College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design


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As anyone who saw The Devil Wears Prada knows, September marks the start of the fashion calendar year. The September issue of Vogue (and Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour, etc.) is traditionally the grandest of the year, chock full of the latest in haute couture. In honor of this month of couture, GMD takes a look at some garments by accomplished self-taught American designer Charles James. From expertly-sculpted coat sleeves to a cocktail dress that nearly stands up on its own, James looked upon his garments as works of art.

Here's a glance at two Charles James garments in the GMD collection.

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The wonderfully detailed little black coat featured above has an elaborate stand-up collar, elegantly folded to create a peek-a-boo diamond cut-out. The coat's swing shape maximizes the fabric's thick body and sheen, making dramatic light catching waves. The sleeves, cut from a single piece of fabric, are expertly sculpted with minimal darting. Initially designed for pioneering Harper Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, the coat was originally made from a brightly colored wool plaid blanket. This formal version, in sleek black satin, provided far less warmth than looks. A bright yellow lining provides an unexpected burst of color.

James broke the rules of the traditional couturier - he often ignored the schedule of seasons and worked out of the US - and was therefore not eligible to be named an official haute couturier by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris.

But he didn't need a French title to develop his innovative couture garment construction techniques and enjoy popularity as a fashion designer. James died in 1978 but has recently been the subject of a much loved exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as a result, his bespoke designs are in the midst of a popularity surge.

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On the surface, this dress seems rather straightforward - a typical 1950s cocktail dress meant to show off a woman's hourglass figure. In fact, this dress is so elaborately constructed, it nearly stands up on its own! James' inclination for complex construction is reflected in the darting and design lines; curved darts are difficult to execute, especially with a fabric as unforgiving as taffeta. And on the bodice construction, the same pattern piece transitions from back to sleeve without a seam line; an expensive and unheard of convention in manufactured garments.



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Designed by Minneapolis-based architect Andrew Schuehle, Meadow Knoll is a sprawling shingle-clad home overlooking the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Schuehle's commitment to showcasing the area's natural beauty is reflected in all aspects of the 1920s-era house. Among the first homes built on the lake, the site was chosen for its rolling fields and sandy beaches. Sitting atop a gently sloping hill, Meadow Knoll echoes its north woods surroundings. With its light grey wooden shingles, expansive windows edged in mossy green, and elaborately carved wooden front door, the home sits unobtrusively amidst the old growth forest.

This is the site of the Goldstein's fifth annual benefit, held this year on September 13. One of the most exciting aspects of the benefit is the opportunity to visit some of Twin Cities' most interesting architectural sites. Past events have been held at locations from International Market Square to Davis-Winton-Nelson House (designed by Phillip Johnson). Despite its idyllic locale, Meadow Knoll is no ordinary lakeside cottage. Built by George F. Piper, president of the Minneapolis/St. Paul stock exchange, the house was a lavish summer resort in the manner of Jay Gatsby's fictional Long Island mansion. Shingle style houses were all the rage in beachside communities such as Newport and Cape Cod, and Piper's goal was to bring a little east coast glamour to his Midwestern lake retreat.

Party-goers might have lounged in cozy wicker chairs, enjoying the conversation and lake view inside an elegant screened porch. Bolder guests may have stood upon the broad stone terrace to drink champagne and breathe in the fresh pine-scented breeze. Others may have dipped their toes in the cool swimming pool or walked barefoot along the sandy beaches, listening to jazz music spilling from the gazebo and the clicking heels of a Charleston dancer strutting her stuff.

Meadow Knoll's current resident, Rosita "Zita" Hofmeister Hawley Wright understands the importance of maintaining the home's historic essence. She has lived here since her late husband John Blackstock Hawley, Jr. purchased the home in 1938. Zita's loving stewardship ensures that the spirit of the roaring 20s lives on in this legendary lake home.

For more information about the benefit, visit: z.umn.edu/lakedesign


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After the Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer exhibition closes this Sunday, June 29, Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall will be closed in order to house part of the GMD collection as exciting improvements are made to our storage facilities.

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In Fall 2012, GMD received a grant to develop a plan to redesign and rehouse the collection storage space that has been occupied by the museum since its inception in 1976. This area houses 13,000 items, including textiles, hats, children's garments, quilts, rugs, men's clothing, and all items of historic apparel made prior to 1940. Some objects in this room are stored in cramped non-archival cabinets made of particle board and plastic laminate, while others are stored in 1920s wood cabinets or in acid-free textile boxes stacked high on top of cabinets. Having ample space for each garment lessens the risk of damage by crushing and/or abrasion from other garments. The re-housing of a portion of these collections will significantly enhance their preservation, and facilitate their use in both classroom teaching and outreach programs.
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This summer (2014) GMD will take on approximately one quarter of the developed plan and renovate this area. From June 30-September 18, 2014, we will be closing Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall to temporarily house the collection.

Visit http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/exhibitions/upcoming/ for information on Alexey Brodovitch: Art Director, opening September 19 in Gallery 241 when the storage project is complete.

Objects in image above (left to right):
Straw Hat (1915-1925), Gift of Helen Ludwig
Cotton Flannel Petticoat (1870-1910), Gift of Mrs. William J. Wirth
Child's Red Cotton Dress, Lanz (1950), Gift of Shannon Murphy Pulver
Quilt (1840-1870), Gift of Mrs. Dwight (Helen) Minnich



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Digitization is a critical answer to the balance between studying museum collection objects and preserving them. Digitized museum collections make it possible to share images of design with students, designers, and researchers - potentially everyone with access to a computer while minimizing handling of objects.

Goldstein Museum of Design (GMD) has photographed over 6,000 objects from its 30,000 item collection, making images available on a searchable database on the museum's website. The grant that funded this work expired this winter. Raising $10,000 by the end of the fiscal year will allow this important project to continue.

Open the collection storeroom doors wide! Give a gift of $100 today. Your donation can help students experience design across time and cultures.

Increasingly, students do most of their research on the web. Faculty members report that in some classes, every student relies on GMD's digitized collections database for their major project. Some students find inspiration for new designs after studying on-line images of collection objects. GMD's collection database has thrown open the doors to the possibilities of innovation and inspiration.

Will you donate to expand this important student resource? Please help us fill the funding gap and continue this important work with a donation.

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Lin Nelson-Mayson
Director
Goldstein Museum of Design

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Visit goldstein.design.umn.edu for more information about the Goldstein Museum of Design and to search the digital collection.



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Thanks to ongoing financial support from people like you, we are able to continue to digitize the GMD's extensive collection of over 30,000 items of apparel, textiles, furniture, decorative arts, and more. The digitization team (fondly known in-house as "Team Digi") makes it possible for you to see the collection online, no matter where you are. This March we have the pleasure of welcoming a brand new photographer, Ellen Skoro, to the team.


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Until it closed last summer, Ellen was a photography instructor and administrator at the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul. With a Masters degree from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a Bachelors degree from Columbus College of Art and Design, Ellen has extensive experience as a freelance photographer. Her personal work, which can be seen at ellenskoro.com, focuses on portraiture. She was recently awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) Artist Initiative grant to finish a six-year portrait project. Her other work has revolved around capturing still lifes of objects, experience that will translate directly to photographing the GMD collection.


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Currently, Team Digi is photographing a variety of textiles from the collection. In order to create the illusion that the pieces are lying flat or magically floating in a void, the team must create an elaborate setup consisting of black panels and fabric-covered bars propped against the wall at just the right angle. Following the same protocol that has been in place for the objects that have been photographed in the past, the team meticulously calibrates the camera and shoots with powerful strobes in soft boxes. Undaunted by the complexity of this challenge, Ellen instead is exhilarated. "This museum is so cool! I'm really excited to be here!" she tells us. We couldn't agree more.


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To date, 6,000 objects (or 20% of the collection) have been photographed and can be viewed online. You can now contribute directly to the continuation of this project. Visit http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/support/sponsor/ to help make our collection accessible anywhere in the world.


Visit http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/ to search the collection.



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by Paula DeGrand

I've been volunteering in the Goldstein Museum of Design Research Center most Tuesday mornings for a year and a half. I recently finished working with a couple thousand donor files. The files I saw each week contain the paperwork – deeds of gift, acknowledgment letters, and inventories of donations – involved in changing the ownership of property. What an interesting way to learn about a collection!

Over the months, I found not only deeds of gift and acknowledgment letters, but yellowed newspaper clippings of wedding announcements, faded portraits of wearers in their finery, fabric swatches, receipts for a suit tailored in Shanghai a century ago and for lingerie from Deco-era Paris. As I worked my way through these files, I couldn't resist seeing whether certain donations had been photographed and were included in GMD's online collection database. When they had, I could count on properly prepared and lighted garments and accessories that had been photographed in beautiful detail. I construct clothes from 1930s, '40s, and '50s patterns and am always excited to find and share documentation of aesthetic choices and technical solutions from those periods. GMD's photographs are simply great ways to see these details.

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The photographs are so inspiring and instructive that when I started my blog, Getting Things Sewn, a year ago, I created a feature, "Backstage at the Goldstein," to showcase garments I'd discovered during this project. Using these photographs, I have brought to my readers' attention curved welt pockets, bound buttonholes, and a whimsical yet sophisticated use of polka dots. Invited to look closely, even my readers who don't sew have responded with surprise, enjoyment, and curiosity.

It puts a smile on my face to remember walking into the Research Center and seeing, close-up, clothing and accessories not only by the best-known designers but also by skilled dressmakers and home sewers whose names are unknown to us today. Thank you, Goldstein staff, for preserving these precious items.


Visit http://gettingthingssewn.com/tag/goldstein-museum-of-design/ to read more about Paula's explorations of the GMD collection and to see the projects it has inspired.



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ElizaPantsTwophotos.jpg Rod Hasse Photography


by Elizabeth Bischoff


I am a sophomore at the U of M, Twin Cities, pursuing an apparel design major as well as a retail merchandising minor. I also have the great fortune to be a part of gallery staff at the Goldstein Museum of Design.

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in Align, the Apparel Design Fashion Show on the 15th of February. The show is meant specifically for the seniors to showcase their work, but sophomores and juniors in the program get to showcase a piece of their own work as well.

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I showcased a pair of pants I designed, patterned and sewed to fit my body. The pants are a palazzo style with a high waist; both the waistband and pocket openings feature a scallop detail. The inspiration came mostly from the need of a pant for the everyday girl to wear to an interview or out and about.

Before I could walk down the runway, however, there was a lot to be done. I first had to get through hair and make up, model for a photo shoot and rehearse my walk down the runway. Rehearsing and performing the walk was, perhaps, the most difficult part of the day. I was told to hold my head high, keep my shoulders back and walk with one foot in front of the other - all the while maintaining a neutral expression. From this, I learned the valuable lesson of poise, which helped me display my work to the best advantage. In addition to learning this great lesson, I got to go through this first-time experience with my classmates and show off my hard work.


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Visit http://fashionshow.design.umn.edu/ for more information about Align.



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This fall, the College of Design's Text and Image class (GDES 3351) was asked to design a graphic identity (the look that unifies all the promotional materials for an event) for the upcoming Goldstein exhibition, "Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer." This was no small task, as every exhibition requires postcards, posters, banners, and text panels that work together to quickly convey its tone and content to the public.


This is not the first time the Goldstein has collaborated with students. Previous exhibitions have featured student work, including "Quest for the World's Best Baskets," "Redefining, Redesigning Fashion," and "Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories."


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The project started in October with a presentation about Vera scarves and the designer responsible for their success, Vera Neumann. The exhibition themes were discussed, helping students gain a sense of what message these postcards and posters need to send. Following the sneak peek, students were provided with images of the Goldstein's Vera scarves - over 200 - and a short list of requirements. Aside from this, they were free to experiment.


verascarvesDEC2013.jpgScarves by Vera Neumann (American, 1907-1993), Goldstein Museum of Design, Gift of David Anger and James Broberg.


Goldstein staff members were asked to attend two formal critiques. During the first session, each student presented three ideas in draft form. The best of the three was selected. Students then developed that design into a final product.


On December 18, 2013, the class presented their final designs. With 25 excellent designs to choose from, Goldstein staff had a difficult decision to make. In the end, a design by Aimee Brouchard was selected. Aimee's playful composition features a large photo of Vera, resplendent in her signature blonde bob hairstyle and thick black glasses, surrounded by flowers designed for her iconic scarves.


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by Natasha Thoreson


Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer will be on display in Gallery 241, McNeal Hall
May 17 - June 29, 2014.
Opening Party: Friday, May 16, 6-8pm



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by Jessica Barness (MFA Design '12, UMN)
Assistant Professor, School of Visual Communication Design
Kent State University


Just over a year ago, the Goldstein Museum of Design's Emigre Magazine Index was launched to communicate and provide online access to the contents of Emigre magazine issues in the GMD collection. As the designer and author of this project, I shared my research at the inaugural 'Design and the Digital Humanities' panel at the Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 national convention, held November 8-10 in Milwaukee, WI. Our panel examined the role of design and digital technologies in humanities research, and my work was joined by other presentations on data visualization, design education and video poetry.

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An important part of graphic design authorship history, Emigre magazine was published from 1984-2005. Its first issues coincide with the early use of MacIntosh computers by graphic designers, and parallels were noted between this and the exploration of digital technologies by designers today.


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In the panel discussion I talked about my design process, in which a sketchbook and spreadsheet evolved into a complex website that highlights how form and content are intertwined in Emigre magazine. On the website, colors, typefaces, organizational structure and the many ways the reader can interact with the content are deliberately designed to affect understanding.


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Additionally, attendees were introduced to the magazine's size, theme, and format changes, as well as my decisions on how hundreds of authors and contributions were included, ranging from writing, type design and interviews to graphic layouts, sound/video and guest edited issues. In a broad way, this process could be brought into museum collections or other digital humanities projects to create communicative, alternative research tools.


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The Emigre Magazine Index is accessible to the public at
http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/collection/emigre/index.html


Funding for this project was provided by the Goldstein Museum of Design's
Jerome Joss Graduate Internship.



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The History and Future of Product Design


In a new course being offered at the University of Minnesota this spring, "The History and Future of Product Design" (PDes 3170), students from diverse majors across the University will spend the semester examining the key movements, figures, philosophies and technologies that have advanced the field of industrial/product design, and investigating how this historical foundation continues to inform and inspire the designers of today and tomorrow.


mies_brno_chair_starck_alessi_drskud.jpg left: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich "Brno" chair (c. 1929-30) right: Philippe Starck for Alessi "Dr. Skud" fly swatter (1998)


Students will have opportunities throughout the semester to work hands-on with objects from the museum's collection and to explore firsthand the evolution of technology and the application of new materials and processes to everyday consumer goods. Students will then apply their understanding of these factors to forecast future trends and continuing developments in the fields of industrial and product design.


zeisel_tea_service.jpg Eva Zeisel for Castleton China "Museum White" tea service (1943)


Design graduate student Curt Lund, whose own research focus is on design history and collection, will be leading the class in activities that engage the meaning-making process of design history and underline the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across the discipline. "At the heart of this curriculum is a critical exploration of design and an understanding of what designed objects and environments can mean to consumers and their quality of life," Lund said. "The Goldstein is a perfect partner in this effort, as these ideas are also fundamental to the museum's own mission and vision."


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In the second semester of a year-long collaboration with the Goldstein Museum of Design, the "Goldstein Museum App" course (JOUR 4991/ ArtH 3940) will create content (text, video, photography, audio) for an iPad application that will allow the public to explore the museum's collection in a new and dynamic way. As students plan the app, they will focus on creating an intuitive user experience with multiple levels of interaction and engagement.


Taught by Camille LeFevre (arts journalist, college instructor, and editor of The Line), the course will allow students from departments across the University to collaborate. They will bring diverse skill sets including graphic design, video and audio shooting and production, art-historical research, writing and journalism, photography, UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) and interactive/immersive online/mobile environments, and app development to the process. Through feedback from the GMD staff throughout the semester, an app will be designed that will make the museum's collection accessible to a whole new audience.


Both courses are still open for registration. Sign up today!



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