Nicole Miller Philadelphia is closing.
Miller, a New York-based clothing designer known for rocker-chic womenswear, sold most of her business to Gordon Brothers, a Boston-based global advisory and investment firm, in February.
Philadelphia-based entrepreneur Mary K. Doherty has been licensed to operate a standalone Nicole Miller boutique in the Mid-Atlantic states since 1994. name.
Dougherty will close its Manayunk store at the end of August, becoming the latest womenswear boutique to be kicked out of Philadelphia’s fashion scene. Center City residents Joan Shep and Sophie Carson are among the few remaining.
“We survived COVID, Hurricane Ida, and construction,” Dougherty said. “But this was a hurdle I couldn’t jump over. This was too much.”
Miller is a New York-based fashion designer, but for Philadelphia fashionistas, Dougherty and Miller are one and the same.
Dougherty started as a wholesale retailer selling designer women’s clothing to specialty boutiques across the Mid-Atlantic. She met Miller in the 1980s. Excited by Miller’s rock and feminine sensibility, she signed a licensing deal with Nicole Her Miller Her brand and in 1994 she opened the Manayunk store. The Nicole Miller boutique in Bellevue followed three years later.
Dougherty has spent nearly 30 years bringing New York fashion to Philadelphia. Doherty has dressed countless brides in Nicole Miller dresses. She convinced mayors, governors, elders and divas to wear Nicole Miller, and the presidential inaugural ball. For years, Nicole Miller’s jewel-toned and ruffled gowns have been the go-to for women who attend the Academy of Music’s annual ball and ball Her On The Square.
She inspired spouses for the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, Phillies, and wore Nicole Miller on the Phillies runway. Doherty also worked with Miller to design the Sixers’ cheerleader uniforms.some collection A number of Philadelphia-themed ties have raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities such as Mural Arts, Manna and Philabundance.
Dougherty brought dozens of Philadelphians to New York Fashion Week for Miller’s runway show. She donated her personal archives to Drexel University’s Robert and Penny Fox Historical Costume Collection. In 2019, the university hosted the exhibition “A Philadelphia Store-y: 25 Years of Nicole Miller Philadelphia.”,” See the influence Miller and Dougherty had on the city’s fashion scene. Miller has made dozens of trips to Philadelphia for trunk shows and fundraisers held at Doherty boutiques.
“People try to overlook Philadelphia as if we don’t matter to fashion,” Dougherty said. “We wanted to bring that coolness to Philadelphia fashion in a glamorous and affordable way.”
Faced with rising rents, Doherty closed its Bellevue store in 2019. She owns her Manayunk building and plans to rent it to her Dan business partner Gillian who wants to open her own specialty store under her new name.
Doherty is unsure what her next chapter will be. Perhaps she will teach or help young designers and retailers start their own businesses.Currently she is liquidating her merchandise and everything goes from her 50% to her 75%. It is sold at a % off. She plans to renovate the building and, per the new owner’s orders, removes all evidence that Nicole Miller was once there.