Local fashionistas came recently to The Tradition-Prestonwood looking for stories about beautiful clothes and the women who wore them – and they were not disappointed. Myra Walker, Director of the Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas, gave a fascinating presentation about the collection, casting up on a screen numerous images of couture creations owned by Texas women.
“Fashion tells a great story and is part of our social history,” said Professor Walker, who also teaches Fashion at UNT.
This story began in 1938, she said, when the Fashion Collection was first assembled by Stanley and Edward Marcus (of Neiman Marcus), in honor of their aunt, Carrie Marcus Neiman. The collection grew and finally found a home at UNT in 1972. “What started then as a collection of 3,000 garments has grown today to 20,000!”
"Fashion tells a great story and is part of
our social history."
Great designers’ names rolled off her tongue – Balenciaga, Norell, Dior, Galanos – many of whom have had their own exhibitions at Fashion on Main, a Texas Fashion Collection museum space downtown that is currently under construction.
“I like to do collections that have a connection with Texas,” said Professor Walker, presenting couture designs that were owned and worn by several fascinating women from the Lone Star State. In the 1940s, Claudia Heard married Rafael de Osborne from Spain and bought numerous Balenciagas. “She enjoyed making an entrance,” said Professor Walker, showing a creation in black trimmed with ermine.
“I like to do collections that have a connection with Texas.”
Her fashion competition was Bert de Winter, a buyer at Neiman Marcus. De Winter’s taste was also Balenciaga, and her clothes contributed at least half of the designs at the acclaimed 2006 Balenciaga exhibition at the Meadows Museum of Art, curated by Professor Walker.
First Lady Laura Bush’s stunning second inaugural gown by Oscar de la Renta (a student of Balenciaga’s) was part of that exhibit.
The Professor took questions, one about the legendary Diana Vreeland, who was working with the Metropolitan Art Museum Fashion Institute when Myra Walker was there as a graduate intern. A voracious student of culture, Mrs. Vreeland would gather employees around her in the afternoon and say, “Now tell me what’s going on!”
DON’T MISS THIS UPCOMING EXHIBITION:
The Joy Losee Collection: Art and Dress Along the Silk Road
January 15 – February 9, 2013 at the UNT Art Gallery
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