As I was devouring the latest issue of Wedluxe magazine (Canada’s luxury wedding magazine…a superb publication, not just for brides!), I came across a photo of a wedding gown that literally took my breath away. The design’s name was “Raven” and was created by Claire Pettibone, a Los Angeles, California based bridal gown designer. I had heard her name before and had seen her gowns and ads for same in different bridal magazines but, had never really delved into her history or design aesthetic. Thanks to Wedluxe magazine, that has changed!
” RAVEN “
The only words that come to mind are: she is amazing! Her talent, creativity and inspirations seem to know no bounds and all of her gowns are truly awe inspiring works of art. I am moved to tears and overwhelmed by innumerable ideas and inspirations of my own now from viewing her work. I have started to notice that my own work as of late has a very whimsical, romantic and vintage feel and look to it and so, it is no wonder that Ms. Pettibone’s similar details and embellishments would appeal to me. The one difference between her and I (other than her access to whatever materials her heart desires as well as an established and constantly growing client base….something to aspire to!), is that my work tends to always have a dose of creepy or dark romance to it.
I found a few sites that contained her bio and business history and thought I would just cut and paste what I came across into my own blog piece.
” The Claire Pettibone collection embodies the designer’s vision of vintage romance with an enchanted bohemian spirit. Since launching the company with her husband, Guy Toley, in 1994, the self-described true romantic has brought her feminine sensibility to fashion. After a successful decade creating luxurious lingerie, Pettibone introduced couture bridal gowns in 2005 and so began a real shift in wedding style. The garden, vineyard, rustic and vintage inspired weddings that have become so ubiquitous, showcase many of the designer’s creations. Claire’s gentle use of color, couture details, European laces and graceful embroideries flutter and flow to make a woman look and feel like a goddess.
As the daughter of artist parents – her father, a pioneer in the appropriation movement of the 1960’s, and her mother, a talented photo-realist landscape painter – it was perhaps inevitable that Claire would enter a creative field. She spent her early childhood in upstate New York in a nineteenth century home filled with antiques and art. As a young girl, she studied ballet and then focused on a career in fashion while attending Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles. This exposure to design and art remains a source of inspiration for the poetry in motion that Claire designs today.
Claire and Guy met in a nightclub in Hollywood and after going on a first date, it dawned on Claire that Guy matched the description of a “blind date” a girlfriend had been trying to arrange. She called her friend the next day, asked what his name was, and yes, she had met the same “Guy”! The rest, as they say is history and the pair married the same year they opened the business. As CEO of the company, Guy ensures Claire’s vision has come to fruition. Together, they collaborate on all marketing and direction for the brand.
The Washington Post hails her collection as “proof positive that bridal fashion is keeping up with the runway”… The Los Angeles Times calls her a “Style maven”… and Say Yes to the Dress’ Randy Fenoli confirms, “Claire has a cult following.” Brides across the globe are enamored with her ethereal style and when Priscilla Chan chose an intricate embroidered gown for her nuptials to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Claire Pettibone became a household name.
Each season tells a unique story, and the beautiful embellished fabrics that Claire dreams, sketches and drapes are the first chapter. As the brand continues to grow, the designer maintains her signature style and upholds the standards of quality and couture craftsmanship. The collection is available in many of the world’s finest bridal salons.
The company and Flagship Salon is housed in The Castle, a historic Los Angeles landmark built in 1928. Claire and Guy are extremely grateful for the opportunity to share this artistic heritage. “
” THE CASTLE ” – FLASHIP SALON
Claire Pettibone’s gowns all have back detailing, which is important for a bridal gown as your back is traditionally viewed during your walk down the aisle as well as during the ceremony. I have always had a love of the back being just as spectacular, if not more so, as the front of a garment. It is a signature in my own upcycled designs, especially my jackets. I think it is important to look as fabulous coming as you do going no matter where you are or what the event. It makes a garment and the person wearing it truly memorable.
Claire Pettibone’s bridal gowns are available in Canada at the new Kleinfeld salon at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto. The price range for her gowns seems to be $2,000 to $10,000 US with the most popular gowns ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 US. She also offers exclusive custom service with the designer herself at couture pricing. Based on my own knowledge of the scale of the talent, workmanship and uniqueness of this designer and her work, her gowns are worth every penny! Some of these dresses could be dyed or tea bathed and shortened after the wedding and made totally wearable for another event or, in the case of the less elaborate designs, worn just because you happened to be in a feminine and nostalgic kind of mood that day.
I hope you have enjoyed taking a trip with me into the wonderful and magical place that Claire Pettibone inhabits and shares with the rest of the world through her works of art. We need more of such beauty, luxury and things dreams are made of to give us occasional escape from the hustle and bustle and, sometimes, tedium of every day life.