We had the good fortune of connecting with Tallulah Rufus Isaacs and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tallulah, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I was born in Los Angeles but I moved to Rome when i was very young and grew up there until I finished high school. After that I lived in New York, Paris and London before returning to LA only five years ago. I feel like living all around Europe but having a California spirit has influenced what I wear and who I design for very much. It’s a play between elegant and lighthearted. Ive been a designer for about 12 years now and travel has always been a huge inspiration for what I make and what kind of woman I envision wearing my brand. BARDO came to be when I sold my last company just before the pandemic and I found myself wondering what to do next. I played with the idea of starting a candle line and then a home line but I kept dreaming up this idea of the perfect wardrobe in 100% silk. My boyfriend and I went to Italy in August of 2020 to be with family and close friends. All of the women who were in our little circle were all so beautifully dressed in their boyfriends/husbands shirts and big floppy silk pants having lunch in their gardens in Tuscany. Totally effortless. We went for dinner one night as well in Piazza Navona in Rome and my God Mother, Milena Canonero showed up wearing a perfectly tailored white suit and even though she’s in her 70’s the whole room turned around to stare at her. It was at that moment that I decided to make the perfect wardrobe in silk but to have a variety of colors that appealed to not only my chic and understated European friends but also to my girlfriends in California and Miami for example who aren’t afraid to wear bright colors. I also wanted to appeal to any age and I truly believe less is more. I launched BARDO, meaning re-birth, in January 2021 and we sold out in the first weeks … I couldn’t believe it. Women were writing saying that they couldn’t find pieces like this anywhere that were this timeless, impeccably tailored and at a great price. Many of my clients are now collecting pieces in colors to build out their BARDO wardrobe and then buying new colors for new looks. It’s a brand you are meant to collect. My focus is to make well made, effortless and beautiful clothes that can take you to any city around the world and that you can keep forever and feel sophisticated and yet sexy in. We are now wholesaling and branching out to cashmere, sequins and some other fabrications coming this fall. Its all very exciting…. !

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My own creativity comes in bursts and I have to always nurture it and keep myself inspired. I have allot of sketch books laying around and in every handbag so I can always jot down designs when they come to me. I keep my house really minimal and all white ( including the floors!) as I need to have as little distraction as possible when Im home as I see so much color all day long. Im really sensitive to my surroundings. My enviroment and how I keep my home, fresh flowers and sheets, a fire in the evening and paints and canvases around for me to get creative with is crucial to my process. I watch allot of movies/shows and love to people watch as I get allot of my inspiration from what women are actually wearing. I buy allot of vintage that I take inspiration from and scour old magazines for shapes that I love. I have a million art, nature and architecture books that I find really inspiring esspecially for color. Pinterest as well is my secret addiction. I feel like Im always searching for something that creates a spark and for example I may find a picture of an amazing house and all of its interiors and then imagine who lives there and what she wears and it becomes a whole narrative for me to go off of.

A collection will come to me whenever it does and it’s my job to translate it into sketches and use photographic references or physical pieces to refer to when I sit down with my pattern maker and seamstress so that she can bring what I imagined to life. I’m trying to keep things with BARDO as simple as possible and really ask myself over and over again if I love a design and do I see the women I’m designing for wearing it. I have 5 women that I have kind of created that I design for and I always ask myself if I can see them all wearing it in their own way. In the end of the day Im not designing for myself but for women around the world. So its never about me at all but I do have to love and believe in every single design and make sure they all make sense so that I am confident to put it out in the world.

I look back to the 90’s allot which is my favorite era for dressing. I love the simple and classic shapes that Calvin Klein did and designers like sylvia heisel and Azzedine Alaia in the very early 90s. I have some incredible pieces that were passed down from my mother as she was a model back in the day and to me they are like little treasures from the past. Clothing to me is something to collect and cherish and not just to buy for that one occasion. You make memories in clothes and you use them to express yourself and to feel your best while doing so.

I think fashion is a beautiful form of art and rather than a painting on a wall that is there for only a few to enjoy, It’s making women happy and feeling beautiful, sexy and chic on a daily basis. I never really understood the power of being a designer until I started seeing strangers wearing my brand, sitting in a restaurant on their first date, at a wedding, off to work looking like a boss. Knowing they are walking into a room feeling their best in something I created…. Its the best feeling in the whole world.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a bit of a homebody and a creature of habit when Im not traveling honestly! I live in Venice just off of Abbot Kinney and have a really great house for entertaining, which I do all the time. Its all white with big cosy sofas, a wood burning fire place and it has a big backyard that feels like you are in the tropics. My dining room table fits 16 people around it comfortably and so I I love to throw big fabulous dinner parties which my sister always cooks for ( she’s an incredible chef!). It always ends up in a dance party! Most friends that come and stay love to relax and hang out at mine, go for long daily walks on the beach with my three dogs and grab a smoothy from this great spot on Westminster Ave and the boardwalk on my way down to the sand. When I do venture out I usually head over to Petite Ermitage in West Hollywood which has the most fabulous roof top deck and pool for their hotel guests and members. I always bring my out of town friends here as you run into so many people there and they make insane cocktails and just have the best vibe.
Cafe Stella in Silverlake is a bit of a trek but my favorite dinner spot on the east side hands down, Its like a mix of Cuba and Paris with the best chef. They have an incredible dover sole and proper parisian french fries which I get everytime. In Venice, Hama sushi is fab and Im a regular- its like a little surfer sushi spot where you can go in your jeans and a t shirt. Its so fresh and delicious. Get the green devil! We usually cross the street and head to Grand Blanco after which is the best drinks spot with a mediteranean feel and Dj spining vinyl. Most of Venice seems to end up here on weekends! Lastly, My boyfriend is a part owner at Harvelles in Santa Monica which is one of the oldest live musics spots in LA. We go here all the time and I don’t think Ive ever not had the best time. Last week we went to live band Karokee and sang the night away to oldies.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people who contribute to the BARDO big picture and everyday I think about everyone working to grow the brand and it truly takes a village. Our incredible showroom Findings, all of the amazing stores that stock us, our pattern maker Anahit, our production team, the factories and sewers to name a few. Everyone above plays a massive role…. but in this case I want to honor the four incredible girls who make up the BARDO core team that I work side by side with as they are family. Our CFO is actually my sister and best friend, Ruby, but the other girls also feel like sisters. We all love and care about the brand like it’s our baby. All of the girls came on board in the early stages when it was just a mood board and first samples, jumping then into our first season of eccomerce and then selling out in three weeks and scrambling to make more and expanding our factory…. and then wholesaling to 60 of the most incredible stores in just one year! Its been quite the ride! We started in my home’s second floor so we were all in my house, shooting our campaigns and content in my home and backyard, Ruby cooking lunch for us all in the garden with all of our dogs running around, pining sketches and fabric swatches across my walls and working around the kitchen table. Jess, my design assistant stepped in to model when Covid struck again as our booked model cancelled and she became the face of the brand. Charlotte keeps us laughing all day long. Anahit actually takes my sketches and brings them to life, she’s a magician. Everyone is just as important as the other and although we work extremely hard and work long hours there is allot of laughter, beautiful friendship, support and creativity around us and is part of what makes everyday so exciting. My gratitude and appreciation for them is endless.

Website: www.bardocollective.com

Instagram: bardocollective

Image Credits
Tallulah Rufus Isaacs photographs all of the BARDO shoots and content

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