UNT's Fashion on Main takes flight in downtown Dallas

Coral pant suit
Texas Fashion Collection
White daisy dress
Texas Fashion Collection
Friday, August 4, 2006

What: The University of North Texas System and the UNT School of Visual Arts will open Fashion on Main, an exhibition space at Universities Center at Dallas, with a premiere exhibition called Flights of Fancy. The exhibition will feature exotic 20th-century designer fashions from national and international designers, including Oscar de la Renta and Hubert Givenchy.

Fashion on Main is a new exhibition space dedicated to showcasing selected items from UNT's prestigious Texas Fashion Collection.

When: Invitation-only ribbon cutting (open to media): 5:30 p.m. Sept. 21 (Thursday).

Public opening: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22 (Friday).

Regular hours of operation: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays; closed Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

Where: Universities Center, 1901 Main St. in downtown Dallas

Cost: Admission is free

Contact: Myra Walker, curator and director of the Texas Fashion Collection, at (940) 565-2732 or walker@unt.edu

The University of North Texas System and the UNT School of Visual Arts will open Fashion on Main, a downtown Dallas exhibition space for UNT's historic Texas Fashion Collection, with a fanciful exhibit featuring exotic garments from Hubert Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta and other renowned designers.

Dallas Mayor Laura Miller will join UNT Chancellor Lee Jackson and UNT School of Visual Arts Dean Robert Milnes in an invitation-only ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 21 (Thursday) at Universities Center at Dallas, 1901 Main St. (Media are welcome to attend.) Fashion on Main will open to the public Sept. 22 (Friday) with an exhibition titled Flights of Fancy, featuring 20 feathered ensembles from the Texas Fashion Collection.

Fashion on Main is also made possible by The Fashionistas, a nonprofit group founded by Heidi Dillon of Dallas. The Fashionistas provided funding for the transformation from a meeting room to a gallery, which includes platforms, lighting and design.

"Fashion, like art, defines who we are. It edifies us and delights our senses, keeps us warm and enables us to express our individuality," Dillon said. "The Fashionistas have dedicated themselves to bringing this important collection to downtown Dallas. For the past year we have been raising funds to make this dream a reality."

Fashion on Main will be the first permanent exhibition space dedicated solely to the collection, which was started by Stanley and Edward Marcus in 1938 and has since grown to more than 15,000 historic items. The Texas Fashion Collection will remain housed in the 4,500-square-foot climate-controlled room in Scoular Hall on the UNT campus. But garments will be displayed on a rotating basis at Fashion on Main in Universities Center, which is a former Joske's department store that now provides office and classroom space for seven higher education institutions, including UNT.  The Fashion on Main exhibition space will initially be about 500 square feet, later expanding to 1,000 square feet.

"There is no way this exhibition would have opened on time without the assistance from the Fashionistas. We are very grateful to Heidi Dillon for her unwavering support," said Myra Walker, director and curator of the Texas Fashion Collection since 1987. "We want to be able to show these wonderful treasures where people can pop in for a short visit and see the exhibition on their lunch hour. People will be able to experience the Texas Fashion Collection right in the heart of downtown Dallas near many other museums, without having to drive to Denton."

Designers in the Flights of Fancy exhibit are: Roberto Cavalli, Victor Costa, Oscar de la Renta, Louise Gartner, Hubert Givenchy, Mary McFadden, Pauline Trigére, Helen Rose and Ferdinando Sarmi and Jane Ventura. Angie Barrett of Dallas donated the stunning centerpiece of the exhibition  -- a beaded and feathered evening gown designed by Cavalli.

One of the highlights is an evening dress of black ostrich feathers and sequins designed by Louise Gartner, a Dallas resident and one of the founders of Page Boy Maternity.

The exhibit was inspired by a 1998 gift to the Texas Fashion Collection from Jane Ventura, a former Dallasite and current Florida resident who donated more than 25 custom-made feathered dresses that she designed and sewed herself. The exhibit includes eight of her ensembles from the 1960s and 1970s.

"The opening of Fashion on Main is a very exciting event for UNT, the UCD and the Dallas/Fort Worth community," said Milnes, the UNT School of Visual Arts dean. "It is wonderful that the historic department store, now an educational center, is able to blend the glamour and style synonymous with Dallas with the educational excellence so characteristic of UNT. We are so grateful to the chancellor and provost for their support, and to the donors to the Texas Fashion Collection for their ongoing interest and dedication, which is making this first step on the path toward a great new center possible."

About the Texas Fashion Collection

The collection began in 1938 when Stanley and Edward Marcus preserved examples of top designers' works in honor of their aunt Carrie Marcus Neiman, a co-founder of the Neiman Marcus store. The Carrie Marcus Neiman Foundation maintained the collection after her death in 1953, and the Dallas Fashion Group took over in the 1960s at the Apparel Mart. The collection, then known as the Dallas Museum of Fashion, came to the UNT campus in 1972 and was later renamed the Texas Fashion Collection. It has grown from 3,000 items to more than 15,000 historic items today.

For more information, contact Walker at (940) 565-2732 or walker@unt.edu or visit www.art.unt.edu/tfc.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108