Eighteen months before Neiman Marcus was scheduled to open here at the Shops at Willow Bend, Neiman’s corporate art curator Julie Kronick was poring over architects’ plans for the three retail floors and, with a yellow highlighter, marking...
Eighteen months before Neiman Marcus was scheduled to open here at the Shops at Willow Bend, Neiman’s corporate art curator Julie Kronick was poring over architects’ plans for the three retail floors and, with a yellow highlighter, marking areas where the word "art" appeared on the blueprints.(Collections are permanent, and do not shift or rotate after placement.)
There would be, after hundreds of phone calls and visits to galleries and artists’ studios in the region, 176 pieces prominently displayed throughout the store representing 44 Texas painters and sculptors.
"No matter what area of the country that you go into, you find interesting people doing interesting things,’’ said Kronick, whose background includes a liberal arts degree from the University of Texas and worked at one of the Leo Castelli galleries in Manhattan "The good artists aren’t just in New York and San Francisco."
Unlike the architecture of many Neiman Marcus stores, the artwork has less of an attachment to its surroundings, beyond the fact that locals have produced it.
"The art collection is one collection," said Kronick. "I almost think of it like each store is a microcosm of the whole. Within each store we work with the space provided. When we can, we try to include the local artists, which is what sets each store apart."
One sweltering September morning, Kronick stood in front of one of her favorite acquisitions at the Willow Bend store, a cool, square wall of 27 multi-colored blown glass drops. Kronick worked with Dallas artist Joe Bowman to conceptualize the piece, right down to what colors the drops would be. The installation, which fills an entire 9 x 11 foot wall, separates fine jewelry from women’s shoes.
Bowman’s work, like nearly every other piece of art in the store, was commissioned, though artists have been known to submit their portfolios to Kronick and have pieces purchased from their existing collections.
"Everything that we collect is abstract, or nonrepresentational. Nonrepresentational because it’s not only the art, but the process, the artist behind it," she said.
Often, the art doesn’t seem to have a direct correlation to its environment, as in the case of two pieces in the Willow Bend store: Kevin Tolman’s painted FedEx envelopes, which line a hallway leading to women’s dressing rooms, or the 500-pound Jesus Moroales granite sculpture called "Disc Spiral" on the second floor.Nonetheless, sometimes the art just happens to sync with the department it’s located in.
Also at the Willow Bend store, artist Joseph Havel’s "Collar Sphere," a bronze sculpture of men’s shirt collars has has been placed near a necktie display. "Figure Seated," a sculpture by Frances Bagley, is an oversized abstract of a woman’s figure made from woven reeds and steel, is located in the women’s shoe department behind a tableful of Chanel heels.
In front of Bowman’s wall of glass, entitled, "Glass Garden I," is an interactive video screen that presents a four-minute documentary of Bowman and the glassblowing process.
Customers can also touch a video image of Stanley Marcus’ face to hear his philosophy on the importance of art — a particularly fitting touch as Marcus was an avid art collector who made it a point to try to educate his customers in the only classroom he had available to him: his stores.
In 1939, Marcus borrowed 20 Gauguins from private collectors and commissioned a series of ballgowns based on the colors of his Tahitian series. The clothes sold out and art lovers thronged to Dallas to see the paintings.
As he said in "Quest for the Best," a group of his essays published in 1979, "Most important of all was the fact that thousands who didn’t know anything about Gauguin were exposed to his paintings unwittingly and went away enriched, at no cost."
Though Neiman Marcus does not sell the pieces displayed in its stores, associates are equipped with notebooks with details on each artist in the store, the displayed work, and how a customer can contact the artist for more information.
"It’s about environment and education," said Kronick. "In The Book and Entree magazines, there are pieces about the artists, and that again, is educating the customer that there’s more to that painting on the wall than a pretty picture."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews