Designer unknown, men’s coat of velvet with embroidery
(1760–1780), gift of the Estate of Scott Gentling,
photo by Elizabeth Lanvin, D Magazine.
The Texas Fashion Collection, part of the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, is dedicated to the preservation and documentation of historic dress from the 19th century, along with 20th-century examples of haute couture, high fashion and ready-to-wear by notable American and international designers.
Stanley and Edward Marcus, then-owners of Neiman Marcus, a luxury department store opened in 1907 founded by Carrie Marcus Neiman, Herbert Marcus, Abraham Lincoln Neiman, were the figures who originally conceived of a fashion collection. Highlighting the role of the United States in fashion, they created the Neiman Marcus Award in 1938 to recognize national and international talents in all areas of fashion and design. This award recognized figures for their “Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion,” and many award-winning designers are represented in the TFC, including Christian Dior, Chanel, and Oscar de la Renta.
In the 1960s, Dallas Fashion Group members began collecting and exhibiting historic garments at the Apparel Mart. In 1969, the Dallas Museum of Fashion was officially combined with the original Neiman Marcus Collection. The shared goals of preservation and education led to the move to the University of North Texas, where it has been housed since 1972. Renamed the Texas Fashion Collection in 1989, the TFC is one of the most significant fashion archives in the U.S.
The TFC has been featured in exhibitions at the Kimbell Art Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Meadows Museum, Fashion on Main, the UNT Art Galleries, and the Greater Denton Arts Council. TFC artifacts have been loaned to the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, the George W. Bush Presidential Library, the de Young Museum, the Museum at FIT, and the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The TFC holdings of nearly 20,000 objects of dress and accessories are an educational resource for students, researchers, and the general public. More than 2,000 individual items have been photographed and documented in the UNT Digital Library. Creating a comprehensive record of the TFC holdings is an ongoing project and will continue to develop through strategic partnerships and as funding and staffing allow.
For more information about the TFC or to make a gift in support of new acquisitions and the TFC Digital Archives Project, please contact TFC staff at 940-565-2732.