Fashion Designer Jessica McClintock, Known for Her Romantic Dresses, Dies at 90 

The San Francisco-based designer died in her sleep on the evening of Feb. 16

Jessica McClintock
Jessica McClintock. Photo: Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG via Getty Images

Jessica McClintock, a fashion designer known for her bridal and prom designs, has died. She was 90.

The San Francisco-based designer died in her sleep on the evening of Feb. 16, according to her obituary.

McClintock was the creator of a lifestyle brand centered on romance and beauty, and last year she celebrated her 50th anniversary in the fashion business.

Over the years, her designs have been worn by many famous faces, including Sissy Spacek, Mary Crosby and Hillary Clinton — who wore one of McClintock's dresses for her 1975 marriage to Bill Clinton.

A former grade-school teacher with no formal fashion training, McClintock stumbled into the designer business in 1969 when a friend told her about a fledgling dress firm called Gunne Sax — a move which ended up changing the course of her life.

In the early days, the company was known for its flowing dresses and calico prints, and after adding in a bit of her own flair, sales skyrocketed and soon, McClintock was selling to major department stores across the country.

She went on to become the sole owner of Gunne Sax in 1970.

Over the years, McClintock's business continued to boom, and she opened her first retail store in San Francisco in 1981.

By 2007, her brand ranked seventh on Women's Wear Daily's list of the most recognized brands, just below Cartier and Tiffany & Co.

Although McClintock briefly ceased manufacturing in 2013, she quickly changed her mind, and to this day, her brand has continued to provide dreamy, romantic gowns for women on their important days.

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She is survived by her son Scott, who will manage and direct the brand, as well as extended family.

McClintock will also live on in the private family environmental foundation she created with her son in 2018, dedicated to providing financial support to important causes.

The designer will be interred with her family in Presque Isle, Maine — where she was born. Although services will be private, a celebration of her life is currently planned to be held in San Francisco later this year.

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