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Neiman’s 100th: The Celebrations

From goat dressing to elegant gowns, Neiman Marcus will celebrate its 100th anniversary here this week with Texas-size parties reflecting the luxury retailer's roots and style.

DALLAS — From goat dressing to elegant gowns, Neiman Marcus will celebrate its 100th anniversary here this week with Texas-size parties reflecting the luxury retailer’s roots and style.

Guests will be able to have their pictures taken with, yes, a dressed goat, as well as roam the downtown flagship where one-of-a-kind merchandise such as a $150,000 Buccellati diamond-encrusted cuff featuring Neiman’s signature butterfly motif will be on sale.

The events kick off on Thursday with a party for 900 industry executives and designers from around the world at the Cotton Bowl stadium, which is surrounded this time of year by the downhome frenzy of the State Fair of Texas.

“Our visitors and guests will stroll the midway and fair,” said Burt Tansky, Neiman Marcus Group’s president and chief executive officer. “Many of them have never been to a fair — especially the Europeans, and they’re excited.”

Huge, colorful and loud, the fair has been a Texas tradition for 121 years. In the barns, youthful ranchers in Wranglers and crisp Western shirts painstakingly groom livestock for competitions. Air horns blare along a midway churning with rides and games.

Fair Park’s Art Deco buildings are filled with exhibits, and the Hall of State commemorates Neiman’s Fortnight — promotional events focused on the culture and products of an individual country that were staged by Neiman’s from the Fifties through the early Seventies in displays of photos, posters and letters.

Neiman’s guests, including Michael Kors; David and Sybil Yurman; Nancy Gonzalez and Taryn Rose; Frederic de Narp, president and ceo of Cartier North America, and Yves Carcelle, ceo of Louis Vuitton, will meet in a tent on the Cotton Bowl grass for barbecue, peach cobbler and the fair’s popular corny dog — a hot dog on a stick dipped in cornmeal batter and deep fried to a crisp.

Singer and composer Chris Isaak will provide the entertainment for vendors.

The style will be considerably more formal Friday night at the black-tie celebration in Neiman’s flagship, which Hilary Swank is expected to attend. With 1,800 tickets sold out at $500 apiece, the event is expected to raise more than $500,000 for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, which is under construction a few blocks from the store, said Jeanne Marie Clossey, chairman of the event.

This story first appeared in the October 10, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The gala kicks off a centennial exhibit that will remain on view at the flagship through Nov. 3. Installations are set to include singular fashions by top designers, furniture, artwork and a “Future Tree” where visitors can write a wish for the future on butterfly-shaped, wildflower-imprinted paper to be posted daily to a hand-sculpted metal tree.

The flagship is highlighting 150 exclusive items created for the 100th anniversary, such as a numbered pink crocodile Prada handbag for $8,990. Neiman’s is also promoting exclusive anniversary merchandise in all 39 full-line stores, the catalogues and the Web site.

At both the vendor and black-tie events, Neiman’s will screen a 25-minute video that features Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna, among others, commenting on the retailer’s position in retail and fashion.

“The activities and excitement about our anniversary will allow a great many people to visit our stores in Dallas and around the country,” Tansky said.