Friendship Heights Fashion Legend Harriet Kassman Dies at Age 90
Harriet Kassman's boutique closed in 2009, but her bridal salon—Chevy Chase Bridal—is still managed by her son, Nick Kassman, at the Mazza Gallerie.
Harriet Kassman, of Harriet Kassman—the high-fashion Friendship Heights boutique that closed in 2009 after over 30 years of dressing Washington's women for the capital's social scene—passed away on Thursday, Feb. 23, at the age of 90.
Her boutique store, which was located at the Mazza Gallerie (and before that, on Jenifer Street NW) from 1977 until she retired in 2009, was known as the place to go for that very special dress, which Kassman would personally help a customer to select, and which would be custom-fit by one of the store's full-time seamstresses, reported The Washington Post when the store held its final going-out-of-business sale.
Unfortunately, the high-end store could not withstand the recession. But, Kassman's bridal gown salon, which was adjacent to the boutique, was kept open by her son and business manager, Nick Kassman, as Chevy Chase Bridal.
Kassman originally owned a store called Sussman-Kassman with her sisters in Florida. In 1967, she moved to DC and became a buyer first for Claire Dratch, then for Saks Jandel, before opening her own shop in 1977.
"She showed up to work every day—in high heels—for over 30 years, often with her little poodle, Bastien, at her side," Bethesda Magazine reported. "She also frequently traveled to Europe on buying trips to select the designer fashions that filled her shop."
Kassman was born in New York City, and graduated from the University of Georgia.
Services will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 11 a.m. at Joseph Gawler’s Sons (5130 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC).
Donations may be made to The Methodist Home of the District of Columbia (4901 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008), to Vitas Innovative Hospice Care (1200 First St. NE, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20002) and to the American Cancer Society.