Facebook Founder’s Bride Likes Claire Pettibone Wedding Dress

Priscilla Chan Mark Zuckerberg Wedding 2012
Allyson Magda Photography

After acquiring one of Pettibone’s dresses under a false name, Mark Zuckerberg’s new wife Priscilla Chan is attracting attention to the designer’s bridal work.

According to David Fincher’s The Social Network, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg alienated people so effectively that even as a billion-dollar success, the most meaningful contact he made with women was accepting his online friend requests.

But real life tells a decidedly different story: Zuckerberg maintained a long-term relationship with fellow Harvard alumna Priscilla Chan, whom he married Saturday in the back yard of the Palo Alto, Calif. home which the two of them share.

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Meanwhile, Chan’s presence in his life was equally understated offscreen – that is, until Saturday, when she -- and her wedding dress -- became overnight sensations.

Called “Sky Between the Branches,” the tank-style design has a high lace neckline in the front and a low-cut back, and is assembled from matte sequins on embroidered lace over silk charmeuse with a mermaid silhouette. According to The Daily Beast, Chan used a remarkable amount of subterfuge to find and then acquire the Claire Pettibone gown which she wore at the wedding ceremony: At a relatively modest cost of $4,700, Chan obtained the dress after flying to Denver to shop for designs, and then had a friend pretending to be her assistant pay for it.

Conversely, the designer is thrilled about the subsequent publicity attracted by her wearing the dress – although she confessed that she would have done anything Chan asked, if only she’d known.

“She could have come to me and I would have done anything for her,” Pettibone says. “But instead she decided to make her own choice under the radar.”

Pettibone has been designing dresses since 1994, but this is by far her highest-profile sale to date – although she didn’t know it until afterward. After Pettibone’s husband saw Chan wearing the dress in news reports about the wedding, they scoured corporate records until they found an order placed by “Priscilla Tuan” at Little White Dress in Denver. (Despite speculation that the wedding was planned around the release of Facebook’s initial public offering, Chan ordered the dress in October of last year, before the IPO date was set, with the May wedding date on the order form.)

Pettibone has already seen a boost in her business since news came of Chan’s purchase: she says that representatives from 14 boutiques worldwide have contacted her about carrying the dress. “There is nothing like a celebrity bride to lift your profile,” Pettibone told the New York Times on Friday.

Despite the newfound attention, Pettibone indicated that Chan was not significantly different than her typical clientele. “I think aside from the marrying-the-billionaire part, [Chan] is typical of the brides that are drawn to my collection: she’s smart, educated, and making her own choices."