While our current gallery exhibition "Redefining, Redesigning Fashion" focuses on loaned objects, a number of works from the GMD's collections are on display in the offices of McNeal Hall. Each year, a series of "mini-exhibitions" are featured in locations throughout the University of Minnesota's design facilities. These exhibitions focus on often-overlooked aspects of the collection.
Design, Housing, and Apparel Administrative Offices, McNeal 240 -- VICTORIAN MOURNING WEAR (left)
When her beloved husband Prince Albert died of typhoid in 1861, England's Queen Victoria entered a 40-year mourning period, unwittingly inspiring an international fashion trend. Black, representing the absence of light and life, was chosen to reflect the mourner's loss. In addition to black dresses, mourners wore black hats, gloves, shoes, handkerchiefs, and jewelry. Though commonly made from jet, such jewelry was also made from locks of the deceased's hair. These morbid fashions were supplied by mourning warehouses - empires built on strict social etiquette and superstitions regarding the bad luck brought by recycling mourning apparel.
College of Design Administrative Offices, McNeal 32 -- SECRET AGENT WOMAN (center)
A Rolex with built-in garrote. A rocket powered cigarette. A dagger-toed shoe.These are among the many gadgets that kept James Bond ranked among the world's deadliest spies. But why should Bond have all the fun? For centuries women have secretly amassed their own collections of gadgets.Tucked away in tiny clutches, these gadgets were designed to both kill and thrill. One never knew what a night on the town might require: a blowtorch inspired lighter, a clandestine notepad, or a pocket knife in the shape of a shoe.
GMD Administrative Offices, McNeal 364 - HERE BY DESIGN (right)
This collection of digitally fabricated letters was featured in the 2007 exhibition, "Here by Design III: Process and Prototype," which explored the effects of digital fabrication on the creative process and design production in Minnesota. This was the third of a three-part exhibition (2001, 2003) highlighting local design ingenuity. A careful look reveals that these letters spell out "Here by Design." Designed by Rob Tickle and Dave Hultman, the letters were created with the latest in design technology at the Minneapolis-based firm, Industrial Art and Design.
-- Natasha Thoreson