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Fashion / Shopping

The Real History of a Groundbreaking Dallas Shopping Center

Fifty Years of Fashion

BY // 10.19.15

CONCEIVED BY RAYMOND AND PATSY NASHER AS A PLACE OF RETAIL EXCELLENCE AND CULTURAL EXCHANGE, NORTHPARK CENTER THRIVED FROM 1965 TO 1995 UNDER THEIR GUIDANCE. OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS, DAUGHTER NANCY A. NASHER AND HER HUSBAND, DAVID J. HAEMISEGGER, HAVE PROPELLED NORTHPARK INTO ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S TOP FIVE LUXURY SHOPPING DESTINATIONS, A PLACE WHERE FASHION AND ART COALESCE. WE TAKE A LOOK AT 50 FASHIONABLE YEARS.

1963
Pre-NorthPark, the land five miles north of downtown Dallas is an expansive 97 acres of cotton fields leased to real-estate developer Raymond Nasher by the Hillcrest Foundation set up by the Caruth family. NorthPark’s architect is E.G. Hamilton, co-founder of the firm Omniplan; Hamilton receives a Lifetime of Achievement award from the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 2013.

1965
On August 18, the day before the official opening of NorthPark, Raymond and his wife, Patsy Nasher — wearing a Geoffrey Beene gown — celebrate with Mr. and Mrs. Morton Heller (Morton Heller was Raymond’s roommate at Duke University) and Mr. Howard Neilson. At the time, NorthPark was the world’s largest climate-controlled retail establishment.

Titche-Goettinger, one of NorthPark’s four original anchor stores (the others were Neiman Marcus, Woolworths and JC Penney), opens July 22. On hand to celebrate is the store’s president, Lee Starr. The space now houses Dillard’s but still features the mechanized 28-by-32-foot, two-ton door.

Neiman Marcus NorthPark, designed by Kevin Roche of Eero Saarinen and Associates with input from John Dinkeloo, opens on July 22. NorthPark Center, designed by architect E.G. Hamilton of Harrell & Hamilton (later Omniplan), opens on August 19.

1966
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performs for the first time at NorthPark with conductor Donald Johanos.

Holiday Gifting

  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Wayne Smith
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Elaine Turner - GiGi Flats
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Asher Gallery
  • Wayne Smith
  • Cotton Club
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Cotton Club
  • Elaine Turner - Felicia Stole in Magenta
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss

1967
A NorthPark multimedia event, which traveled the country and was organized by JC Penney, introduces the fashion of British designer Mary Quant with a promotional poster designed by artist and illustrator Peter Max.

1969
NorthPark Gold, the center’s own shiny currency, is first introduced. Today, coins can be purchased in values of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

Early ’70s
Eiseman Jewels, one of NorthPark’s only remaining original tenants, has a countertop inside Titche-Goettinger (seen here) and later Frost Bros., before it moves into its own space in 1990.

Richard (Dick) Eiseman with the ladies of the Dallas Civic Opera, early 1970s
Richard (Dick) Eiseman with the ladies of the Dallas Civic Opera, early 1970s

1978
Raymond and Patsy Nasher stand with sculptor Henry Moore outside NorthPark National Bank (now Comerica Bank) with his Working Model for Three Piece No. 3: Vertebrae, 1968. The sculpture — now on view at the Nasher Sculpture Center — was the prototype for Moore’s The Dallas Piece, 1978, which currently sits outside Dallas City Hall.

1985
In celebration of NorthPark’s 20th anniversary, Raymond and Patsy Nasher install new art for a center-wide exhibition featuring 21 pieces, including Andy Warhol’s Ads, 1984; Barry Flanagan’s Large Leaping Hare, 1982; John Chamberlain’s Zaar, 1959; Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Angles, 1979; Roy Lichtenstein’s Double Glass, 1980; and Jonathan Borofsky’s Hammering Man, 1984 – 1985.

1987
Elizabeth Taylor makes a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus NorthPark to promote her Passion fragrance.

1988
Patsy Nasher, a longtime art collector who was instrumental in the creation of NorthPark, passes away in July.

Early ’90s
Supermodel Linda Evangelista stars as the face of a NorthPark advertising campaign, appearing in ads, on billboards and in the shopping center’s directory.

1995
Raymond Nasher sells his stake in NorthPark Center to his daughter, Nancy A. Nasher, and her husband, David J. Haemisegger, and begins investing $70 million to build the 55,000-square-foot Nasher Sculpture Center in 1995 downtown Dallas. Raymond and his late wife began their art collection in the early 1950s, eventually acquiring sculptures such as Jean Arp’s Torso with Buds, 1961, and Barbara Hepworth’s Squares with Two Circles, (Monolith), 1963, both currently on view at the sculpture center.

1999
Farrah Fawcett films a scene outside Tiffany & Co. at NorthPark for Dr. T and the Women on November 20. The rom-com also features Richard Gere, Helen Hunt and Laura Dern.

The Trains at NorthPark holiday exhibit debuts and continues to draw thousands of nostalgic visitors.

Farrah Fawcett on set outside Tiffany & Co., filming a scene for Dr.T and the Women, 1999
Farrah Fawcett on set outside Tiffany & Co., filming a scene for Dr. T and the Women, 1999

2003
The Nasher Sculpture Center opens on October 20. Located in the Dallas Arts District, the center is designed by architect Renzo Piano and landscape architect Peter Walker and houses one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculptures in the world.

2006
NorthPark completes a $250 million expansion, adding 1.3 million square feet that 2006 includes the 1.4-acre Center Park garden and a state-of-the-art movie theater.The expansion is designed by Mark Dilworth of Omniplan, NorthPark’s original architectural firm, and brings the center’s total square footage to more than 2.2 million.

2007
NorthPark’s first of four Fashion at the Park extravaganzas debuts in March. The four-day fête draws the ultimate who’s-who crowd for 15 spectacular shows from designers including Oscar de la Renta, Giorgio Armani and Salvatore Ferragamo, all under a luxurious 19,000-square-foot tent. A second Fashion at the Park is held in November, with special appearances by Oscar de la Renta vice president (and stepdaughter) Eliza 2007 Bolen and her husband, Alex Bolen, the brand’s CEO; Vogue’s Hamish Bowles; Isabel Toledo (at that time, designer of Anne Klein) and husband, Ruben Toledo (fashion illustrator).

Raymond Nasher passes away in March. He leaves behind an inimitable legacy, having forever changed the Dallas art and retail landscape.

Shopping Centers Today magazine names NorthPark one of the “7 Retail Wonders of the Modern World.”

Circa 2006-2014
NorthPark holds its third Fashion at the Park in March 2014, which culminates in a grand gala honoring Naeem Khan. During the fourth and final installment, in October, Roberto Cavalli makes a personal appearance to showcase his fall collection, while Thakoon Panichgul, Peter Som and Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig attend a special runway presentation celebrating five years of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

NorthPark’s expansion accommodates a host of luxury brands, beginning with Michael Kors (the first store in the U.S.). Valentino, Cartier, Roberto Cavalli, Tod’s, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Gucci, Tory Burch, Tesla and Mulberry are soon to follow.

2015
NorthPark celebrates a milestone 50 years with a philanthropic “Fifty Years of Giving” initiative, donating to 50 organizations from August 20 to October 28. The center also hosts an “Art Meets Fashion: 1965-2015” fashion exhibition through January 3, 2016, “Fifty Years of Fashion” runway event and the inaugural Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

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