The Gilded Age Wedding Dresses from Claire Pettibone

During a trip to the 1000 Islands area of New York, I was swept away by the history of the Gilded Age of New York City. Inspired from this era of late 1800’s to early 1900’s, Claire Pettibone has created an amazing collection of wedding dresses.

Claire 4 up
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The Gilded Age, from about 1870 to 1900 was a time of expansion and wealth centered in New York as the city was becoming the epicenter of society and culture in the United States. So many amazing estates were built, parties thrown, and opulence ruled the day. As always, my aesthetic is never flashy or overdone, but I found great inspiration in this era of extravagance, and created a collection using elements of metallic embroidery, delicate beading, and embellishment that would be right at home with society¹s finest, and yet, remain true to my romantic sensibility.

I was creating my first fine jewelry collection with Trumpet and Horn while designing these dresses, so the idea of rose gold, aquamarine, and pearls found their way into the gowns as well. Some of my favorite pieces include the metallic thread embroideries. An alternative to white or ivory, these textiles shimmer and impart a beautiful glow to the bride.

The hair and make-up inspiration was a nod to the Gibson Girl who became so popular during this era, but whenever I refer to history, I always try to offer it in a modern way, so that it doesn¹t come off as a costume, but as inspiration for a bride. Vivianna Martin, for Kevyn Aucoin and the Oscar Blandi teams did an amazing job bringing the look to life. Voluminous up-dos, rosy cheeks, and gold accented eyes gave the models a timeless beauty. 

Emmy London shoes were a perfect match. Emmy and I chatted about colors and general inspiration months before, and so it all made for beautiful pairings on the runway. And of course the Trumpet & Horn jewels, with touches of Edwardian and Victorian inspiration made a sparkling finishing touch.

Hope you enjoy the video with some behind-the-scenes of our day, as we photographed our 2016 ad campaign with Emily Soto and held our New York runway show that evening.

–   Claire Pettibone

  1. Vanderbilt            Rose gold embroidery with floral ribbon waist and elaborate scalloped hemline.
  2. Morgan                  Long sleeve pewter emblems over silver lace with velvet waist and keyhole back.
  3. Jewel                   Ivory lace gown with velvet inlaid embroidery, crystal waist, and tulle overskirt.
  4. Marquise               V-neck champagne beaded tulle with lace insets and tulle overskirt and train.
  5. Eva                     Pale pink embroidered tulle with embellished illusion back and beaded train.
  6. Helene                  Scallop gold and silver embroidery with draped lace sleeves and illusion back.
  7. Lillian                 Sleeveless rose velvet inlaid embroidery on lace with jeweled ribbon belt.
  8. Asscher                 Scalloped neckline gold lace with beaded tulle overskirt and keyhole back.
  9. Bijoux                  Crystal and pearl floral embroidery with keyhole back and scalloped hemline.
  10. Whitney                 Ivory re-embroidered lace with silver floral tulle and lace edged cape train.
  11. Caroline                 Antique blue forget-me-nots embroidered bodice with French cotton voile skirt.
  12. Cameo                     Aquamarine pearl beaded embroidery with cameo inset applique back.
  13. Sylvie                    Aquamarine sheer lace skirt with voile insets and beaded bodice and sleeves.
  14. Pearle                    Long sleeve lace gown with pearls, ivory and rose gold embroidery.
  15. Cora                      Short sleeve platinum filigree lace with full scalloped skirt and illusion back.
  16. Eliza                     Aquamarine and platinum lace full skirt with beaded mutton sleeve and bodice.
  17. La Belle                   Short sleeve pearl beaded bodice with rose gold heart embroidered full skirt.
  18. Sinclair                  Long sleeve filigree lace with silver heart embroidered tulle and lace train.

Styling: Type A Society                              

Make-up: Viviana Martin for Kevyn Aucoin    

Hair: Oscar Blandi                                        

Campaign Photographer: Emily Soto

Campaign Hair & Make-up: Alyssa Lorraine    

Gowns: Claire Pettibone                                            

Jewelry: Claire Pettibone for Trumpet & Horn

Shoes: Emmy London                                


The Claire Pettibone collection embodies the designer’s artistic vision of vintage style and luxurious detailing, with an enchanted spirit. Each season tells a unique story, and the intricate embellished fabrics that Claire dreams, sketches and drapes are the first chapter. Throughout the evolution of the collection, the designer has maintained her signature style and upheld the standards of quality and craftsmanship. Claire’s gentle use of color, couture details, European laces and graceful embroideries flutter and flow to make a woman look and feel like a goddess.


The Claire Pettibone collection embodies the designer’s vision of vintage romance with an enchanted bohemian spirit. Since launching the company with her husband Guy Toley in 1994, the self-described true romantic has brought her feminine sensibility to fashion. After a successful decade creating luxurious lingerie, Pettibone introduced couture bridal gowns in 2005, and so began a real shift in wedding style. The garden, vineyard, rustic and vintage inspired weddings that have become so ubiquitous, showcase many of the designer’s creations. Claire¹s gentle use of color, couture details, European laces and graceful embroideries flutter and flow to make a woman look and feel like a goddess.