A Legacy of Fashion and Design
Clarissa Boutique was founded in 1950, but the fashion and design legacy began years before when boutique founder Mary J. Narcisi trained at the world famous Fashion Academy in New York, a prestigious school of design and illustration. In turn, Mary founded her own institution here in Pittsburgh — Clarissa School of Fashion and Design — where she developed and led student curriculums that covered sewing techniques, pattern making, fashion designing, analysis of line and proportion, and fabrics and style trends. Over the years, the Clarissa School became so well known for professional dressmaking and fashion design, that Mary’s expertise was highly sought after. During her fashion career, she appeared regularly for in-person and televised speaking engagements, lectures, judging panels, fashion shows and more.
The 1950s were an era when a woman’s role was to stay at home and dutifully manage the household and family. Mary lovingly embraced her role as wife and mother – but not at the expense of her own personal interests and talents. Whether it was gardening, cooking, or designing her own clothes – Mary lived life to the fullest and was true to both her family and herself.
Mary’s passion for life and skill for design and workmanship was passed down to her daughters, who are the current owners of Clarissa Boutique: Penny, Gretchen, and Earldine. Following in Mary’s footsteps, the sisters feel blessed with the opportunity to carry on their mother’s legacy. With a loyal dedication to their mother and the shop, the sisters instill love and nostalgia into the business and customer base. Clarissa Boutique, which means so much to both the Narcisi family and the Pittsburgh community, offers their clientele authentic personal attention, trust, and intimacy that you can’t find in big box stores.
From generation to generation, the accomplishments of the business have been attributed to training, creativity, skill, and superior service. But at its core, the foundation of Clarissa Boutique is built on family values. Today, the family serves clients with devoted dedication that has reciprocated and grown for more than half a century.