All I want for Christmas …

by Erin on October 25, 2006


Jacques Fath archives

You know, I've never really gotten the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book before (that's both a literal and a figurative gotten). I'm much more of an Heifer International catalog kind of person. Who really needs a gold-plated Hummer or a week's holiday in an undersea hotel, when you could have a no-maintenance water buffalo, instead? (And I bet the sheets at the undersea hotel are clammy.) But Ann S. (thank you, Ann!) sent me a link to this NM holiday item, and now — now I get it.

What is it? Well, I'll let the copywriters explain:

… the only archival record of the House of Fath. This museum-quality collection includes 26 volumes of original sketchbooks from 1948 through 1956, with more than 3,400 couture designs. The collection also includes three exquisite Fath haute couture dresses, each with its accompanying sketch. With this archive, the possibilities are monumental. Endow a wing of your favorite museum with a comprehensive overview of fashion history or launch your own research center to inspire the Faths of tomorrow.

How much, you ask? Only (only!) $3.5M. That's a three, a five, and five zeros (plus two more after the decimal point, for you sticklers out there). I'm sure I can pull that together if I remember to check under all the couch cushions.

TWENTY-SIX volumes of sketchbooks! 3400 designs! The only question would be, would you neither sleep nor eat until you'd looked at everything, or would you ration the books over some long-drawn-out period of time, so as to make it last longer?

(I'm not so sure about the "endow a wing of MY favorite museum" part, though. I mean, I'd be worried about the mustard getting on the clothes.)

But I do hope someone buys this and gives it to the Costume Institute at the Met, or to the Costume Museum in Bath, or to FIT, or some other place that will keep it safe and accessible to researchers, and who will mount an exhibit so that folks like us can check out every one of those 3400 designs (web site? please?).

Of course, being NM, it will probably be bought by some Texas oilman as a present for his spoiled teen daughter designer wanna-be. (He'll get the gold-plated Hummer for his wife.) But I'm not going to think about that now! I'm just going to go write a quick note to Santa.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

SDMC October 25, 2006 at 8:15 am

Wowzer! At that price I’ll never “get it”….maybe if we all chip in we can share.

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Anonymous October 25, 2006 at 8:47 am

Let me know if these do get their own web site. SO I can plan to order take out and call in sick at work.Also, thanks for raising my consciousness re Heifer International, makes me wanna buy a goat and plant some okra (seriously).

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Anonymous October 25, 2006 at 8:51 am

Heifer International is a wonderful charity program. You are in the company of Barbara Kingsolver when you support it. I’d love to flip through the books, and I wouldn’t eat while I did it, either.

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La BellaDonna October 25, 2006 at 8:57 am

I’m with Shara! If your readers chip in a dollar each, we can do this!!! Plus another, uh, dollar each, so that we can make color xeroxes available to all the sharees (not Sharas[well, not justSharas]). That would work!Please, though, if a museum wins it, let it go to the Met. My chances of going to the Costume Museum at Bath *whimper* are little and never. I can pretend I’m going to get up to the Met. (Where I can be given dirty looks by passing dilettantes for having the nerve to actually stand still for a moment to look at the display. Been there, done that.) Please, Santa, I’ve been a good girl. I know I’m not going to get those books; may I please have the dresses? One of the dresses? Toiles of the dresses?On an oddly related note, I do have a Jacques Fath scarf from the 50′s; it was my Mom’s, from the days when she worked in an advertising firm in New York. I wish I’d had a chance to ask her how and when she got it; “working in advertising,” especially in New York, has always had a certain cacht, but secretaries weren’t (and aren’t) paid all that much. Still! It’s a Fath!And I would loooove to bring some of its compatriots home …Oh, and for the Good Deed Lovers, please, go to theanimalrescuesite.com and click on the button! It buys food for rescued animals, and doesn’t cost you anything! Click only once, though, because their button-counter can tell if more than one click comes from the same address. It won’t count additional clicks; they will only block potential clicks from other people (I know, because the site announces it periodically).

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Summerset October 25, 2006 at 9:50 am

Wow. All I can say is wow. My head is spinning just thinking about all those designs!

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jennysbelly October 25, 2006 at 9:55 am

That is like the holiday Victoria’s secret that just came out . . .they had a 6.5M diamond bra for sale (and felt the need to point out that none of the free shipping special offers applied!)

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Linda October 25, 2006 at 10:13 am

*drool* how many sketches? I would buy that in a heartbeat if I were rich. And put them in a museum. And put them on a website for all to see. Alas! I am not rich, except in the things that are important i.e. not money. I have the sad feeling it will not go to a texas millionaire, but to an off-shore knock-off factory who will suddenly flood the North American market with cheap, poorly made Fath rip-offs. I hate being cynical, but…

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Robinson October 25, 2006 at 10:14 am

I like that there is a catalogue quick order option. As if this were something to be procured quickly. I love that dress on the left. Mostly because it actually seems wearable to me. The other one could only be worn by a woman with very small shoulders. I might look like someone merely trying to PASS as a woman in that dress.

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Anonymous October 25, 2006 at 10:16 am

Library of Congress would be the perfect place for this! They are so into digitizing now, we all could eventually take “A peek a day” at the designs via any internet connection. Or even go see them in person while in DC. For a peek in the meantime, try this link:http://www.fashionfinds.com/april/pages/jacquesfathandtheredshoespageeight.htm

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Gigi October 25, 2006 at 10:35 am

Drool, drool, drool.

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Anonymous October 25, 2006 at 11:02 am

I would buy it if I was rich(I asked for it, but was told sadly no). Then I would design a museum for it and other tidbits. But it would go on a tour of the country too. Then everyone could have a chance to see it, not just if they happen to be in my area. Oh, dreams are fun.

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barbann October 25, 2006 at 11:21 am

I just want to sit in that picture. I would even promise not to touch anything.

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Lauren October 25, 2006 at 11:21 am

It depresses me that that collection is being offered in the NM Christmas book. It should be something that would be offered first to museums or universities, not advertised in a catalog with cashmere dog sweaters and crystal computer mouses. The whole idea of the catalog depresses me, but I realize that this is not my blog, and I’ll therefore not write my pages of angst.

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Marie-Christine October 25, 2006 at 11:45 am

First I’d take the next 3 months off and do nothing but look at every page… Or maybe I’d take a year off, scan it and make a killer site. Then I’d donate it to a museum :-). Aaaaah.

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Kristen October 25, 2006 at 12:32 pm

Oh. Wow. I’ve got my $1 ready!! Shall we ladies?…

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Anonymous October 25, 2006 at 12:44 pm

I see the first thing in the NM Christmas Book is a small white child. Wonder how much they’re asking?

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yvette October 25, 2006 at 1:41 pm

Wow, that is FABULOUS!

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Kelly October 25, 2006 at 2:04 pm

I agree. Why can’t Neiman Marcus live up to the task of preserving this collection, and just give it to an appropriate institution. No, they need to commercialize it, and give someone the opportunity to tack their full name, (including middle initial) onto the room that will house this collection in some prestigious institution. Sorry for ranting on your blog. :(

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Gidget Bananas October 25, 2006 at 3:53 pm

I’m drooling over here!

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oracle October 25, 2006 at 3:57 pm

I’ll send a dollar (in U.S. funds, no less) if someone can organize who would collect the money and how, and how, or who, would communicate with NM about what we’re doing and see if they’d co-operate with us on this and let us have it. It’s for a good cause!And who would contact the museum under discussion (the MET?) and make arrangements with them? I mean, can we really do this?

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oracle October 25, 2006 at 5:55 pm

Maybe three dollars?

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oracle October 25, 2006 at 5:58 pm

That last was just an attempt to laugh at myself. I lost track (the first time) of how much the thing was. Forgive me. Dream on!

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Melanie October 25, 2006 at 6:26 pm

That dress with the lacy sleeves is so gorgeous it hurts. Hopefully you have deep couch cushions!

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enc October 25, 2006 at 11:20 pm

I saw that too and was absolutely foaming at the mouth.

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Floridaprincess October 26, 2006 at 1:13 am

This is fabby. I would so love to have this collection of books.

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krista October 26, 2006 at 2:16 am

This is unbelievable!

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dani October 26, 2006 at 2:53 am

I think I will write a quick note to Sant also!

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dani October 26, 2006 at 2:57 am

I think I will write a quick note to Santa also!

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Liesl October 26, 2006 at 9:12 am

I just have to say that I can’t believe you know about the mustard museum! I’ve been there several times. My parents live nearby.

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Valerie October 26, 2006 at 10:47 pm

oh lord, my heart. I’m going to die. that dress is so gorgeous it hurts me. whoever said “Library of Congress” I’m all for it. I’m a 20 minute metro ride away!!! I would visit it every day. :)

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Archivarian (An Archival Library Mistress) October 27, 2006 at 12:14 pm

It’s such a beautiful collection, it’d be a shame for just one person to own it. Hopefully, a library, archives or museum could afford to to add it to their collection and share it with the public…or perhaps NM wouldn’t mind making a donation as a gift to preserve an exquisite piece of history!

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Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 12:41 am

It would be so great to be able to study the collection mentioned, but ofcourse chances are slim that will happen. In the mean time, I am looking at a much more affordable collection published by Taschen 25 entitled “Fashion.” The modest collection consists of two heavy vollumes filled with beatiful images of clothing from the 19th and 20th century: all for ~$50usd. Although the 1950′s section is more brief than I prefer.

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