JOSEPH CORNELL DESIGNER MANNEQUIN .
Joseph Cornell had an appetite for high and popular culture,
ranging from astronomy and French literature, to music, ballet, opera and cinema. Cornell referenced this in his work in his assemblages and collages. Consequently, I used those luxurious inspirational sources to create a dress form for the Premier Designer department of Neiman Marcus. The dress form itself is a collage of images that portray high culture, including music scores, vintage postage stamps, pages from French books, and other images pertaining to French culture, such as fleur de lis. This is relevant to the Premier Designer department at Neiman Marcus because it speaks to the store’s lavish essence. French culture largely impacts high fashion. This is further projected through the color palette of pastels and neutral tones, which conveys the store’s sense of timelessness. Similarly, the scrapbook/collage-‐like appearance creates a vintage quality that adheres to the store’s appreciation for the classics while still adapting to what is current in fashion. The dress forms are collaged by hand, and then finished with mod podge matte. For the “head” of the dress form, there is a framed image of a subtle collage consisting of a vintage map, a penny, a Champaign glass with ice, a pair of legs, a ballerina, and a branch with a parrot atop and a quote bubble that reads, “Ce n’ est que dans vos rêves,” which means “it is only in your dreams.” This is relevant to the artist because of his signature “shadow boxes,” which were considered to be an escape or fantasy, in
which he often utilized found objects, ballet references, bird motifs, a sense of quirkiness. This is also relevant to Neiman Marcus because it alludes to both the store’s unique heritage and its dash of eccentricity. Stanley Marcus was a master marketer who realized the importance of publicity in promoting the Neiman Marcus brand. It was actually him who thought of selling camels, mummies, blimps, and submarines as “his and hers” Christmas gifts in the legendary Christmas Book. Holding up the dress form is a simple wooden stand that is supported by another type of “shadow box,” which encloses an intricate assemblage of wooden pieces that resemble gears or inner mechanics of a machine. This hints at the inner workings of the Neiman Marcus brand as a whole, and the idea that the foundation is built around the notion of being a company with an unconventional approach to retailing.
JOSEPH CORNELL JUNIOR MANNEQUIN .
While he was an internationally renowned modern artist,
Joseph Cornell was first and foremost, a collector. He used “found objects” from thrift shops and old books stores in his assemblages and collages. Consequently, I referenced the idea of using old items to create a dress form for Neiman Marcus’s junior department—which is referred to as the Contemporary department, and is otherwise known as CUSP (their sister store which also has standalone boutiques).
The dress form itself is encrusted with a collage of vintage
buttons. This relates to the artist’s collage technique as well as Neiman Marcus’s play on fashion materials. The color palette of muted and neutral tones is relevant to the artist and his usage of old objects in an assemblage or collage. Though this vintage color scheme references Neiman Marcus’s sense of timelessness, it is still relevant to the Contemporary department and portrays a sense of youth. This is depicted through the enlarged proportions of the buttons, which allude to a creative and crafty—or perhaps, experimental—quality of adolescence, while still maintaining an essence of sophistication and class.
For the “head” of the dress form, there is a framed image of
a subtle collage consisting of a cosmic setting with a elongated fish, and a colorfully dressed girl with a cone-‐shaped spiral seashell for a hat, a butterfly for a waist belt, and holding an illusionary object involving strings and a geometric and circular seashell, which also features a star and a moon. The dark quality creates a sense of mystery, which relates to the artist’s
personality, and which is relatable to a more youthful customer. Celestial motifs were also common in the artist’s work. This is both relevant to the artist and to Neiman Marcus in that it speaks to their unique and quirky qualities, as well as the idea of creating a fantasy. Fashion, especially at Neiman Marcus, is meant to make you dream. Though eccentric, the collage can still be appreciated by the more youthful, yet still sophisticated, customer through its comical and fantastical composition. Holding up the dress form is a simple wooden stand that is supported by another type of “shadow box,” which encloses an intricate assemblage of wooden pieces that resemble gears or inner mechanics of a machine. This hints at the inner workings of the Neiman Marcus brand as a whole, and the idea that the foundation is built around the notion of being a company with an unconventional approach to retailing.