Katelyn Pankoke: The Most Charming Bridal Designer

If you love classic yet contemporary fashion then you will love the designs of the brilliant Katelyn Pankoke. Pankoke is the award winning founder and designer of Chicago based luxury bridal line, Elaya Vaughn. At the young age of 26, Pankoke has a number of amazing accomplishments under her belt including showing at New York Fashion Week and becoming a Project Runway All Star.

I was lucky enough to have interned for Pankoke when she first moved to Chicago. She is truly one of the most amazing people I've worked with and I'm not just saying this because she's a fellow cat lady. Pankoke is extremely hardworking, kind and personable. I recently reached out to Katelyn to catch up and she was kind enough to answer some questions for me. She also sent me some gorgeous photos of her latest collection which can be seen below.


Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

 

What is your philosophy about the art of fashion?

I think to be an artist of Fashion is such an amazing honor. You need to know your craft and know each client, and these two things require balance. I love that with fashion, you have such a connection with people, they live in your creation. By dressing people, I have the ability to make them feel good about themselves, and to me, that is the greatest gift.

How did you develop your interest in fashion design?

I began by making clothing for myself because I could not find exactly what I was looking for at the mall.

Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

I like to make statement pieces that stand alone so you don’t need to add a statement necklace or crazy earrings.
— Katelyn Pankoke

Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

Image Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn 

Image Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn 

What is your design process?

I always start with a vision. They come to me at night or during the day. My brain then keeps constructing and deconstruction the design in my head until I draw it. Once it is on paper, I need to make it, or it drives me crazy! 

Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

What is the most challenging part of being a bridal designer?

The most challenging part of being a bridal designer is the pressure. A wedding gown is the most important garment someone will ever wear and that is not something that I take lightly. Everything needs to be perfect!

What is your least favorite aspect of being in the bridal industry?

I think my least favorite aspect of the bridal industry is the pressure put on couples to impress other people. Especially now with blogs. Brides should focus on being the prettiest form of themselves on their wedding day. 

Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

How do you describe your style?

My personal style is kind of all over the place. I like to experiment with new trends. But I think I could sum it up with Sexy Amish... I like to do covered up silhouettes in sheer fabrics and layer.

How does your work reflect your personal style?

I am not really into accessories so I think the thing that I carry over from my personal style is clothing that feels effortless. I like to make statement pieces that stand alone so you don't need to add a statement necklace or crazy earrings. So often my designs are very intricate...no accessories needed.

Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

Image Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

Image Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

In your design career, what has been your most notable moment? 

The most memorable moment for me in my design career was getting to show at NYFW. Because I do bridal, there was a chance that I would never get the opportunity to show at NYFW because I would need to do a RTW collection. I was so thrilled that because of Project Runway, I had that opportunity. For me, it was definitely once-in-a-lifetime, and I will never forget it.

Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

Who is your dream client?

My dream client is Scarlett Johansson. I love her style and her body-type. She has old world curves that I really like.

Courtesy of Elaya Vaughn

Where do you envision your brand going? 

To be honest, I love exactly where my brand is right now. I love going to work everyday, and we are just the right amount of busy. I never want to get so big that I don't get to see each and every one of the gowns when it is finished. The gowns are my babies, and I always want to be part of the process.

To view more gorgeous gowns and accessories, please visit ElayaVaughn.com

Xoxo, 

Style & Forks


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