A dress from Minnesota is having a major fashion moment in New York City.

A 1938 Schiaparelli white matelasse silk gown printed in wood grain with a matching jacket and leaf-shaped button is on loan from the University of Minnesota's Goldstein Museum of Design to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute exhibit "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations."

According to Goldstein assistant curator Jean McElvain, the Met found the dress through the museum's relatively new digital database project, which catalogs the collection and makes it widely available online. The Met has included the dress in a section dedicated to the surrealist tendencies of featured designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada.

"It certainly has subtle surrealist qualities to it and blends art and clothing," McElvain said. "The fabric of the dress is the beautiful bark print and the pattern was ... distorted and pulled off to the side, extending the surrealist vision of collapsing objects and kinds of different forms moving in and out of rigidity. It also is kind of aligned with Greek mythology and the transformation of [Daphne] into a tree."

The dress came into the Goldstein's private collection through a private donor in 1984. A faint purple wine stain on the front of the jacket proves it was worn, which didn't surprise McElvain.

"It has an unusual fabric and definitely references to a surrealist movement, but not as blatantly as some of her other work," she said. "So it would appeal to someone in the middle of the United States who wanted to wear something that's actually quite classic and refined."

Getting comfy with moccasins

Moccasins are getting a makeover, thanks to Itasca Leathergoods.

In addition to its wide variety of styles, the shoe label based in Lake George, Minn., now offers the option of choosing your own colors. It can customize the basic canoe-style Cota in 27 colors of full grain leather, more than 20 suedes, and other options in buffalo and elk hides.

Itasca's bestseller so far is a pair in turquoise, olive and aqua. A customer created a version in three shades of purple, which looked garish in swatches but actually turned out so beautiful in production that owner Paul Kirkman decided to add it to Itasca's offerings.

If you have a hard-to-fit foot, Itasca offers custom shoes from foot tracings at no extra charge. If you're not in one of the company's two store locations (Lake George and Crosslake) or a Twin Cities trunk show this week, you can just stand on a piece of paper, trace your feet and fax or mail it to the company with your order.

Prices range from $100 for basic adult shoes up to $400 for premium fringed boots, with kid and infant styles $40 and up. There's no extra charge for custom colors or foot tracing, and shoes can be produced in a week. Itasca moccasins are made in Minnesota with leathers and suedes from the United States.

The company recently underwent a major transition. Kirkman bought the company this year from Mardel Bents, who started it in 1986 as a souvenir stand.

"I fell in love with the merchandise," said Kirkman, who recently opened a flagship store in Crosslake.

In addition to upgrading the Itasca website to make online ordering easier, Kirkman plans to expand into a full line of leather goods such as totes and handbags, belts and an iPad case, featuring elements of the moccasins such as hand stitching and fringe.

Itasca Leathergoods
Trunk show: 2 to 8 p.m., Thu., Arrow, 121 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-339-1663.
Flagship store: Crosslake Town Square, 14287 Gould St., Crosslake, Minn. 1-218-692-3978.
Website: www.itascamoccasin.com.


Shave Swap 2012 at Kiehl's

Kiehl's wants to help men get a clean, close shave for summer. Its popular White Eagle Shave Cream has been a staple since the 1970s. To spread the foam, it's hosting a shave swap. Bring in your shaving cream and receive a complimentary 2.5-ounce White Eagle Shave Cream (valued at $9). A few weeks later, you'll have the opportunity to replenish and receive samples of Facial Fuel Cleanser and Facial Fuel Moisturizer.

Through Sun., Kiehl's, Mall of America, Bloomington, 952-854-9541.

Calendar of events: THURSDAY

Monique Lhuillier's progressive sale: The resort and spring ready-to-wear merchandise will be 40 percent off one piece, 50 percent off two pieces and 60 percent off three or more.

Through Sat., 3928 W. 50th St., Edina, 612-929-0747.

Motto opening party: Celebrate the gifts, home and men's and women's clothing store that will inhabit the former Intoto space.

6 p.m., 3105 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-545-5636.


Camp Gorgeous at Neiman Marcus: With a purchase of $85 in cosmetics, receive a tote filled with beauty product samples.

Through Sat., 505 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-339-2600.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177 • sglassman@startribune.com • Twitter: @sararglassman