate for a bridesmaid, we take it out of the collection!
What is your single best tip for a bride about to start shopping for her bridesmaid dresses? Options are your (and your bridesmaids’) friend! Of course, it is YOUR day, so if have your heart set on a single style and color for everyone to wear, your word goes! But whenever possible, if you can allow your maids to have some say in their style selection, they are going to feel empowered and more comfortable on your wedding day.
What is your current favorite dress in your collection? If you were to get married tomorrow, which dress would you choose for your best gals? I hate to play favorites because I love so many dresses in the collection! You would think it would be out with the old, onto the new, but I still wear several of the legacy styles from my very first collection (the DC dress is my go-to for black-tie events). But, at this exact moment in time, I’d choose our Lauren wrap dress. Since it is a wrap style, it is easy and comfortable to wear, and I love the romance of the off-the-shoulder flounce. I would wear it anywhere! If I were to get married tomorrow, I would let my friends choose any style they wanted but, I would choose the fabric and color for each and add different textures (like lace)
into the mix!
Tell us about your flower girl collection! How did you decide to start that collection? How is designing for little girls different from designing for bridesmaids? Now that I have two little kids, designing for littles felt like a very natural progression. While I totally love and get the appeal of putting little girls in fluffy skirts, I felt there was a void in the marketplace for more simple, bohemian styles, and that is what I was looking to fill with Babes of the Nile. There are definitely certain considerations for flower girls that you don’t think about with bridesmaids, like will a three-year-old keep the waistband on that skirt in the right place? And will a four-year-old dislike the feel of that smocking? Everything needs to be age-appropriate as well–nothing strapless or with spaghetti straps. Other than those considerations, the style and aesthetic of Babes of the Nile is very much in line with the bridesmaids collection.
What is your favorite memory from your own wedding day? There are so many great ones! My husband and I got married in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the altitude is high and the weather unpredictable. It had been sunny and gorgeous the whole weekend, but the day of the wedding threatened to storm before the ceremony. Everyone tried to get me to move the ceremony indoors, but something inside of me told me to wait. Then, minutes before the ceremony began, the clouds parted and the sun came out for exactly the 20 minutes we needed get married. The minute after we said “I do” and the guests headed inside for cocktails, the heavens opened and it rained the rest of the night.
Name three items every gal should have in her closet.
1. A really nice bag!! If you are having a bad hair day or aren’t fitting into your favorite pants or just can’t figure out what to wear, you can throw on jeans and a white t-shirt, and if you have a special purse, the outfit will feel super cute and fashion-y. Mine is a simple black Celine bag that I use every day–it makes me feel special every time I leave the house with it!
2. A pair of vintage Levis that fit you just right. Always comfortable, effortless, and in style, and can be dressed up or down for a million occasions.
3. A great black leather jacket–tailored, boxy, moto, whatever suits your personality. Throw it on with jeans to grab coffee or dress down a cocktail dress and go out for dinner. It will never go out of style, is super versatile, and it keeps you warm–what else can do all those things? I couldn’t choose just one, so I have a tailored one from Theyskens’ Theory for when I am feeling “fancy” and an Acne one with star-shaped rivets for when I feel more punk rock.
Thank you so much, Joanna! Follow along with Joanna August here:
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