December 27, 2003 by

Priscilla Kidder

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Categories: Business

Priscilla Comins Kidder, a noted wedding dress designer, died on Nov. 30. Cause of death was not released. She was 86.
Kidder graduated from the New England School of Design and took a job as a wedding dress model at the R.H. White department store in Boston. Within a few years, she worked her way up to buyer of the store’s bridal section. In 1948, Kidder became a custom dressmaker/wedding consultant and opened her own boutique. She made a fortune selling wedding finery to post-war brides — the store grossed $10,000 in its first week of business.
For more than half a century, Priscilla of Boston was known as an elegant establishment that produced wedding gowns designed to make a bride feel like a queen. Kidder’s bridal fashions actually adorned royalty; she designed the dress actress Grace Kelly wore when she wed Monaco’s Prince Ranier. Her stylish clothing also appealed to women in American high society. Luci Baines Johnson, the daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Julie and Tricia Nixon, the daughters of President Richard M. Nixon, wore Priscilla dresses for their weddings.
She sold the wedding dress company in 1993 to oil heiress Patricia Kaneb. In 2000, several of Kidder’s dresses and prints were incorporated into the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

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