How Paoli’s Deborah Van Cleve Became a Local Authority on Bridal Fashion

Image via Van Cleve Bridal.
Deborah Van Cleve.

Van Cleve Bridal in Paoli has been getting yeses for dresses long before TLC’s Randy Fenoli ever touched a piece of tulle. The shop’s owner, Deborah Van Cleve, is also president and founder of The Van Cleve Collection. She’s guided her shop and her brand to a top spot in the local wedding couture business — and continues to hold it there.

Melissa Jacobs, when offered to interview Van Cleve for Main Line Today, said “I will.”

The Van Cleve style is classic, traditional, and tasteful — with a hint of sexy.

A Philadelphia native, Van Cleve began her career as an interior designer in Houston. She transitioned into fashion after moving back to Malvern.

She was “doing home parties for a 100-square-foot accessories boutique near Valley Forge National Historical Park,” recalled Van Cleve. “When the partners split up, I bought the business for $5,000 and kept it for several years.”

Later, she moved to Paoli and went into the bridal business.

And despite being in fashion for 35 years, she believes there is still plenty left for her to do in the field.

“Five years ago, I was going to retire — I was looking for the next chapter,” she said. “Then I decided that I haven’t finished the chapter I’m in.”

Read more about Deborah Van Cleve in Main Line Today.

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