On the way to church, walking down Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota, a friend remarks on our daughter wearing a white smocked dress. She reminds him of his sister, wearing Best & Co. and later shopping at DePinna with his mother. DePinna?
What happened to DePinna?
Lisa Birnbach in her Official Preppy Handbook featured four “R.I.P” retailers in her book – Abercrombie & Fitch, Best & Co., Peck and Peck and DePinna. Since the book, three have returned. Abercrombie is everywhere making teens look slutty; Best’s is a boutique catalog and store and Peck & Peck is a store brand at Stein Mart.
Time magazine posted an archive letter to the editor from 1927. The letter was written by and about a prep school student named Denny, who thought that a DePinna ad listing some of the “top” prep schools did not list his. It gives a sense of the social importance of DePinna:
“And how many fellows at Exeter, Andover, Mercersburg and Lawrenceville ever bought a suit at De Pinna’s? But there are other leading schools; where the fellows dress just as well as any clothes from De Pinna’s. How would De Pinna’s like it if I put an advertisement calling Brooks and Rogers Peet the “leading clothing stores” in New York?
What was it about De Pinna?
- The company was founded by and as A. De Pinna Company, and had early space at 650 Fifth Avenue.
- His son Leo S. De Pinna, of 375 Park Avenue, ran the company after him.
- In 1938, Leo S. De Pinna’s daughter, Miss Constance Vivian De Pinna married Emerson Muschamp Bainbridge of Gledfield, Ardgay Rossshire, Scotland.
- In 1941, they opened a “Doll House Salon.” The company also made military officer hats for the U.S. Army.
- In 1950, the company was purchased by the beloved Washington, D.C. department store Julius Garfinckel Co., Inc. De Pinna was also a sister company to Brooks Brothers (and later Richmond’s Miller & Rhoads.)
- In 1953, De Pinna and an unrelated retailer Gunther Jaeckel, Inc. began to close Thursday nights, which was a retailing tradition.
- In 1957, the company’s president, John T. Fielder, announced a store in Westchester County on White Plains Road.
- In in 1966, the Minskoff real estate family purchased the De Pinna Building.
- The A. DePinna Company announced the closing of its three stores in April of 1969; its store at Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street was, in the 1970s, torn down for a skyscraper, apparently by “Iranians.”