Friends of JV: Nico Bella, Artistic Adventurer

Jane’s Vanity lingerie looks especially well with fresh flowers. This friendly mingling is well-documented on the JV website in the Lookbooks. The floral design of the photos is a tribute to the artistry of Nico Bella of Spellbound Flowers. She is a special “Friend of JV.”

For seven years, Spellbound Flowers was located at downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. Nico loved being “The Flower Lady” at her tiny outdoor stand. Her bouquets were remarkable for their color, variety, texture, and composition. She soon caught the eye of the JV team, and a collaboration began. Nico brings a lifetime of artistic adventure to her creative endeavors. It ‘collides” into her work. Her varied skills and experiences shine through in each detail. As does her passionate approach to life.

Nico is hungry to experience “everything the world has,” and to choose her own path. She describes her life as “this carnival,” but she has made it happen through hard work, research, and a penchant for tactical branding. Earlier in her life, she created a burlesque troupe (while working a day job as a line cook). She drew upon her love of vintage clothing and lingerie to create something modern and hip. Her artistic adventure continues, often driven by travel.

Nico travels not only for the sheer joy of it, but also to seek history and place. Each year she has attended the Versailles Masquerade Ball, costumed in her own designs. She has sought out the location of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party and the important sites in Van Gogh’s life. Spellbound Flowers was also a journey of discovery.

Thanks to a gift from her grandmother, Nico learned the language of flowers as a child. It appealed to her interest in codes. Years later she applied this knowledge when she was working in retail. A holiday display about magic spells allowed her to play with flower messages. And it gave her an idea for a summer flower shop on wheels that she titled Spellbound. She might have left it at that, but, on a coincidental walk through the Square, she suddenly realized that she could have a permanent location, right there. Since last Spring, because of COVID, Nico has moved her business to the web. Spells continue to inform the work. Each Spellbound bouquet includes three elements: Myth, Magic, and Meaning.

Now, she brings her style and sense of color to JV fashion shoots. Her newest collaboration for a lingerie Lookbook is the green world of Rousseau and the pre-Raphaelites. 

As a flower person, Nico likes growth. This spring will see her launch The Flowerbike, a vintage-style newsboy bike with a daily Portland route and personalized service. She is excited to give this business its own special identity and to find just the right people to make it roll. 

Nico’s accomplishments reflect not only her hard work, but also her self-affirmation. Each of her endeavors has been a choice, made as a “self-apponted and entirely certain ‘I am.’” Asked about the future, Nico mentions a move to Holland. Lots of flowers there--and bicycles. She has a plan for the coming years that just might be, as are her bouquets, exquisite. 

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