Priscilla of Boston Taps Marchesa for New Bridal

A new wedding dress collection, Eterna by Marchesa, will be sold at the retailer's 19 freestanding stores starting this fall.

Sixty-five years after Priscilla Kidder first ventured into the bridal business, her namesake company, Priscilla of Boston, is dressing up its image with a little designer glitz and a new Greenwich, Conn., boutique in the fall.

This story first appeared in the April 19, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Company executives have been busy working with Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig to develop Eterna by Marchesa, a wedding dress collection that will bow at retail in September. With retail prices ranging from $1,500 to $5,000, the line will be sold in Priscilla of Boston’s 19 freestanding stores. Chapman and Craig will continue to do their signature high-end wedding gowns as well as their Marchesa Notte label.

“We’ve been around for 65 years and we want to be modern and fresh for the girl who is really into fashion,” said Kimberly Lee Minor, chief fashion strategist and general merchandise manager for Priscilla of Boston. “So we were thinking about who could take us there. Georgina and Keren are so glamorous and Marchesa is so prevalent on the red carpet. I talked to my chief executive about the idea and around that same time they approached us through someone they knew at the company.”

In addition to its signature collection, Priscilla of Boston’s other proprietary labels include Jewel by Priscilla of Boston, Platinum for Priscilla of Boston, The Dress, Melissa Sweet, Reverie and Vineyard, each defined by a different price range and targeted shopper. Introduced in February and priced between $575 and $975, The Dress consists of five right-off-the-runway styles that are always in stock for shoppers who prefer to buy on the spot. Popular as that is, the company’s $1,500 to $3,000 retail tier has been generating the most business recently.

Having opened a Beverly Hills boutique with a more modern interior in January, Priscilla of Boston also is sprucing up its selection with a greater emphasis on designer cocktail dresses and eveningwear from Marchesa Notte, Thread Social, Carmen Marc Valvo and Naeem Khan, among others. The retailer also sells Vera Wang’s signature wedding gowns, as well as her Luxe label. Minor said, “We want to be a gallery, not just an offering. To create a gallery, you ask, ‘Who is best of class?’ and then you fill that space.”