Alison Chemla, of her namesake label Alison Lou, likes to keep things cheeky—from her debut collection which featured emojis made out of precious metals, enamel, and stones to her Mama Mia range, which clad all things Italian—from penne to farfalle—in 14k gold. But her latest collection is a tad more sentimental; Chemla is now stepping into the role of fine jeweler in a whole new way, launching a bridal collection dubbed ‘I Do by Lou,’ a range of modern engagement rings and bands for the bride seeking something fashion-girl approved.
Chemla is no stranger to the world of weddings. “Weddings had been on my mind for some time,” she tells BAZAAR Bride in an exclusive interview. “Both my sister and I got married a year apart, almost to the day. I was so lucky to be able to help my sister with everything jewelry-related for her wedding, from her engagement ring down to her something borrowed: a reset pair of my grandmothers studs. For myself, I made my wedding band along with my husband’s, as well as all the jewelry I wore throughout the weekend.” Lou’s band, which allows the wearer to stud their initials into a gold eternity band with diamonds, makes an appearance in the collection as well.
But it wasn’t just her own wedding and her sister’s that had proposals on the brain for Chemla and her team. “I have been making and resetting engagement rings for my family, friends, and some private clientele for over four years,” she says. “After posting our projects on Instagram casually throughout [the years], we received so many requests that I knew it was time to produce a formal bridal collection that is accessible [to] everyone.” One such project? The engagement band and wedding jewelry worn by her friend BAZAAR Bride Ruthie Friedlander for her wedding in New York City.
The accessibility Lou speaks to is obvious at first glance of the brand’s 8-ring, 3-band collection. The capsule is edited, but speaks to a dynamic range of styles and personalities—from classic silhouettes, to more alternative, artful, and eccentric options.
And while many brands forgo their DNA to nod to the tradition and classicism of designing for the aisle, Chemla stuck to her roots, transforming her signature silhouettes and techniques into elevated, customizable options for the bride-to-be. “We use a lot of enamel throughout our bridal collection, which is a process that is at the foundation of Alison Lou; [enamel] can be seen in all of my collections from the inception of my brand nine years ago. We have also incorporated rings that may have previously looked like cocktail rings, and made them into your everyday engagement ring.”
It seems as though Chemla’s go-to materials and design methods are her signatures for a reason—they’re her personal favorites. When asked to choose a favorite piece from the collection, she highlights the Gloria ring: a bezel-set, round solitaire diamond ring with black enamel surrounding the diamond and underneath its basket, available in the bride’s choice of metal. “To me, it is the perfect mix of classic and modern, and it was the first engagement ring I made with enamel,” she says.
The designer also hopes that her collection will bring joy to couples that have been rethinking what it means to propose, wed, and celebrate in a mid-pandemic world—and is looking forward to celebrations of all types and sizes. “I am personally excited to just go to a wedding! To dance and be amongst friends and families. Whether it be a small dinner gathering now or a large wedding later, I think that no matter what the scenario they are always so special and fun.”
With larger gatherings and bigger, destination celebrations in our distant future, proposals have historically been intimate and private, and a milestone that’s natural to celebrate at home or in small groups. Chemla hopes her new range of rings and bands will play a key role for those looking to pop the question this engagement season, and give them a reason to celebrate. “We handle the first stage, the engagement, so it’s always such an exciting and lovely process no matter the time. Making a piece for the couple that will always remind them of this special time in their lives—and that the recipient will hopefully wear every day—is the best part of my job.”
While Alison Lou’s designs have run the quirky gamut—from last year’s must-have resin hoops to candy-colored cocktail rings and cheeky emoji-inspired studs—her bridal collection seems to speak to an even broader clientele.”The Alison Lou Bride can be a classic bride or a more eccentric one,” Chemla says. “She doesn’t mind taking risks, while also being true to herself. We like to think the Alison Lou bride can be anyone.”
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