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NORTHPARK CENTER: 50 YEARS OF FASHION

400">A 97-acre cotton field on the outskirts of Dallas400"> opened in 1965 as the then-largest climate-controlled retail establishment in the world, NorthPark Center400">. More akin to what is traditionally thought of as a mall from that era, it included cafeterias, novelty stores, dress shops, haberdasheries, candy stores, bakeries, import stores, jewelers, restaurants and more.

400">Originally the big draws were Titche-Goettinger400"> and Neiman Marcus400">, without whom the plethora of smaller establishments would not have existed. Eventually, Lord & Taylor400"> and JCPenney400"> also became anchors. Then, Titche's became Joske's400"> in 1979, and in 1987 Joske's became Dillard's400">. JCPenney closed in the 1990s and the store vanished. Foley's400"> built a new store on the site in 1997 before Foley's became Macy's400">. In 2007 Barneys New York400"> opened a grand spectacle of shopping delights... and tanked five years later. Not unsurprisingly, Neiman Marcus is the only remaining original anchor (the NorthPark store annually competes for the #1 sales with Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills400">). In November 2007, NorthPark Center was named as one of the seven retail wonders of the modern world.

400">There used to be a Kroger in the parking lot along Park Lane and a Texaco gas station. The mall opened with two Centennial Liquor stores – it was the Mad Men400"> era, and wet bars were 400">de rigueur400">. NorthPark is why children here grow up thinking all malls have major pieces of original artwork, a kid-focused branch of the public library, a park in the middle, a turtle refuge and a planter they’re allowed to slide down. NorthPark Center was the first mall to be featured on the cover of Vogue400">.

400">The legendary Nancy Nasher400">, her husband, David Haemisegger400">, own NorthPark - her parents, Ray400"> and Patsy Nasher400"> built it, with Patsy taking a very active hand. From its inception, NorthPark Center has made art an integral part of its interior landscape. NorthPark received the American Institute of Architects Award400"> for "Design of the Decade - 1960s400">" as one of the first commercial centers in the United States to create space for the display of fine art. “Standing in front of Macy’s, you can look down the 1965 wing and see all the way to the Andy Warhol400">s that were placed there by my mother,” she said. “We’ve never moved them. Then, you can look over at the magnificence of the 2006 wing and see the same basic design elements from 1965 that we carried forward. What’s important to me is building on the legacy of my parents.”

400">NorthPark was honored again in 1992 with the A.I.A.'s 25-Year Award for Design Excellence400">. NorthPark's tradition of showcasing major works by world-renowned artists Frank Stella400">, Joel Shapiro400">, Jim Dine400">, Jonathan Borofsky400">, James Rosenquist400">, and others. Newer acquisitions include the monumental Ad Astra400">, a 48-foot orange steel

installation by artist Mark di Suvero400">; a 21-foot steel and aluminum Corridor Pin400"> by Claes Oldenburg400"> and Coosje van Bruggen400">; and Joel Shapiro400">'s vividly painted sculpture of 20 wooden blocks of varying sizes joined together. Said one online comment, "It's like a free art museum with really extensive (and expensive) gift shop."

400">Noted portrait artist Tatyana Murphy400"> is part of the continuing tradition of original art at NorthPark. During 50th Anniversary celebrations earlier this week, jewelry designer extraordinaire David Yurman400"> (400">and400"> designer of my all-time favorite fragrance in the gold bottle) made a personal appearance at his store and Murphy was on hand to present her portrait in tribute to him. Yurman was deeply flattered, and said, "I love that you made me look younger..." and then he said "It is really amazing that you caught the process of thinking, just as much as my likeness."

400">Said Space Princess Andrea Elaine Pearson-Haas400">, "NorthPark is where my grandmother and I use to have lunch with the family in a boutique eatery that is no longer there. She left me her Christian Dior & Neiman-Marcus clothing and such, so some of it is very old..." RoundUpForAutism.org400">'s executive director Gina Marx400"> vividly remembers the excitement of going from Fort Worth to Northpark, and says, "I 400">still400"> go there when I can't find the right thing here." Roxane Rose400"> recalls managing the Victoria's Secret400"> store there in the late 80s. "Crazy busy... insane hours," she muses about that wild era. Britt Harrelson400"> remembers, "Shopping with my mom... trains at Christmas and as a teen...Contempo! I found an old receipt from Contempo that I'd kept the other day of all things..."

Rhonda Kraus400"> fondly recalls 400">1978, "[I was in] Flight Attendant training in Euless with American Airlines. Four of my fellow trainee's and I called for a Taxi to take us to 400">the400"> mall, NorthPark, to purchase our first pair of uniform navy blue pumps. Lord & Taylor to the rescue!" Lost in her thoughts, she adds, " And oh the fountain!" Greg Haynes Johnson400"> says, "There have been many fun DIFFA400"> parties in different stores at North Park. Barney's hosted the DIFFA Style Council Announcement400"> at-least a couple of times and their parties were always the most fun!"

400">Neiman Marcus aside, Zales Jewelers400"> is the only other original tenant that remains at NorthPark. In its ever-changing, ever-evolving quest for style! art and beauty! NorthPark is waving a not-so-fond farewell to mall atrocities such as Forever 21400">, Claire's400">, Foot Locker400">, Hollister400">, Abercrombie & Fitch400">, Build-a-Bear 400">and Gymboree400">. Buh-bye to them and hello to whatever NorthPark has up its sleeve delight and entertain us next. Here's to 400">another400"> fifty years!

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Photography by: Via Northpark Center