Lavish & Lacy
Becky's Ball Gowns
BY CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ
ecky Bisoulis designs for
heroines: Faye Dunaway,
Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth
Taylor and Bette Midler.
But her favorite heroine is the roman-
tic one — the bride.
"The woman who wears my
clothes feels rich, adventurous, sen-
suous, but always a lady; says Bisoulis.
According to Bisoulis, all ages can
wear her gowns. Says she of her
customer, "Whether she's 24 or 74,
she's got savvy:'
Bisoulis herself has retailing sav-
vy. Based in Chicago, she remains
loyal to her native city while attracting
a national following via her Manhat-
tan showroom and a collection of
dresses, suits and evening gowns. Her
bridal collection is carried in upscale
stores like I.Magnin, Bonwit Teller
and Roz & Sherm, or gowns can be
The Bisoulis bride, wearing yards
of lace, could easily grace the cover
of a best selling romantic novel. The
truth is that these sophisticated
designs originated from the silver
screen. Because her Greek-speaking
mother felt they both would learn
English better by listening to the
dialogue, Bisoulis often went to the
movies as a youngster.
"Early on, as a youngster, I fell in
love with fashion through film," she
72 BRIDES 1989
recalls. But Bisoulis did not initially
choose fashion as a career. She grad-
uated from Northwestern University
with a liberal arts degree, then took
some summer design classes at the
University of California in Los
However, she did not begin her
career in fashion design. First, Bisoulis
worked as an advertising director for
the Toni Co., then as a fashion direc-
tor for Marshall Field and Co. She
even spent some time modeling in
Her foray into dress designing
was accidental. "I was recuperating
from an accident and in between jobs
when I bought some antique lace for
therapy," recalls Bisoulis. Her
therapeutic skills turned en-
trepreneurial when the lace was
transformed into camisoles and sold
to a Chicago boutique. She then
designed a three-piece lace ensemble
for the Chicago Fashion Group.
The bridal buyer at Henri Bendel
noticed her designs and bought them.
Soon, she was receiving orders week-
ly. "My antique tops that I was treating
as a hobby became a business," she
Her design trademark is still lace.
She is known for creating spectacular
lace gowns with unusual styling and
fabrication. She combines lace with
suede, embroidery, knits and gauze.
"I don't do lace and beads on peau de
soie," says Bisoulis, which sets her
apart from most bridal designers.
Bisoulis refers to her bridal gowns
as "Becky's Bridal Ball Gowns"
because she creates the same sil-
houette as a ball gown but in a dif-
ferent color. And vice versa — "Any
one of my lace dresses, put in the right
color scheme (white or ivory), can be
a bridal gown," she says.
Bisoulis envisions her brides as
romantic and sophisticated. For a
candlelight wedding, she designed a
lace gown with cracked ice sparkles
on charmeuse. A contemporary bride
can wear a strapless lace dress perfect
for dancing. For the traditional bride,
there's always the lace gown with
flounces and a long cathedral train.
Bisoulis also has some unique de-
signs for bridesmaids. She has
designed a tartan plaid taffeta skirt and
shows it with a white lace top. "The
lace top has a life of its own," says Bi-
soulis, noting that it can easily be worn
Bisoulis is as adventurous in her
designs as the women who wear
them. She recently designed a lace
bridal gown in red. Yes, red. Bisoulis
explains, "Red is the color of life."