- Photos by Elizabeth Daniels
- Designer Claire Pettibone is at the top of the wedding gown game.
- Pettibone’s flagship salon is The Castle, built in 1928.
- Plenty of stand-out options to choose from.
- What castle is complete without a spiral staircase?
- The boutique’s spacious and elegant fitting room.
- The romantic castle sets the mood for a special fitting.
- Entrance to the designer’s salon.
- Platforms where the bride-to-be and her guest get the perfect view.
- Eye candy for anyone who has just said “yes."
We've got the registry covered, the perfect local spots for engagement photos and the best places for the groom to get his shine on, but what is Wedding's Week without a one-on-one with today's hottest wedding dress designer? LA's own Claire Pettibone might be one of the season's busiest with quite an impressive repertoire. Starlet Elizabeth Moss and Cupcakes & Cashmere blogger Emily Schuman were both married in one of her gowns while other celebs like Carrie Underwood, Cameron Diaz and Emmy Rossum have been spotted in her designs. That's a loaded name-drop.
Pettibone began her career designing lingerie and it naturally progressed into wedding gowns, "[I] always had a very feminine, romantic style," the designer explained, "I love all of the romance that goes into a wedding dress." Pettibone's gowns, housed in her flagship salon on Beverly Boulevard—which is a castle, no big deal—are inspired by all things art and nature which she finds limitless in expressing colors and beauty. Her signature antique lace and dramatic backs coupled with the experience of finding the perfect Claire Pettibone dress is what makes her one of LA's most sought-after designers.
Do you remember the first wedding dress you designed?
"It was named for my friend Kristene and is still part of the collection. It's a blend of Victorian lace with a slight 1920's feel, and has tiers of embroidery with a dramatic back."
What do you tell a bride when you are trying to help her choose the perfect dress?
"We start by talking about her venue, the style and mood she wants for the day. And then to her feelings about her dream gown-lace, sparkle, sleeves, long train, casual or dramatic-there are so many options, so it is a very personal choice. We really get to know our clients and help them find a gown that not only flatters them physically, but touches them emotionally in some way."
Describe your design process.
"I begin with a point of inspiration, it could be a particular artist's work, or a mood, or a place, and from there I begin gathering ideas and creating mood boards. Next, I design the embroideries and fabrics. This is quite involved and takes months. When the fabrics arrive, the gowns begin to take shape. I like to combine elements in a way that is vintage inspired, but fresh and a bit unexpected."
When did you move into "The Castle"?
"Just a year now, and it's a dream come true! I have always loved this building and one day my husband and I were on our way to lunch when I spotted a "For Lease" sign. We literally stopped the car and called that second! The next day we were touring the space and it all fell into place."
What is your favorite part about "The Castle?"
"I love the fact that it's a Historic Landmark and carries with it the history of an artist, Anthony Heinsbergen. The hand painted ceiling, the fact that it looks like a castle…what could be more perfect than for a bride to select her wedding gown in a castle?!"
What do you find to be the most challenging part for a bride when choosing a wedding dress?
"Narrowing it down to 'the ONE' is sometimes the hardest part. We all have many aspects to our personalities, and sometimes a bride will like more than one gown for different reasons."
You also have your own stationary collection, what is a tip to choosing the perfect invite?
"It is the first hint of the style and mood of the wedding, so your invitation should begin to tell the story."
Tell us about the wedding dress YOU were married in.
"Ha! I didn't really like it. My husband and I were planning our wedding at the same time as starting our business so, although I considered making my dress, I opted to just buy something quickly off the rack. Now I live vicariously through my brides and design the type of dresses that I wish I had worn."
· Claire Pettibone [Official Site]
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