When you’re a newcomer to Dallas, you learn fairly quickly that many roads lead to Neiman Marcus. The retailer set roots in 1907 and locals have either been shopping or working there (sometimes both) for decades. A favorite bit of history I’ve learned about NM is a tradition that lasted from 1957 to 1986—the fabulous Fortnights. Concepted by Stanley Marcus, each year in October (lasting for about two weeks) a different country was chosen and the Downtown Neiman Marcus store was transformed to honor that country with merchandise and examples of cultural achievements. Planning started a year to 18 months in advance and resulted in complex and beautiful reproductions of famous landmarks and stagings of the far-away places. NM buyers brought merchandise specific to the country back to Dallas and locals scooped up everything from food to fashion within those two weeks. The Fortnights were genius, not just because they made many exotic items from abroad accessible to Dallasites, but because they resulted in record sales that often surpassed what was made during the holiday rush.
Although the Fortnights have never been resurrected (maybe someday), six of the infamous events are available as commemorative trays by John Derian and exclusive to Neiman Marcus. The designs for each Fortnight (Danish, American, Ireland, Japan, British, and French) come from the original artwork shown on promotional posters used that year. Even if you’re not a Dallas dweller or loyal Neiman Marcus shopper, you can probably appreciate the whimsical art and story behind the trays. The British Fortnight is my favorite…but I love how they all look grouped together.
(Image via Neiman Marcus)