After building her company in excess of 45 years

Designer Priscilla Kidder isn't just considered the very first famous wedding dress designer, but additionally one of the most influential designers. Her gowns boasted renowned style, craftsmanship, and feminine elegance. Although the organization is no more in operation, many vintage-loving brides continue to be seeking out her dresses today!

Priscilla Eastman Comins was created in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1916. With her heart set on the wedding world, Priscilla graduated from the New England School of Design in Boston. After graduation, she worked within the bridal portion of R. H. White’s mall. While employed by White, she met James Norton Kidder, who'd later get to be the VP and Treasurer of her company, plus they married in 1940.

To achieve her design dreams, Kidder needed to work her place to the top. She went from model to salesperson and finally assistant buyer in White’s bridal department. She began to notice that White’s choice of bridal gowns was limited, so she took it upon herself to depart the store and open her very own bridal salon, The Bride’s Shop, in 1948.

The store, found on Newberry Street in Boston, allowed Kidder to be an independent dressmaker and wedding consultant. Her designs featured imported lace, which was very different when compared to simple designs of the era. Her romantic wedding gowns became a part of a line titled “Priscilla of Boston” which soon converted into Kidder’s brand.

She also launched a “Miss Priscilla” label—casuals for young figures including cotton for autumn wear. Thanks to the post-WWII wedding boom, Kidder made around $15,000 on her behalf first week of opening.

By the 1950s, Priscilla of Boston was booming. Brides were wanting to buy her gowns which were famous for exquisite silk, beadwork, and French lace. For the next 3 decades, Kidder’s customers wanted more bridal and less casualwear. She come up with the “Betsy” line, named after her daughter, for that bride wanting a relatively inexpensive gown.

The “Teeny” line followed, for that smaller woman wanting sophistication, as well as in 1980 the less formal “Contemporary Romantic” line was created for that refined woman. During this time, Kidder also gained a lot of high-profile clientele including socialites, celebrities, and first daughters.


After building her company in excess of 45 years, Kidder was prepared to sell and retire. In 1993, she was considered internationally renowned, and her designs continued to wow brides everywhere. In 1996, the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History acquired an accumulation of Kidder’s gowns, papers, and photos. Her dresses are displayed within the Division of Costume Exhibit, and several bridal designers consider her to become the Oscar de la Renta of her time.

In 2002, Federated Department Stores bought Kidder’s company, and she or he passed away annually later. In 2007, bridal chain David’s Bridal bought the organization and really helped expand the Priscilla of Boston name. While the retailer was recognized for their less expensive designs, which range from $300 to $1,500, Priscilla of Boston was viewed as the posh older sister with higher-end gowns costing between $5,000 to $10,000.

Although the company brought in some higher revenue, David’s Bridal customers were looking for that lower-price options. Ultimately, all 19 Priscilla of Boston stores were closed towards the end of 2011.

Although Priscilla of Boston is no more around, the company had some good collections for the very end. The spring 2010 Vineyard collection is sleek, modern, and complicated. The flowy strapless gown is just one of our faves—it’s flirty and fun!

Jumping towards the spring 2012 bridal collection, both Danni and Andrea gowns are filled with princess-like qualities. We love the strapless trumpet Danni gown. The lace accent in the drop waist is super elegant and chic. Andrea is giving us Kate Middleton vibes using the long-sleeve lace top and high collar. It’s simply stunning!

Speaking of royalty, recall the famous clientele we discussed earlier? It all started using the stunning Grace Kelly. Her 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco put Kidder around the map for high-profile clients. She designed the yellow organdy bridesmaid gowns for Kelly’s boho wedding dress ceremony that featured small collars and billowing sleeves. Nearly 600 guests attended the marriage, including major Hollywood stars like Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, and much more.

From there, Kidder quickly became a sought-out designer for multiple White House weddings. First up, Lydon B. Johnson’s daughter Luci. For her 1966 wedding to Patrick Nugent, Kidder developed a beautiful high-neck gown with long sleeves, such as the one that Grace Kelly wore.

In the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, she designed gowns for both Nixon sisters—Julie and Tricia. Julie’s wedding to David Eisenhower brought two presidential families together in December of 1968. Her gown was easy and feminine. Her sister Tricia turned several heads at her 1971 nuptials. Kidder developed a sleeveless gown on her big day and several people considered the gown revealing for your decade. Either way, she looked amazing inside it!


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