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 Laura’s 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 Anna’s death in 1947 show that the women maintained this business name with their vendors throughout the decade.

Two announcements of Anna’s 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 shop’s name–at least to clientele–and 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 her customers.

When she changed the shop’s 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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   Sources and Methods
   The People
   The Business
      Address Books
      Shop Announcements
      Bills   |   Day Books
      Employee Address Book
      Inventory   |   Ledgers
      Letters   |   Payroll
      Time Books
      Travel Records
      Vendor Account Books
      Vendor Invoices
      Vendor Letters
      Vendor Promotions
   Custom Dressmaking



There are pictures of letters and business corrispondence in the IMAGE ARCHIVE.