Couture Designer. Celebrity Choice. Bridal Confidant.
Comfortable may not be a word that comes to mind when you imagine a bride before her wedding day. But if you picture her alongside couture wedding gown design-er Kirstie Kelly, it’s tough to see her as anything else.
Despite the monumental planning aspects that surround the summer wedding season—such as the venue, the guests and the flowers—nothing can stir a bride’s ring finger to nervous tapping quite like choosing a gown. Nevertheless, Kirstie Kelly works to calm sartorial stress in her El Segundo showroom by using classic design, structural detail and a casual approach that comes as a result of growing up in the South Bay.
“It’s a neighborhood place, but at the same time, it’s very luxurious,” she says. “I always tell my stylists that every time someone walks in the door, you’re inviting them into your living room.”
After a childhood spent in Manhattan Beach and Europe, Kirstie graduated from the Otis College of Art and Design and then began fitting bodices and veils per the advice of her initial suit-and-evening-gown clients. She says she strives to create a garment that underscores, rather than overshadows, a bride’s vibrant personality.
“You want the bride to shine,” she says. “You want people to say, ‘Wow! You look amazing!’ And then you want people to say, ‘Your gown’s incredible.’”
Kirstie’s 15-year career spans a successful showroom in Brentwood, partnerships with Costco and Disney and celebrity clientele including Michelle Obama and Debra Messing. The May 2011 opening of her El Segundo showroom, where prices range from $400 to $15,000, was a chance for Kirstie to cater to the women she knows best. And since she’s comfortable at home, there’s no reason that local brides shouldn’t be also.
“I’m very friendly, and I like to meet people,” she says. “And because I’ve grown up with these women, I understand their personality. I understand the community that they’re looking for and what their needs are.”
For more on Kirstie and her El Segundo showroom, visit kirstiekelly.com.
The butcher, the baker and the salad maker.
Every few years the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business hosts a real estate conference in Los Angeles.
At this conference, three PhDs (Dr. Chris Thornberg, former chief of UCLA’s Economic Forecast and now a principal with Beacon Economics; Dr. Robert Edelstein, co-chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley; and Dr. Richard Green, director of Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC’s Marshall School of Business) present a plethora of charts, graphs and analysis to back up their views as to where the real estate economy is heading.