After dressing tens of thousands of brides in the last 41 years, Yolanda Cellucci will close her one-stop bridal and ready-to-wear boutique, salon, spa and cafe in Waltham, Mass., next month.
Known for her all-white ensembles and elongated eyelashes, Cellucci, who has been dubbed the “Sultan of Sequins,” has favored the old-school approach to retail, making a point of calling her customers by name and dressing generations of family members. But with her 75th birthday a few months away, she said: “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve never been ready to do this and frankly I never will be. I get here at five to six every morning, and my trips to New York are frequent,” she said. “But my children said to me, ‘You need to give yourself some time and to give us some time.’”
She spent a good part of Wednesday fielding calls from brides-to-be worried about their wedding gown orders. Not about to leave them high and dry, she will keep the store open until Aug. 29 and after that, two area boutiques, Ana Hernandez in Boston and David Joseph & Sondra Celli in Waltham, will offer alterations or additional orders.
Salon gift certificates and health club memberships will be honored by Roberts Salon & Spa in Belmont, Mass. and the Waverly Oaks Health Club in Waltham. “So many stores just close their doors and don’t do anything,” Cellucci said. “I wasn’t going to do that. We have weddings planned into January 2010. If a girl I’ve worked with really wants me to, I’ll come in for her fitting.”
Rather than sell the $5 million business, she opted to sell the 22,000-square-foot space for an undisclosed sum to Duffy Partners, a local developer. Other potential buyers wanted the business, too, but they also wanted her to stay on for five years and to sign a guarantee. “I didn’t think that was a wise decision,” she said. “They would change the business, and I could wind up getting it back in five years.”
Cellucci has donated about $250,000 worth of wedding gowns from designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Pauline Trigère and Bob Mackie to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for an exhibition. She said she has also approached the Fashion Institute of Technology about donating another batch of “showstopping” wedding gowns and accessories of comparable value. Cellucci, who started out selling wigs and a rack of dresses in 1968, has donated $500,0000 worth of wigs to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
She is also considering starting an e-commerce site or even opening a small store. “Brides would come in, try everything on and then buy it online,” she said. “I thought, ‘If that’s what I am losing business to, why not do it on my own?’”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast