From its beginnings, in the Butler Exchange Building in downtown
Providence, the custom dressmaking business of Anna and Laura Tirocchi
was called simply, A. & L. Tirocchi. The dressmakers
had woven labels made up with this name, to be sewed into the custom
gowns they made for their discriminating clientele.
When they moved to 514 Broadway in 1915, after Anna purchased the
Victorian mansion at the time of Lauras marriage to Dr. Cella,
they continued to use the same name, although the name of the shop
was not posted on the exterior of the house or on the property in
any way. Business records from the earliest days to Annas
death in 1947 show that the women maintained this business name
with their vendors throughout the decade.
Two announcements of Annas collections survive in the archive.
A handwritten note from the Butler Exchange years announced:
Anna and L. Tirocchi
Beg to advise you that they are in New York
selecting new Imported Materials and Trimmings
for the Spring Season.
They cordially invite you to inspect
their new stock at their parlors
Butler Exchange, March 15th.
In the Fall of 1926, after she had re-cast her custom dressmaking
business to include a large inventory of ready-made garments, Madame
Tirocchi had announcements printed that advertised the Winter Collection
shown on September 22. By this time, she was using the name Di
Renaissance for the shop and the card listed herself as manager.
In the announcement, she offered her clients "Line, Color,
Detail, Distinction, Individuality."
The changing of the shops nameat least to clienteleand
the choice of name indicate that she was meeting her competition
head-on. Department stores were not her only rivals. Exclusive little
shops were springing up around town, and so Anna took a leaf from
their book and found an enticing new name for her business. The
adjectives she used mirror those found in the fashion magazines
of the day, again showing her astuteness in tapping into what intrigued
When she changed the shops name, Anna also had letterhead
designed and printed. A midnight blue band slashes across the left
corner of the paper, and Di Renaissance is inscribed within
it. Centered at the top of the page in the same midnight blue ink
is the term "Gowns" followed on the next line by "Anna
L. Tirocchi," with the address of the shop underneath. It seems
Anna had made the shop her own at this point; or perhaps Laura had
conceded the business point that Anna, Madame Tirocchi, was
the face of the business to the outside world.
From all accounts, A. & L. Tirocchi rarely advertised.
Anna occasionally placed modest notices in the programs of the Junior
League, most likely solicited by her clients and which would give
her access to the clientele she sought. The minimal announcements
that remain indicate that Anna Tirocchi communicated with her customers
as personally as she worked for them. Nevertheless, her announcements
and letterhead were designed elegantly and always presented in the
best taste. She maintained a distinctive image for the shop for
her stylish clientele.
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