Bonnie Strauss is a wonderfully eclectic clothing designer that creates ethereal and feminine women's clothing and jewelry. She has been designing clothes and accessories for many years. Bonnie is originally from New York but lives in LA and has embraced the bohemian, casual chic look beautifully. Bonnie is the queen of the effortless, stylish LA Woman, and she has tapped into a niche that every woman wants ~ authentic, feminine, and sexy apparel. I love how Bonnie combines design elements and is willing to create custom client designs—such a fantastic line. Just putting on a dress or a top evokes feelings of romantic summer nights with the full moon up above. You definitely feel like a goddess when wearing her clothing.
Bonnie's designs are timeless and for any age. We bonded over pink hair, and from then on, I was hooked. A favorite "Bonnie signature statement" is how she partners one of her stunning tops with distressed jeans and a slight heel. Bonnie makes chic look so easy. The reality of her designs involves an enormous amount of work and discipline. She works hard, and her creativity never stops. Her collection reflects the adage: "Fashion is what you buy, and style is what you do with it!" I have her sequined top in blush, and when wearing it, I am always asked about the brand and where to buy it. It always happens.
For me personally, I adore her designs. When the clothes hug the body yet feel effortless, it is magical. Bonnie Strauss's line is all hand-dyed, hand-beaded, and embroidered. Bonnie Strauss Jewelry is custom-made. As I have studied her more and more, I have genuinely come to understand the importance of fabrics, texture, color placement, and – most important — vision. You will see tulle skirts, hand-embroidered tops, and a touch of shibori in her clothing. Her dream is intense, and she stays on point with it.
Luckily I have had the incredible opportunity to see the clothes in person, wear them and meet Bonnie herself. She is an amazing woman with a very sweet soul. Strauss is a creative combination of strength and vulnerability that many wonderful artists inhabit. The clothing takes your breath away when you wear them, you feel like a goddess. She designs apparel for the contemporary woman that you really do not see anymore in the fashion industry. Strauss’s apparel is very light in feel and rich in design. Her clothes are romantic and passionate.
Gemma Magazine had the wonderful opportunity to talk with her and we loved it. She is just as creative as ever, and her apparel is becoming quite appealing for the younger generation of women. We talk about her strong vision, what inspires her and ultimately; listening to yourself
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
From the age of four, I had a passion for clothing. I would cut my dad's oversized tee shirts into dresses for me. No pattern, just free form. At that age, I had no idea what road it would take me. By 13, I was making clothes for my friends. It was in my blood.
Can you tell me about your design background experience in the fashion industry?
I went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for fashion design. I learned pattern-making skills and draping, which was my favorite. I took live drawing classes and developed a love for using colors uniquely. That's when my next passion grew. The art of hand dyeing my pieces., which today is still my favorite of all my skills. It's my way of painting, and the fabric is my canvas.
You have a particular aesthetic and a loyal following. Have you always had such a strong vision?
It's evident to anyone who has followed me thru the years MY VISION has never changed. I always wanted my clothing to be magical and ethereal. To make a woman feel feminine and beautiful. To use the finest of fabrics. To do everything with a delicate hand from my embroideries to even baby buttons and buttonholes. Dainty and Delicate are critical to me. Beautiful laces, all handmade. I read everything and anything about fashion. Today's music inspires me as it did back in the 70s. And it's obvious to see that it's all evolving again. Beautiful NEVER goes out of style. I incorporate today's trends into my timeless pieces.
"I was just thinking Lingerie on the outside is all over the runways. As a young designer I started my career with what I called lingerie dressing. I always wanted my women to be able to go from the bed to the street easily. So I started with slip dresses and camis and dusters/kimonos way back when. That feeling never left my thoughts. Some way I always brought that mood into my collections. Just a momentary thought." (Bonnie Strauss)
How do you stay up-to-date on the latest fashion trends and developments? I read everything and anything about fashion. Today's music inspires me as it did in the 70s. Also, it's obvious to see that it's all evolving again. Beautiful NEVER goes out of style. I incorporate today's trends into my timeless pieces. My biggest inspiration is walking in the hills and seeing all the flowers' colors. Just smelling the flowers inspires me. Looking at butterflies, sitting in my garden, observing cloud formations, and of course, the ocean. So many things. The world around me Turns me On. Again, I incorporate the trends.
How do you stay true to your brand despite the trends and developments?
I incorporate the trends into my vision. It is my way of expressing myself. If denim is one of the hot trends, I infuse it into my work. I'll do silhouettes that aren't standard in the market. I'll make denim look and feel like lingerie. So many techniques can be used to give it the Bonnie Feeling. It's just letting my imagination loose. I must admit I dream of every piece before I make it. It usually comes to me in my sleep.
What is your signature style as a fashion designer?
My signature style is sheer fabrics; even when I use velvet or denim, I give them the illusion of being sheer. I love clothing to be liquid and flow. As for my signature, all pieces are treated like art. Hand dyed in many different techniques, hand embroidered and beaded, and I'm known for my delicate laces. I think when a woman thinks of the label Bonnie Strauss she thinks of Romantic, Magical, Feminine, Sensual, Beautiful, and Delicate.
How do you use color, texture, and fabric in your designs.
I do everything so freely like a cook who doesn’t use a recipe. Organically might be the right word. I just feel it and go with it. I may start out with a top in blush but then I add seafoam and perhaps lavender. It's as if the fabric speaks to me.
What challenges do you see fashion designers facing today?
Personally I don’t see any accept the ability to create from within. Go with your gut, create from your heart. I worked as a designer for many years under corporate umbrellas. Once I went on my own and listened to my own heartbeat I became truly successful. The key to success is within yourself not the dollar bill. There are no challenges if you do that.
What do you think it takes to be a successful clothing designer?
In order to be successful You Must Love what you do Live it Breathe it Be connected to it all the time You can’t be lazy, you have to give yourself over to it. Let it take you over, LIKE A GREAT LOVE AFFAIR. I get lost in my dreams and wake up passionate and ready to create every day. I’m a very lucky woman I’m surrounded by love.
To keep up with Bonnie Strauss and her endless creations, you can follow her on Facebook and Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/bonnie.strauss.7