The Claire Affair: Claire Pettibone Revealed
Some designers are simply born to create. And so it goes with the illustrious and alluring Claire Pettibone. Known for her coveted collection of lingerie and bridal couture, Claire’s Beverly Hills bred line exudes romanticism in every detail. From slim silhouettes of hand-sewn lace and floral appliqué, to gowns clad in unexpected French toile fabrics, Claire Pettibone is anything but ordinary. Recently, Pettibone graced Denver with her charming presence at Little White Dress, one of our favorite Highlands Square haunts, for an exclusive trunk show. As brides clamored to try on Pettibone’s newest collection, we sat down with the designer to find out what inspires this celebrated and serene woman.
Born of artists, it was only natural for Claire to also go down a creative path. “I think it’s just in the blood. I was constantly being dragged to art openings in New York City, and at home finding creative outlets while my parents painted. I started drawing figures very early on – around two – and when I went to preschool, I actually began scribbling for the first time. I looked around at all of the other children scribbling and assumed I was doing it wrong.” It soon became abundantly clear that Claire was not “doing it wrong,” and a lifelong passion blossomed.
Living in a 1850s farmhouse, trips to galleries in the city were a juxtaposition from the time a young Claire Pettibone spent exploring nature. One that would eventually play into her eponymous collection of bridal couture. “As a child, I spent a lot of time outdoors. There’s nothing like being outdoors. There’s so much creativity in nature that inspires a lot of what I do.”
Yet the winding creeks and wildlife that surrounded Claire were not the only elements that would inspire. The hidden gems found in the house itself also unfurled a fantasy world of fashion. “One of our home’s former owners was quite the fashion plate in the twenties, and left a lot of her things behind. It was a constant treasure hunt of beaded dresses, old purses and photo albums.” This early glimpse into another era inspired Claire’s attention to detail and love for old world techniques. “It’s the details that really set things apart. Otherwise, it’s simply a piece of cloth.”
Today, Claire works alongside husband Guy Toley at the couple’s Robertson Boulevard flagship location – a long way from the New York farmhouse she once knew, but in a way, not far at all. “Having someone that you really trust be by your side through all of it is amazing. I can’t imagine doing it any other way. We’re both really invested in every way in the business. It’s something we built together.”