Goodbye To An Iconic Preppy Brand

Welcome to a Thursday. We feel as though we should have Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” playing in the background as we write, for today’s post brings news about the death of another storied brand, Priscilla of Boston. Here is what visitors to the website will see today:

Priscilla of Boston

When Women’s Wear Daily broke the news yesterday afternoon some might have expected the internet to explode with Facebook posts and Twitter updates. That was not the case, probably an indicator of the company’s lack of relevance to many of today’s modern brides. To be sure, not everyone is on Twitter and/or Facebook, but a very high percentage of young ladies Priscilla needed to attract as customers do use those online networks.

For those unfamiliar with the brand, it truly was the first, and in some cases only call one made after one’s engagement was announced.  Pure and simple, one went to Priscilla for a gown. Beginning and end of discussion. When yours truly set out with TQM on our hunt for the perfect gown Priscilla was our first stop. (Sadly, we did not have a positive experience, our gown came from Montaldo’s, another firm no longer in existence.)

Many notable names wore Priscilla gowns, among them several Presidential daughters. Below we see Luci Baines Johnson on her wedding day in August of 1966.

by © Bettmann/CORBIS

The design featured a nine foot Watteau train, so named because it falls from the shoulders, not the waist. Here is a better look at the dress.

LIFE Magazine

On a side note, we can’t resist sharing this photo of the Ms. Johnson’s bridesmaids, talk about some pink!

LIFE Magazine

Julie Nixon Eisenhower also wore Priscilla, her wedding took place just before her father was sworn into office.

Via Couture Allure

And Tricia Nixon selected a dress from Priscilla for her 1971 wedding to Ed Cox, the designer was John Burbridge, the company’s senior designer at the time. The fact the gown was sleeveless was *quite* the topic of conversation at the time, many considered the style much too informal for a wedding at the White House.

Via Simple Weddings

The company was founded in the 1940’s by Priscilla Kidder, below she is shown with a hand-embroidered ribbon that was actually sewn into Tricia Nixon’s hem, it says “Gown by Priscilla of Boston for the White House Wedding of Tricia Nixon to Edward Finch Cox” .

Harry Benson for LIFE Magazine via Couture Allure

Ms. Kidder designed the gowns for Grace Kelly’s bridesmaids.

One didn’t see too many sequins on gowns from Priscilla “back in the day,” but there was an abundance of hand-embroidery and exquisite lace. Sophisticated elegance was Priscilla’s hallmark, the company very much catered to an upper-crust clientele.  Here is a vintage Priscilla gown.

Via Dressing Vintage

A look at the details.

Via Dressing Vintage

Ms. Kidder sold the business in 1993, it has had multiple owners since then, most recently David’s Bridal.

Below, some more recent Priscilla dresses.

Via Women's Wear Daily

A bridesmaid dress.

Priscilla of Boston

Another contemporary wedding gown, this one from 2008.

Priscilla of Boston

Recently Priscilla tried marketing more aggressively, with promotions like an online contest (shown below) and a Facebook page.

Via Priscilla of Boston

More contemporary styles.

InStyle

So what brought about the end? That is a good question, we can only presume it was declining business in an industry that continues to consolidate into bigger conglomerates.

The company’s 19 stores will close December 31, and the following labels discontinued: Priscilla of Boston, Platinum by Priscilla of Boston, The Dress by Priscilla of Boston, Jewel by Priscilla of Boston, Melissa Sweet, Reverie by Melissa Sweet, and the Vineyard Collection (the Vineyard line was the more moderately priced group). No need for those who have ordered dresses to be concerned however, the company says current customers will receive their dresses.

Sniff. Does anyone have a tissue?

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11 Comments

Filed under preppy

11 responses to “Goodbye To An Iconic Preppy Brand

  1. a.

    My mother wore a POB dress!

  2. I am so sad, Priscilla dresses were lovely. I tried a few on, although I didn’t find my dress there. So sad.

  3. I’m pretty sure my mother did too:). That said, right now I’m still stuck on all that pink.

  4. Gee that is sad. Sorry to see such an iconic brand go.

  5. Preppy 101

    Very sad as this is another indicator of the times. Susan and I visited PoB when she got engaged. She tried on a few and they were very helpful, but “the” dress was not there . . . lovely tribute post Miss Princess! Have a fabulous weekend! XOXO

  6. It is very sad! I got my prom gown from there back in the day and just blogged about it tonight after reading your beautiful tribute! : )

  7. That is sad, they made beautiful dresses. I didn’t wear a PB dress, but it definitely was one of the brands I researched when trying to find “the dress”. I had no idea David’s Bridal holding company bought it. I am sad to see them let it go.

  8. I was shocked when I heard about Priscilla closing its doors. I was very fortunate to have worn a Priscilla on my wedding day. Now it means just that much more…

  9. It makes me sad to see the end of a classic and classy brand.

  10. Tricia Nixon’s dress is still one of my all time favorites. I’d wear that today! Sad.

  11. My wedding gown was from POB – very simple, very elegant. Always sad when a long lived brand decides to close their doors. And I’m with Lisa – all that pink – wow!

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