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Trendsetters at Work: Claire Pettibone

Claire Pettibone, Trendsetters Jacqueline Lee/E! Entertainment

Claire Pettibone's bridal designs are so intricate, delicate and lovely that they're practically otherworldly. Alongside her business partner, Guy Toley, (who also happens to be her husband of twenty years), she makes bridal dreams into a magical reality—not an easy task, by a long shot.

So we caught up with Claire to find out her pro tips for budding fashion designers, how growing up with two artist parents help pave the way for her career, and what her creative process is like.

What was your very first job?
At 13-years-old I had a part-time job at Judy's (which later became Rampage) as a sales associate, and at 16, I became assistant manager when I could work the minimum hours!

Who are some of your career heroes?
My mom and dad, both artists for their entire lives, taught me to do what you love.

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Claire Pettibone, Trendsetters Jacqueline Lee/E! Entertainment

What's a typical workday like for you?
In the office by 9:00 am after dropping my daughter at school, I start with emails and interviews. Then check in with our graphics team on website updates, ads, maybe approving images for release. Quick meeting with my head patternmaker for any couture customization questions, then an update on sales, and finally onto design! I like to get the busy work of the day done first, and save the afternoons for my creative time of sketching, designing fabrics and dresses.

What was your inspiration for your atelier?
It's a historic landmark with some amazing architectural details, which I wanted to highlight. Since it is a castle, the idea of the almost "fairy tale" like mural on the wall was a continuation of this mood. I wanted everything to be light and magical.

List five things that are on your desk right now.

My latest to-do list, pencils and paper for sketching, spools of silk ribbon, beaded appliques and a ruler.

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Claire Pettibone, Trendsetters Jacqueline Lee/E! Entertainment

What is your go to outfit for a day at work?
Jeans, a boho top and a great pair of shoes.

What are your favorite stores to shop for work clothes?
Cusp, Fred Segal, Neiman's and Saks for shoes.

What's the best piece of career advice you've ever received?
Treat your failures and successes with the same level of calm and composure.

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice 20 years ago what would it be?
Save your money!

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Claire Pettibone, Trendsetters Jacqueline Lee/E! Entertainment

Finish the sentence…

The first website I log onto every day is…Instagram.

My lunch will be…a salad from Erewhon.

The beauty product always in my purse is…lip balm.

My must-have work gadget is…pencil and paper (I'm old school like that).

My usual coffee order is…Chai latte with almond milk.

If I need a break during work, I usually…take a walk outside.

If I wasn't doing this job, I would be…an interior designer.

The best part of my job is…I love the solitary creative process, and then when you add the emotional connection my clients have with my work. It's the icing on the cake.

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