Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Closing All Doors

It may be the beginning of a new year, but it also the end of an era..

On August 30, 2001 my dearest friends at Priscilla Of Boston where informed of the fate of their careers.  Sadly, December 31, 2011 was the last day of operation for the company that should have been celebrating their 65th Anniversary this year.

65 years ago Priscilla Kidder opened "The Bride's Shop" on Newbury Street in Boston, MA where she offered unique handmade wedding dresses. Soon Priscilla of Boston became synonymous with the highest level of individualized service and impeccable quality and design. Her name has stood the test of time and remains the hallmark of bridal elegance.

Priscilla's international distinction was clearly established in 1956 when she was chosen to design the exquisite bridesmaid gowns for the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.
Legendary weddings from European royalty to American aristocracy… As an estimated 55 million people watched on television, President Johnson's daughter, Luci, married Pat Nugent in a beautiful Priscilla of Boston gown in 1965. The bridesmaids wore Priscilla pink chiffon dresses, and the much-publicized nuptials went off without a hitch thanks to the hands-on assistance and watchful eyes of Priscilla herself.

The same attention to detail produced beautiful results in 1968 when Julie Nixon married David Eisenhower in a Belgian lace Priscilla of Boston gown.

Priscilla was dubbed as the "Queen of the Aisle" by Newsweek and McCall's called her "The Lady Who Marries the Best People".

In 1971 the tradition of the White House Weddings continued with Tricia Nixon's marriage to Eddie Cox. Priscilla Kidder designed the bridal gown and personally delivered the gown from Boston to Washington in its very own first class seat.

Priscilla took special care to choose bridesmaid dresses in a look suitable for Tricia's bridal party range of ages from 11 to 25. The mother of the bride, First Lady Pat Nixon, chose a lovely tea length ensemble from her vast personal wardrobe of Priscilla dresses. Once again, Priscilla Kidder was on the scene every step of the way to make certain that the wedding day was nothing short of perfect.

Priscilla Kidder received the first Bride's Magazine Designer Award in 1988.

"Cheers," Boston's very own pop cultural icon, concluded its 1992 season finale with the marriage of Woody Boyd to socialite Kelly Gains. Kelly wore a raw silk and floral lace Priscilla of Boston gown and matching veil.

At the age of 75 the Priscilla and her husband James decided to retire after nearly 50 years in the wedding gown business in 1993.

In 1996, USA Today declared Priscilla a "Gown guru who steers brides down the right aisle."

Priscilla of Boston was the wedding gown designer of choice for the first bride of the new millennium, highlighted on "48 Hours" and "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather."

The May Department Stores Company purchased Priscilla because of its unique position as a highly recognized, upscale bridal retailer and manufacturer with a fabulous reputation for outstanding service and magnificent collections in 2002.

In 2004 the legendary icon, Priscilla Kidder, passed away at the age of 86 in her Massachusetts home.

After the death of Priscilla the company continued to flourish.  In January 2005 the company joined forces with the rising star, Melissa Sweet.  During the Spring 2007 bridal fashion week, Priscilla of Boston premiered its new bridal collection called Platinum.  A year later during the Spring 2008 bridal fashion week, Vineyard, became the newest bridal collection for Priscilla of Boston.  In early 2008 the fifth collection, Reverie by Melissa Sweet was launched.  In 2009 the sixth and final collection to be launched was the Jewel collection.

It is sad the see this company diminish to nothing - especially since this is where I started my career.  I consider many of my colleagues that I worked with to be "family".  Hopefully, those who truly appreciated all the history the Priscilla of Boston can keep the legend alive.  

1 comment:

  1. Could you tell me anything about a particular Priscilla gown if I sent pictures? even if it's something as simple a possible design year. Simply because this dress has some unique design characteristics that I can't find any information on.I picked it up for myself but was curious on the history. So my research began. Besides You did say it's where you started your career.