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Monday, September 19, 2011

Priscilla of Boston is Closing After 65 Iconic Years

I just can’t believe it…and yet I can.

After 65 years of dressing brides for their big day, Priscilla of Boston is shutting its doors.

And they just introduced their new collections for the season: Priscilla of Boston, Platinum for Priscilla of Boston, Melissa Sweet, Reverie, Jewel and Vineyard Collection.

This is the same company that created Grace Kelly’s iconic bridal gown that she wore to her wedding to the Prince of Monaco. 

The gowns covered several different price ranges – however, admittedly, most of the gowns cost more than what most brides are willing to spend these days. Here is the painful truth: our economy is in really, really poor condition. People are still getting married every day, but their budgets are smaller. 

One of the new gowns, a personal favorite of mine, called "Lex."

And let’s be realistic – why should brides have to spend over $5,000 for a wedding gown if they want something like nice beading or silk when they could go to a department store and only pay a few hundred instead? Yes, generally designer gowns are created in a very meticulous way, with hand-beading and the like, but the prices still seem utterly inflated for something that is only going to be worn once. And it is not fair that a bride who spends around $1,000 only gets a very basic white dress with cheap material. People in the wedding industry either need to “get real” with brides’ budgets or they will be left in the dust.

The company is actually owned by David’s Bridal, the cheaper alternative to a more luxe bridal salon like Priscilla. Those at the company are saying that they are closing Priscilla of Boston to focus and invest their resources more into David’s Bridal salons instead.

This makes perfect sense to me. David’s Bridal is more affordable for brides as it is, and is usually the first bridal salon an American woman chooses to enter. However, it is on the low end in appearance and selections compared to many other brands/salons. It is hard to find a more luxe gown in one of their stores; however, David’s Bridal recently teamed up with Vera Wang (arguably the most popular name in bridal fashion, but usually rather pricey) to create a line called White by Vera Wang that is hot-off the runway but affordable for today’s bride. The new collection has garnered plenty of excitement from brides, and rightfully so – the gowns are truly Vera but will not break the bank. Who knows – maybe David’s Bridal would like to approach Kenneth Pool next? (Now that would be a Cinderella dream come true!) David’s Bridal could expand to host several big-name designers with collections at a significant fraction of their usual prices, with a more posh-looking environment for their customers.

White by Vera Wang

I am very sad that such an iconic name in bridal fashion is coming to an end, but I am also hopeful for the future of the wedding industry and the options it gives to its couples. I raise a glass of champagne to you, Priscilla of Boston – thank you for 65 years of innovative and beautiful fashion.

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