Our Shopfront profiles give you the chance to take a peek behind the scenes and get to know some top-shelf talents. First featured in Issue 19, Anya Ostapenko, Creative Director behind L’eto Bridal is what you would call a triple threat. Big call, we know, but hear us out… She not only founded accessories label, Ephemere Bridal (formerly Bride La Boheme) and bridal gown brand, L’eto Bridal (see the gorgeous collection here) she’s also a wedding photographer, working under the name Stellar Hours Photography. Want to know more? We did too…
Take us back to the beginning… Its all started for me seven years ago when I wanted to design my own accessories for brides after getting married myself. I started accessories label Bride La Boheme and then later realised that I would like to create gowns as well, which seemed like a natural progression. That’s how L’eto Bridal was born, which is a separate brand with its own unique style.
What are you currently working on? I’m getting ready to design our second collection for L’eto, re-branding Bride La Boheme to Ephemere Bridal and shooting few weddings, as I also like to take pictures under the name Stellar Hours Photography.
What can we expect with the rebrand of Bride La Boheme? Ephemere Bridal is all about the modern, Australian bride, with simple and sleek accessories. Still handcrafted and made to order, but just with a whole new style to keep in line with the changing market and Australian bridal trends.
What will the new collection include? For Ephemere Bridal, it is all about hair accessories; headbands, hair pins, hair combs etc. Later I will be working on creating a standard collection of plain and simple veils in various shapes, as I feel that’s what Australian brides want.
Tell us about your penchant for picking up a camera these days… I love photography, and have been shooting for L’eto, producing slightly highly-contrasted and underexposed imagery with an earthy, moody feel to it. I also like to shoot on film with my Contax 645, which is still my favourite for portraits and daylight wedding photography- it produces beautiful imagery. I’m looking forward to shooting a few of my Ephemere and L’eto brides next year, as I also enjoy it as part of the whole bridal thing that I do.
What’s your favourite part of shooting weddings? It’s just fun to be part of such a beautiful and epic day for the bride and groom. Emotions run high and it’s all so beautiful.Generally, you form a connection with your couple, their love story and what’s ahead for them. It’s just great to being able to share the day with them and then give them the gift of those moments captured. They keep your work for the rest of their lives- it’s so cool!
There’s been a bit of confusion in the Hello May office- how exactly do you pronounce L’eto? Basically, it’s LEETO.
What sets this brand apart? When designing my pieces, I concentrate on how it would make you feel, rather than how it would make you look. Piece 3, for instance, would make you feel cool to the bone, and make you run away and elope somewhere under the Californian sun. Then Piece 1 would make you feel sensual and wanted. L’eto is highly emotional and personal bridal attire with a general fashion feel, rather than traditional bridal silhouettes.
And how would you describe the ‘L’eto bride’? She’s so cool, and chic. A beautiful, worldly being that knows what she wants. Our brides understand their own femininity, but hate the frills, foregoing the stifling skirts that traditional ateliers offer.
What are your favourite fabrics to work with? Anything sheer! So chiffon, georgette and silk satin of course. Soft, wispy fabrics and light embellishments decorate the body. There’s none of that generic bulky lace or stiff satin here. Light, embroidered silks and tulle mesh that catch the light and kiss your skin as you slip them on.
Wow. You make them sound like pure heaven on a coat hanger. Where can our readers try these beauties on? Northern beaches brides, here we come! Shop 6 / 355 Barrenjoey Road, Newport. We are open everyday, till late- 10 pm if you like- and by appointment only.
What have been the most popular designs so far? Piece 1, 3 and our Coachella Pieces have been quite loved since our launch.
Can you talk us through pricing? L’eto is a new take on luxury minimalism with gowns ranging in price from $640 up to $4800.
What would your dream wedding dress look like? I have gazillions in my mind at the moment, but it would be flowy and sensual for sure!
Are there any bridal trends you’d like to see make a comeback? I’d like to see more golden ivory tones and deeper ivory tones more present among brides’ faves.
Lastly, would you like to share any words of wisdom with the Hello May readers? Don’t be boring, be brave.