Stanley Marcus’s Western Suit
Neiman Marcus CEO brings high fashion to Texas
From the wardrobe of Stanley Marcus, the guiding force behind Dallas-based department store Neiman Marcus from 1935 to 1975, this suit illustrates his deep connection with Texas. Marcus originally purchased it to wear at a Texas-themed fashion show celebrating the 1936 Texas Centennial. He also sported it when entertaining international guests at his brother’s Angus cattle ranch. While typical of Western-style suits in cut and embellishments, the chain-stitched butterflies recall Neiman Marcus’s logo.
Neiman Marcus created important bridges between Texas and international audiences, promoting Texan culture to the outside world and bringing food, art, and fashion from around the globe to Dallasites. The Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion — “The Oscar of Fashion” — played a large role in bringing international designers to Texas. When the designers came to Dallas to accept the award, they often left Texas with colorful stories of their trips.
While every visitor received Southern hospitality, Marcus threw a western-themed party for designer Jacques Fath in 1948 and again in 1957 for Coco Chanel. Square dancing and barbeque made such an impression on Fath that he recreated the event in France, where Marcus and a Texan square dance caller were in attendance. Chanel found the food less impressive during her visit. According to Marcus, “It turned out she didn’t like the taste of barbecued meat and the highly seasoned beans, so she dumped her plate surreptitiously under the table. Unfortunately, the contents hit the satin slippers of Elizabeth Arden.” Chanel was much more taken by the “bovine fashion show” with cows adorned in pearl necklaces and headdresses in the latest fashion colors.
Courtesy Texas Fashion Collection, College of Visual Arts & Design, University of North Texas
Clothing and Accessories
Time Period: 1937 - 1945
Exhibit: Fashion Forward
This artifact is currently on view.