Priscilla Chan’s Wedding Dress Was A Total Surprise For The Designer

Claire Pettibone is still trying to find out where Chan got the $4,700 dress for her wedding to Mark Zuckerberg. She suspects Chan purchased it in total secrecy, perhaps under a fake name. posted on

Weddings as high profile as Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s don’t happen very often; recent nuptials that belong in a similar stratosphere include Kate Middleton’s and Chelsea Clinton’s. All three of those involved public figures who aren’t in the entertainment business and closely guard their privacy when it comes to their romantic relationships. But unlike Clinton or Middleton, Chan snuck into a store and ordered the dress — there was no speculation leading up to what she’d wear because the wedding was kept completely secret. There were no private meetings with the designer of her $4,700 lace gown, Claire Pettibone. And she didn’t just go for the Vera Wang or Oscar de la Renta, which lots of brides with a boatload of money to spend gravitate toward.

I spoke to Claire today about how she found out Chan wore her gown, what she thought of Zuckerberg’s look, and more.

How are you feeling?
Really excited. I had no idea, so we are completely thrilled of course. It’s been a little crazy.

How did you find out she wore your dress?
I kind of found out about it the same way everyone else did. We had gone to Disneyland for my daughter’s fifth birthday, so we came home and my husband checked the news and he saw that Mark got married, and he looked at the story and said, “Honey, honey this is your dress.”

Yeah, I found out when I checked my work email the next morning and saw that a million other BuzzFeeders had been emailing about it from approximately 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Yeah, we were exhausted from Disneyland and just getting into bed and it was like “Oh my God, oh my God, do you think my publicist is awake? It’s 11:30.” So I texted her and I think it was her boyfriend’s birthday too, and she was hosting a party, so she gets on it. But [news organizations] start posting things and people are commenting — it’s like 2 a.m.! I’m like, don’t people sleep? I need to go to bed!

You have a celebrity customer base — Elisabeth Moss married in one of your dresses, for example. But was Mark and Priscilla’s wedding the biggest you’ve done?
Yeah, it is! My celebrities tend to be very private people, so sometimes I don’t get to release photos at all. I feel like being a celebrity so much of your life is out there for the public, and your wedding day — it’s kind of nice that some of my girls say, hey I just want to keep this as a private wedding. It’s nice for them but not always great for me, but I respect it, certainly.

This was definitely huge, not necessarily in the fashion world, but just the world at large. It’s pretty major in terms of exposure — it ran on Bloomberg and Forbes and those kinds of places that normally might not care about a wedding at all.

Your website must be insane.
At 9:30 this morning it had already been getting 10 times the normal amount of traffic, and I think it’s beyond that now.

So, can brides buy The Dress?
It’s been in the line for, I think, two years now? We’ve done some beautiful weddings for that gown. They can purchase it at our flagship or at our retailers around the country and the world. The dresses are all made to order so it takes at least 16 weeks. (Just because a retailer doesn’t carry that particular style, you can still special order it from the store that carries the line.)

How much is it?
That one is $4,700.

Stylistically the really eye-catching part of that dress on her was the lace, which is what immediately made me think of Kate Middleton. Is lace a huge bridal trend now?
It definitely is! I have always been a huge fan of lace and have used it in my collection from the very beginning — it’s who i am as a designer. But I do love it that it happens to be in fashion now and there’s something about it that’s so classic and yet unique.

I love that she chose that dress, I think it’s perfect for her. It has an understated quality that suited the intimacy of the event, but it still had detail and sparkle and beautiful elements about it. She’s educated and independent and chose something, I feel, that really suited her and her personality. That’s a trend that’s just really gaining momentum — women are getting married a little older, they’re more independent, and really making choices about their dress and how it express who they are more than they used to, when it was a little more about pleasing everyone else. I’m a little rebel in the bridal world in my approach. I do things that are a little different and unique. I think that’s what makes us all wonderful, is that we are different.

Do you know where exactly she purchased the dress?
We’re honestly not sure. I think she may not have used her actual name. The other thing is that some of the salons who carry us don’t necessarily give us the bride’s name when the orders come in.

What will you do when you find out? Send them cupcakes?
I don’t know! [Laughs.] Well, we’ll know [where she got it]. I don’t think it matters — I think all the salons that carry the collection are pretty excited right now. An event like this just really helps get the name out there. So I’m extremely grateful and surprised. It was kind of cool that it was a surprise.

What did you think of Mister Zuckerberg’s look?
He wasn’t wearing a sweatshirt, so I think that’s definitely a plus.

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