Look For The Union Label

My general study of LBJ and the specific study of Luci Baines Johnson’s White House wedding in 1966 is an on-going thing. Wait till you see the treasure that eBay churned up today. There’s nothing new under the sun!

For sale is a photo of the sitting president and president emeritus of the AFL-CIO ILGWU at a press conference announcing resolution to the union-instigated “crisis” surrounding the production of Luci Baines Johnson’s bridesmaids’ gown. This news clipping is pasted onto the back of it. The ILGWU committed suicide by self-strangulation and took the American dress business down with it.


Luci’s getting married

LBJ reaches out to old pal and campaign contributor Stanley Marcus, president of Neiman-Marcus

Marcus taps his pal Priscilla of Boston to design gowns for Luci and the bridal party because who wouldn’t? Priscilla remains the unsurpassed rock-star of bridal design even after she was strangled to death by David’s Bridal.

Situation! Priscilla of Boston was producing 2,000 dresses a month in a non-union shop.

Money quote: When Louis Stulberg and David Dubinsky, president and president-emeritus, respectively, of the ALF-CIO International Ladies Garment Workers Union learned that non-union Priscilla of Boston  was to design and make the dresses, they got in touch with their friend Mr. Johnson. And we all know what happens when the union puts the touch on you.

Priscilla took a look, recognized big trouble and tried to get out of the whole thing.

In the end everyone was happy, with the possible exception of the non-union seamstresses who had the work taken  right out from under them. The Priscilla designs were made by 150 union seamstresses, a union label was sewn into the gowns, there was some plummy unionized factory overtime and the bosses got to hold a press conference to announce the union triumph over independent self-actualizers.

Bridesmaids in Pink Gowns and Headdresses at Luci Baines Johnson / Patrick Nugent Wedding. This poster can be yours for $99.00 from allposters.com

This is the kind of history that I love. The kind that involves watered silk and a five miles of hot pink tulle.


13 thoughts on “Look For The Union Label

  1. The pink matter streaming from their craniums is a subtle nod to the JFK conspirators that their efforts made this the lavish spectacle that it was.

  2. Did they sing “Look For The Union Label” at the wedding? I don’t remember hearing about it but it would have been appropriate. I think Luci Baines is married to someone else now.

  3. This was such a TACKY wedding… LBJ’s ego was so BIG, as as they say ” everything is BIGGER in Texas .. so this Texan tradition was right at home at this wedding. Anything to compete with the Kennedys . Or, out do the Kennedys. Maybe that is why Luci changed her name from ” Lucy” to ” Luci ” as “Lucy” was just too ordinary for her, and then became a ‘ Catholic ” to be like the Kennedys. I hear that Luci is still is still keeping up the tradition… and keeping her Dad’s legacy alive.

  4. I shouldn’t even be commenting because I can’t remember the whole story, but a long time ago I read about LBJ having a tailor coming to the Oval Office to measure him for new suits and the part I wanted to pass along was that he also asked the tailor to measure his ‘junk’ to be sure it would fit in the pants. He was a disgusting, overblown jerk.

  5. LBJ seems to have been so crude!!! Makes me wonder if all the things Madeline Duncan Brown ( who was his long time ” Mistress ” ) said in her book ” Texas in the morning ” about his crude vocabulary after sex etc .. Maybe, it was true…

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