A whole day featuring moi?! Uh…ok! How flattered and thrilled I am with this amazing feature on The Wedding Chicks super fabulous blog! This interview was intimate and fun, and here’s a picture of my sweet little family at our daughter’s 4th birthday last year…having her has brought a whole new meaning to life, and aren’t I lucky to have a girl?!
January 16, 2012
Hope you are all ready to meet the real Claire Pettibone. We got up close and personal with bridal fashion guru Claire Pettibone and are so excited to share. Well known for her vintage inspired and bohemian style wedding gowns oozing with romance and femininity, Claire gets candid with us from personal style to her favorite music to the people she loves.
We are long time fans and admirers and are so humbled that Claire would get a little personal and fun with us. Thank you Claire.
WC: Is there something about you that may surprise our readers?
CP: I met my husband at a nightclub in Hollywood! 19 years later, shows you never know where love is going to grab you.
WC: How you would describe your personal style?
CP: Casual romantic
WC: If we were to meet for coffee, what would you wear?
CP: Jeans, lacey camisole, ruffled sweater-jacket
WC: Your favorite song at the moment is …
CP: anything by Florence + the Machine
WC: What inspires you to create?
CP: My lovely brides, vintage laces, wall paper, cake, rambling gardens, peonies, the sky, Gustav Klimt, Alma Tadema, John Singer Sargent, Paris, paint swatches, antique jewelry, Big Sur, my grandmother’s photo album, music, my beautiful daughter Lorelei, and my dream of a husband. That peaceful sense of spirit that radiates within all the beauty on this planet that is the mental state I tap into when I create a collection.
WC: When you have an idea or vision (as we refer to it) what do you do? ex: write it on paper, email yourself, text yourself?
CP: Combination of old-school pencil and paper, and then to clarify my thoughts, sometimes it’s a Word doc.
Collaborating with photographer Elizabeth Messina is a dream…her images so perfectly capture the essence of my gowns. Over the years, the more brides that I meet, it has become so clear that it really is more than just a dress. It’s the most emotional and beautiful connection to a piece of clothing. The wedding gown seems to hold all of the hopes and dreams that lie in a bride’s heart, and what Elizabeth manages to do, is just capture a bit of that truth. When the Wedding Chicks said they wanted to feature images from our 2012 campaign, I was beyond thrilled! We have multi-page spreads featured in Wedding Nouveau and Reverie, two inspirational online magazines, giving us a chance to share the whole story. Thank you all for the overwhelming response to the collection, and wishing you all a Beau Monde!
WC: How would you describe the bride who wears your gown?
CP: Intelligent, independent, feminine. All ages, all body types, but the common thread is wanting a gown that touches her soul and is utterly romantic.
WC: We feel that your works embodies the epitome of femininity, romance and softness … do you surround yourself with these elements in your studio?
CP: It’s a big ole mix of gorgeous swatches and pretty tidbits mixed with books, papers, and clutter!
WC: What advice would you give a bride who is searching for her gown?
CP: Bring no more than two friends/family members shopping with you at least until you’ve narrowed it down. If you are ready to choose your life partner, you should be able to choose a dress without a committee! Oh, and wear flesh colored underwear!
WC: Do you work alone or do you have a so-to-speak right hand man who knows you as well as you do?
CP: My husband Guy Toley is my partner in business as well as life. We started the business together 17 years ago, and he (thank goodness) handles all of the numbers and management sides to running a company.
WC: Coffee or tea?
WC: Chocolate or Vanilla?
WC: Salad or burger?
CP: Both! I’m leaning towards salads lately, but you gotta love a good burger every now and then!
WC: Flats or heels?
CP: It used to be heels, but I’m momma to a 4 year old, so she keeps me on my toes in flats!
Claire’s family photo by Elizabeth Messina.
Photographer: Bliss Wedding Studio // Gown: Lucien (discontinued) // Salon: Claire Pettibone Flagship
John and I met at Berkeley during our freshman year and became best friends instantly. We began dating during our second year in school and had a very special connection that just could not be explained, especially at such a young age. After dating for two years, under circumstances beyond our control…we had to part ways and move on to finish school in different states. Our hearts were broken. It wasn’t until eight years later that we were able to reconnect… we were just in the right place and it was the right time…we decided to give ‘us’ a try again—and this time it would be forever!
I knew I wanted to have an outdoor wedding. When we started searching for a venue, we came across the Temecula Creek Inn. Temecula is about an hour and a half southeast of Los Angeles. It wouldn’t be a true destination wedding, but just a bit of a drive. It was so worth it though! Temecula is truly a beautiful place. The Temecula Creek Inn had a beautiful open area on its property with a historic ‘Stonehouse’ that used to be a sleeping quarters for miners in the 1800’s. The building had been restored for events such as weddings. It was going to be the perfect backdrop–rustic and beautiful.
Like many brides-to-be, I began searching for a wedding dress by looking in magazines. My mom and I flipped through dozens of them together. On one of the days we were perusing magazines, she called me over to look at a dress. It was just amazing—I had never seen anything like it. The dress was the Lucien gown by Claire Pettibone. It had the perfect amount of vintage, romantic, and lace. I called the salon in Beverly Hills to inquire about the dress. They unfortunately informed me that they were not making that particular dress anymore. The dress in the magazine was made for an editorial photo shoot. There was only one sample dress and it was in a size 2 or 4 for a runway model that was 5 foot 10 inches. Well, I definitely could not wear that dress; I’m 5 foot 3 inches!
I pleaded with Cynthia at the boutique about possibly having one made for me. She said that she would ask Claire and get back to me! I was on pins and needles waiting to hear back from her for a little over two weeks. I continued searching for other dress options online and in magazines. I never went to a bridal salon or any other boutique to try on any dresses. I finally heard back from Cynthia and she said that there was just enough fabric and lace to make one more dress! Oh, joy—I couldn’t believe it—one more just for me. As long as it was a size 8 or less, it could be done! I was a size 6! It was definitely meant to be.
I went into the Claire Pettibone salon to be measured and then paid for my beautiful dress that I had never seen in person. I was a little nervous that I was never able to try on a sample of my dress or any other dress for that matter. I just knew there was only the one gown for me. Ten months after placing my order, I finally picked it up. It really was everything I hoped for. Everyone said that my dress was absolutely beautiful and that they had never seen a wedding dress like it. Thank you for making the dress of my dreams Claire Pettibone!
Thank you Betty for sharing your dreamy and whimsical wedding with us! We are so happy that the Lucien gown worked out perfectly for you – it truly was meant to be! Congratulations again and all the best to you and John!
It’s been a busy Trunk Show spring season, and we’re bringing it home to our Flagship May 6th – 7th. I’ll be styling and advising all of our lovelies, helping guide them to “the one” that perfectly enhances each individual’s beauty and grace, and speaks to her heart. I ADORE creating wedding gowns, and when I see how much joy my work brings to others, it really takes it to another level and makes my life as a designer that much sweeter. So, joining in all of this beauty and celebration, we have some AMAZING treats for our Beverly Hills girls!
I’ve been working with professional makeup artists for years on all of our advertising campaigns, and I have to say, Stephanie is one of the best. You really want to consider having a professional on duty for your big day…after all, you are the star of the show, and those pictures will last a lifetime, so you want to shine (but not SHINE!) and be the best version of you.
Did someone say cake?! If you are a sweet tooth like our Flagship Manager Cynthia and I, it’s always time for cake! The Cake Divas are spoiling us with treats and samples of their beautiful and mouth-watering work, so leave a little room, and get a taste of the masterpieces Joanie and Leigh can create for your special day.
And of course, what is a wedding without flowers? Peony and Plum, represented by The Bridal Bar, has festooned many of our brides with unique and gorgeous floral bouquets and décor. A true artist, Susan Tom-Nellis and her team create floral stories that perfectly compliment your gown and incorporate nature’s gifts into your wedding.
Flagship Trunk Show May 6th – 7th
236 South Robertson Blvd. Beverly Hills 90211
Book your appointment with Cynthia
310-360-6268 // email@example.com