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Monica Hickey, Doyenne of Bridal Gowns, Dies at 100


Style|Monica Hickey, Doyenne of Bridal Gowns, Dies at 100



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As the director of salons at Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, she spent decades outfitting brides-to-be for their grand ceremonies.

A black-and-white photo of Monica Hickey, a petite woman with short hair and a dark-colored outfit, standing with her hands on her hips in front of a young woman in a wedding dress.
Monica Hickey with Carolyn Frye, the last bride she outfitted at Henri Bendel before the store closed its Shop for Brides in 1987. Ms. Hickey also dressed brides at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.Credit…Harvey Wang

Monica Hickey, who for decades swathed celebrities and socialites for their lavish nuptials in the haute bridal salons at the New York department stores Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, died on Jan. 26 in Valle de Elqui, Chile. She was 100.

She died at the home of her daughter, Caitlin Margaret May, who announced the death.

Ms. Hickey ran the bridal boutique at Bendel’s under the company’s president, Geraldine Stutz, a celebrated figure in fashion retailing, from 1960 until she was hired away by Bergdorf’s in 1967 to run a department under her own name, the Bridal World of Monica Hickey.

In 1978 she returned to Bendel’s, where for more than a decade she directed the venerable Shop for Brides at the company’s flagship on West 57th Street in Manhattan, which had opened in 1908 and was considered an institution. In 1987, Bendel’s announced the closing of the shop. The closing followed a takeover by The Limited two years earlier, which also led to a move to Fifth Avenue.

“Through the years, the Bendel’s bride has been steadfast in one concept,” Ms. Hickey said in an interview with The New York Times after the announcement. “Her dress had to be romantic, delicate, in perfect taste, streamlined, never frantic.”

Among the prominent brides Ms. Hickey served there were the television host Jane Pauley and three daughters of the auto magnate William Clay Ford.

Over the years, she helped dress a number of other notable brides, including Amanda M. Burden, a daughter of the magazine editor and socialite Babe Paley, who would go on to serve as the New York City planning commission under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; and Margaret Lindsay, a daughter of another New York mayor, John V. Lindsay; Phyllis George, the former Miss America and CBS football host, who married John Y. Brown Jr., the Kentucky Fried Chicken mogul who was elected governor of Kentucky in 1979.

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