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Alvin Colt Design Drawings, Photographs, and Other Materials for Neiman Marcus Fortnights

[Floor Display Design Sketch for Australian Fortnight], 1986

Elevators

Main Elevators,
1972 Danish Fortnight

British Tea Room, 1967 Fortnight

Tea Room,
1967 British Fortnight

Elephant flower sculpture

Elephant flower sculpture,
1969 East Meets West Fortnight

Man's Shop, 1972 French Fortnight

Man's Shop,
1972 French Fortnight

David Hicks, Mary

David Hicks, Billie Marcus,
and Sir Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.,
1973 British Fortnight

Floor display, Odyssey Fortnight

Floor display,
1982 Odyssey Fortnight

Ruritania map.

Map placemat,
1970 Ruritania Fortnight

About the Collection

Holding library: DeGolyer Library

View more collections held by DeGolyer Library.

The Alvin Colt Collection is held by the DeGolyer Library. and consists of hundreds of materials related to the annual Neiman Marcus Fortnights. From 1963 to 1986, Colt designed the Neiman Marcus store Fortnight celebrations in Dallas, Texas. Each Fortnight had a different country theme. The Colt Fortnight collection includes original working drawings, sketches, floor plans, design elevations, blueprints, posters and photographic prints, correspondence from Stanley Marcus to Alvin Colt, and clippings relating to the Neiman Marcus department store's annual Fortnight event.

Alvin Colt was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1915. Foreshadowing his future career interest, as a child he built a theater in the attic of his family home. Colt attended Yale’s department of drama (1934-37); he worked in summer theater and moved to New York City.  He began work in theater costume design in New York in the late 1930s and for what became the New York City Ballet. His Broadway debut was with On the Town in 1944.  Colt designed costumes for the hit Guys & Dolls in 1950, and in 1957 received a Tony award for Costume Design for Pipe Dream. Over the years, Colt designed costumes for more than 80 Broadway shows, television and movies.

Starting in the 1960s, Colt designed the installations for the annual Fortnight extravaganzas at the downtown Neiman Marcus store in Dallas. Fortnights were splashy cultural, social, historical, fine art, culinary and fashion celebrations that greatly broadened the horizons of north Texans at the time. They were attended by such dignitaries as ambassadors from Denmark and Thailand, the Queen of Thailand, Prince Ranier and Grace Kelly, such movie stars as Sophia Loren, and artist Francoise Gilot to name a few. Planning and construction took thousands of miles of travel in two years and hundreds of people to produce. Neiman Marcus Fortnights were a brilliant blending of the commercial, theatrical and cultural.

The Alvin Colt Design Drawings, Photographs, and Other Materials for Neiman Marcus Fortnights digital collection consists of a sampling of the more than 2000 photographs, drawings, and other materials from the years 1958 through 2001 from the physical collection, housed at DeGolyer Library.

A finding aid for the full Colt collection can be found here.

See more items related to the Neiman Marcus Fortnight events in the Stanley Marcus Papers collection, and learn more about Dallas and Texas in these other collections from DeGolyer Library:

Items in SMU Libraries Digital collections are digitized following the nCDS Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the nCDS Filenaming, Workflow, and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.

Copyright usage terms vary throughout the collection. Each item contains information about usage terms. If SMU does not have the right to publish the item on the Internet, only the item's metadata will be available and the digitized object will be available on a restricted access basis. Such items may only be viewed on campus. When items are available for use, please cite DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. A high-quality version of these files may be obtained for a fee by contacting degolyer@smu.edu.

For more information about the collection, please contact degolyer@smu.edu.