Claire Pettibone Reveals Her Design Inspirations

One of the most beloved bridal designers shares her design inspirations.

Claire Pettibone Reveals Her Design Inspirations

The inimitable designs of Claire Pettibone graced the runways of New York's 2014 Bridal Market in October. From hints of color, to glamorous gold details, the designer's "Still Life" collection certainly didn't disappoint. We caught up with Claire after her show and asked about her biggest inspirations, and her advice for brides just beginning to shop for gowns.

Inside Weddings: Tell me about your design influences this season.

Claire Pettibone: I started thinking about these still-life paintings from the 1600s and 1700s, and I just loved this dark, mysterious beauty about them, and I thought that would be a really cool starting point for a collection. I also liked the play on the word “still life;” how a wedding is a moment when we should be still and think about what’s important. I just loved that as a title for a collection.

IW: Tell me about your new Wedding Paper Divas stationery collection.

CP: I loved designing those [invitations]! I studied graphic design in college, so all of the visual elements are so important to me; when I design dresses, I also think about the whole wedding and the invitations are a part of that. The invitation is really the first taste that your guests get of what [the wedding] is going to be like, so I really like for the invitations to tell a little story as well. I really thought of different settings, and styles, and moods for the invitations.

IW: I know you hate talking about trends, but is there anything in the culture that’s influencing designers more broadly?

CP: There is a move towards something more unique and special; I think that that’s beginning to come around, which obviously I’ve always been a big proponent of and love. You could say sleeves and lace [are trends], but I don’t really pay attention to trends when I work, I really don’t think about them. I just concentrate on trying to design something that’s timeless and beautiful and tells a story.

IW: How does a bride know when she has found the right dress?

CP: I think she really feels it. I think if she can settle herself down while she’s in the process, which sometimes is challenging, but if she can really sink into herself as she’s trying on dresses, she’ll feel it.

IW: What’s one thing you wish you could tell brides before they start dress shopping?

CP: Try not to bring too many people; it can be very confusing. I know it can be fun, and maybe that’s OK for one of your shopping trips, but it really sometimes ends up backfiring on the bride, where she gets completely overwhelmed, everyone’s got an opinion, and she can’t even hear herself think. So I think it’s probably better to go either with a couple of people first, and then bring the entourage once you’ve decided on your dress just for the final reveal. Or possibly on your very first round you can bring some girlfriends, but then when you get serious you need to narrow it down.

IW: Who’s the most memorable bride you’ve ever dressed?

CP: What just popped into my mind is Gucci Westman, who is creative director for Revlon right now (she was at Lancome when I dressed her). She got married in the South of France; I did a custom gown for her and it was really special.

Opening photographs of the designer and a fall 2014 Claire Pettibone gown by Getty.