10 Minutes with Claire Pettibone

Wedding Dresses
Claire Pettibone Portrait

Photo: Elizabeth Messina

Designer Claire Pettibone is known for her beautiful floral embroideries and silhouettes that channel bygone eras. Her newest wedding dresses for Fall 2015 were inspired by iconic cathedrals like Notre Dame in Paris, Westminster Abbey in London, and St. Patrick's in New York City — and the results were absolutely stunning. We connected with the designer after her show during Bridal Fashion Week to hear more about her latest collection.

This season marks Claire Pettibone's 20th anniversary collection, and the designer has reason to celebrate!
"It's been an exciting year!" Pettibone exclaimed, when we congratulated her on her milestone. "The Gothic Angel collection began with a trip to London last December, and walking through Westminster Abbey, I started thinking about all of that opulent beauty, — from gilded gold, to stained-glass windows, I was inspired by it all! I looked to gothic architecture from all over the world for inspiration, and started to see my bride as an angel who could live in these magical spaces."

Claire Pettibone Fall 2015 Michaela

Photo: John Aquino

Claire Pettibone loves embroidery, and takes every chance she can to customize her gowns with the technique.
When asked about her favorite fabrics, the designer explained that while she loves lace, her favorite is embroidery, "because I have such creative freedom to completely design the pattern, and choose thread colors to 'paint' a pattern on the fabric." Her favorite bridal trends? "Right now, my favorite trends are definitely sleeves, and illusion necklines. However, I'm all for a sexy dress, but too low and too bare can cross the line. It is a wedding after all, your grandparents may be there!"

Claire Pettibone loves creative brides!
The designer loves her clients, and finds that the women who come to her for bridal dresses are always creative and independent. "I may be biased, but I have the best brides," said the designer. "They are stylish, creative, independent, and beautiful! They have really cool weddings — in fields, castles, barns, beaches and historic buildings. I love the variety of creative ideas that always express the couple's personality, and the devotion brides have for my collection," said the designer. "The dress becomes a part of the story they tell."

Claire Pettibone Angelica Fall 2015 Photo: John Aquino

Her top three style tips for brides on their wedding day? Embrace the veil, edit down your jewelry, and add an element of surprise.
"My number one styling tip for brides is to wear a veil, or some other sort of adornment in the hair. Veils really bring the focus up to your face, and in my opinion, it really transforms a woman into a bride." While she loves accessories to frame the face, the designer cautioned to avoid over-loading other accessories, specifically jewelry. "Choose earrings or a necklace (not both!), but you can go a bit larger in scale, as things appear more subtle in photography." For her final tip, Pettibone encourages the use of color to leave an impression. "Color can make your look very personal, and unique. Whether it is a touch of blue in your gown, or perhaps a great pair of shoes in your favorite color, it's nice to use a bit of color to add an element of surprise."

Her dream celeb client? The future Mrs. Kutcher!
The designer, who has dressed celebrities like Carrie Underwood, would love to design a wedding dress for new mom Mila Kunis. "Mila Kunis will be a gorgeous bride, and I love her laid-back vibe," said the designer. "I'm sure she will have a very personal, intimate wedding, and even though the guest list could be A-list, I bet she and Ashton will keep it genuine and focused on what matters."

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