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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Honoring the Career of Lilly Pulitzer

LillyPulitzertogether.jpg1. Dress with belt, 1965-1969, cotton, Gift of Sybil Roberts Seay 2001.014.008a-b
2. Caftan, 1970-1979, Gift of Felice Wender 1994.007.004
3. Dress, 1960-1969, cotton, Gift of Margot Siegel 1978.020.005

In honor of fashion maven Lilly Pulitzer, who passed away on April 7, 2013, the Goldstein is celebrating her iconic floral print designs. Pulitzer, born Lillian Lee McKim, lived a privileged life amongst American "royalty." Herself an heiress, she eloped and moved to Florida with Herbert Pulitzer, Jr. in 1952. In 1959, for something to do, she opened a juice stand in Palm Beach. Needing a dress to camouflage juice spills, she had one made in colorful citrus tones. The dresses met with such enthusiastic comments she soon began selling similar designs at the stand. Priced at just $22, these dresses were, according to the New York Times, "accessible to most, but really wearable only by the few who were so rich that they could afford to have bad taste."

While some "Lillys" certainly raise eyebrows (see the gregariously-patterned caftan above), most are charming little sundresses, ideally suited for hot and humid Florida summers. The playful use of floral patterns and innovative textiles paired with simple, clean silhouettes produced a modern look that feels just as fresh today as it did in the 1960s. In fact, the Goldstein's own Communications Assistant, Sharlene Balik, recently had the opportunity to wear a vintage Lilly Pulitzer dress. In keeping with the theme of the Goldstein's fall benefit party - Mad About Design - guests were encouraged to wear 60s-inspired fashions. Of this experience, Sharlene writes:

"Circa Vintage, a boutique that has clothing from the 1900s-1970s, offered Goldstein employees the opportunity to wear their clothing for the night. I went to Circa Vintage and found a Lilly Pulitzer dress that not only fit me perfectly but also the "Mad Men" theme! The dress was covered in a pink-and-green floral pattern and trimmed with lace around the collar. The dress fit me like a glove. I loved the feel and it worked well for all the movement I had to do while helping run the party. Looking back at images from that night I have to say that the dress looked even better on me than it felt. It hugged the right places while disguising the not-so-good places. It was a blast to see everyone in their 1960's attire and I enjoyed fitting right in wearing Lilly Pulitzer."

IMG_0632.JPGMallory Johnson and Eric Lagergren (Volunteers), and Sharlene Balik (GMD's Communication Assistant)

-- Natasha Thoreson and Sharlene Balik

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Goldstein Student Wins Competition and Tour of Target Corp.

HannahBarts_floorpad.overview.jpgI am Hannah Bartz, a sophomore Retail Merchandising major here at the College of Design and staff member of the Goldstein. Last semester I took a Visual Merchandising class and we partnered with Target for the second half of the semester, which included a project competition, where my partner and I received second place. The Visual Merchandising class focused on displaying merchandise once it is in stores to encourage customers to purchase the items. The project for Target involved using software to create a digital version of the Merona brand women's wear sales floor. The problem we faced was an underutilized back wall and we were required to use specific fixtures to hang the merchandise on the sales floor, as well as specific amounts of various merchandise. In addition to meeting the basic requirements, our floor pad included outfitting each fixture with a sign of how to accessorize the garments and we placed feature tables at the front to hold accessories that were highlighted in the signage. We received second place overall, for our design and presentation, which focused on convenience for shoppers. We received a monetary scholarship and the opportunity to tour Target Headquarters on April 3rd.

On Wednesday, April 3rd, my partner and I arrived at Target on Nicollet Mall and were greeted by two Merchandise Presentation Business Analysts who lead us to their department and then took us on a tour of the building, including the top floor to see the view. After viewing all the wonderful amenities Target employees have access to, we proceeded through the skyway to the Target store a block away. We viewed the Business Analysts' areas which included menswear and women's wear and then returned to their offices to see what steps were taken to reach the finished product. This was one of my favorite parts of the day, especially when I learned that Target uses the same software that is used in the Visual Merchandising class. The day ended with a lunch with the rest of the Merchandise Presentations Department for Apparel and Accessories. It was a great chance to speak with the other members of the department and learn about their roles and their favorite reality TV shows. It was a wonderful experience and I am so grateful for Target's partnerships with the University.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mini-Exhibitions in McNeal: Sharing the GMD's Collections with the Campus

While our current gallery exhibition "Redefining, Redesigning Fashion" focuses on loaned objects, a number of works from the GMD's collections are on display in the offices of McNeal Hall. Each year, a series of "mini-exhibitions" are featured in locations throughout the University of Minnesota's design facilities. These exhibitions focus on often-overlooked aspects of the collection.


Design, Housing, and Apparel Administrative Offices, McNeal 240 -- VICTORIAN MOURNING WEAR (left)
When her beloved husband Prince Albert died of typhoid in 1861, England's Queen Victoria entered a 40-year mourning period, unwittingly inspiring an international fashion trend. Black, representing the absence of light and life, was chosen to reflect the mourner's loss. In addition to black dresses, mourners wore black hats, gloves, shoes, handkerchiefs, and jewelry. Though commonly made from jet, such jewelry was also made from locks of the deceased's hair. These morbid fashions were supplied by mourning warehouses - empires built on strict social etiquette and superstitions regarding the bad luck brought by recycling mourning apparel.

College of Design Administrative Offices, McNeal 32 -- SECRET AGENT WOMAN (center)
A Rolex with built-in garrote. A rocket powered cigarette. A dagger-toed shoe.These are among the many gadgets that kept James Bond ranked among the world's deadliest spies. But why should Bond have all the fun? For centuries women have secretly amassed their own collections of gadgets.Tucked away in tiny clutches, these gadgets were designed to both kill and thrill. One never knew what a night on the town might require: a blowtorch inspired lighter, a clandestine notepad, or a pocket knife in the shape of a shoe.

GMD Administrative Offices, McNeal 364 - HERE BY DESIGN (right)
This collection of digitally fabricated letters was featured in the 2007 exhibition, "Here by Design III: Process and Prototype," which explored the effects of digital fabrication on the creative process and design production in Minnesota. This was the third of a three-part exhibition (2001, 2003) highlighting local design ingenuity. A careful look reveals that these letters spell out "Here by Design." Designed by Rob Tickle and Dave Hultman, the letters were created with the latest in design technology at the Minneapolis-based firm, Industrial Art and Design.

-- Natasha Thoreson