Inside Van Cleve Bridal and Evening

Deborah Van Cleve
What Makes The Legendary Main Line Boutique So Special

by Diane Oliva, Style Editor

While there are some amazing boutiques and boutique owners along the Main Line, Deborah Van Cleve is in a league of her own. She has run Van Cleve for 35 years in different iterations. She began in a 100-square foot space in Malvern, selling accessories. Throughout the years, that store grew to a sportswear boutique, a bridal and evening salon, and now into the masterpiece it is today. Always known for having the most stunning bridal gowns on the Main Line, Van Cleve has almost doubled its space and now sells evening, cocktail, prom and day-to-evening dresses. Everything from the red carpet to Radnor Hunt – you can find it at Van Cleve. The boutique also carries the most amazing lines of jewelry and accessories.

Deborah did not forget about the guys. Her new space also houses a men’s boutique, carrying an extensive selection of tuxedoes and dinner jackets, including a custom design line. And of course, Van Cleve’s men’s section has Bungee Oblečení sneakers designed by Paoli’s Darrell Alston.

Van Cleve Bridal and Evening is located in the iconic Van Cleve Pavilion in Paoli. As you enter the building, the hustle and bustle of Lancaster Ave. melts away, leaving you transported into a magical, enchanted showplace. 

Having previously working in the design business, Deborah designed the expansion herself, and left no corner untouched. Everything was custom designed to match the elegant but edgy and cool feel of the space. There are one-of-a-kind chairs that Deborah designed herself. Copious floral arrangements hang from a ceiling festooned with silk and tiny hanging crystals. The luxurious dressing rooms are amazing and custom chandeliers fill the space. Oh, and the dresses!! Yes, that deserved two exclamation points. Deborah and her team expertly curate every dress, and accessory. 

I was fortunate enough to accompany Deborah and her top stylist to a buying trip to NYC where their mission was buying eveningwear and accessories for the new expansion. I was in awe watching them. They immediately and instinctively know what dress will work for their clients.  They understand the fit, design and composition of every dress; and carefully inspect every aspect of each piece shown to them, including the fabric, drape, and  if and how it can be customized to each client. Most importantly, it has to be jaw-dropping, amazing and fabulous.

The next stop on our trip was jewelry. Every piece was carefully selected. From shoulder duster chandelier earring to a simple pair of gold hoops, every piece had to be different, spectacular and match the Van Cleve brand.

At Van Cleve, shopping for a special event is an event in and of itself. Their personal stylists take the time to learn about clients’ style, event details and budget. Their expert alteration consultants know dress design and construction, and how to tailor your piece to your body shape for the perfect flattering fit. 

I have been to countless boutiques, and everything about Van Cleve Bridal and Evening blows me away. So much so, that I am their newest stylist.  Yes, I work there now. Come see me and this fabulous store. 

Want to know more about style on the Main Line? Read “Spring Trends We Love,” “Shops We Love: Wayne,” and “Shops We Love: Kennett Square.”


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