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Designer Jessica McClintock, known for prom and bridal gowns, dies at 90

The designer created one of the world's most recognizable brands during her 50 years in the business.
/ Source: TODAY

Designer Jessica McClintock, who was best known for her prom and bridal gowns, has died at 90.

McClintock died peacefully in her sleep on Feb. 16 at her home in San Francisco, her half sister, Mary Santoro, told TODAY. Her death was from natural causes and not COVID-related.

Fashion designer Jessica McClintock, known for her bridal and prom gowns, has died at 90. Joanne Ho-Young Lee / MediaNews Group via Getty Images

The designer "became synonymous with milestone events in a woman's life...christening, prom, graduation, engagement and wedding," according to her obituary written by Santoro.

In addition to her signature gowns, she also created fragrances, fashion accessories, fine furniture, bedding and architectural lighting. Last year marked her 50th year in the business.

"Breaking the proverbial glass ceiling, Jessica was a forerunner in the movement to empower women to live their life to its fullest and achieve their goals," her obituary reads.

Her dresses were worn over the years by several prominent women, including Hillary Clinton, who wore one at her wedding to Bill Clinton in 1975.

McClintock was born Jessica Gagnon in 1930 in Presque Isle, Maine, and left in 1947 to attend Boston University before completing her degree at San Jose State University.

She worked as a teacher before breaking into the fashion industry by investing in a fashion firm called Gunne Sax, which she became the sole owner of in 1970. The company focused on calico prints and prairie-style dresses before turning to a more Edwardian and Renaissance look, according to her obituary.

McClintock (in chair) and models pose in some of her frilly fashions at her San Francisco home.Roger Ressmeyer / Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

McClintock build one of the most recognizable brands in the world before retiring at 83 in 2013 after 43 years in the business. However, she continued to license her brand, which will now be managed by her son, Scott McClintock.

McClintock, who was married and widowed twice, is survived by her son and extended family. She will be buried in her birthplace of Presque Isle, and a celebration of her life will be held in San Francisco later this year.