Former Avenir curator to speak about Mr. Blackwell

On Thursday, March 10, Linda Carlson, former Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising curator, will be speaking about the museum’s current exhibition “Mr. Blackwell: Artist of Subtle Witchery,” which features the elegant and provocative couture apparel designed by Richard Blackwell. Carlson knew Mr. Blackwell personally and will be sharing reminiscences of their long friendship and collaboration.

From left are former CHHS Director of Development Camy Cooney, Linda Carlson, Mr. Blackwell, former Department of Design and Merchandising Head Antigone Kotsiopulos, former CHHS Dean Nancy Hartley and former Department of Design and Merchandising Professor Eulanda Sanders at an event in Los Angeles in 2002.

Mr. Blackwell, best known for his Annual Worst Dressed list, produced successful apparel lines from the 1950s through the 1980s. His relationship with Colorado State University began in 1989 when he learned of a large donation of his designs to the University. Through the 1990s and early 2000s Mr. Blackwell and his partner, Robert Spencer, added to CSU’s collection, which now numbers more than 200 garments.

Carlson was instrumental in building the relationship with Mr. Blackwell, who visited Colorado State University in 1996 to share his expertise with design and merchandising students. Mr. Blackwell passed away in 2008.

The Avenir Museum is also home to Mr. Blackwell’s extensive business and design archive that includes master patterns, marketing ephemera, fashion photographs, pastel drawings and a series of working fashion sketches.

Come and learn more about the creative and self-promoting personality behind the Hollywood name and designer label “Mr. Blackwell” during the Avenir Museum’s Thursday lecture series.

Carlson’s lecture will be held at the Avenir Museum (216 E. Lake St.) from 7 to 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public. The lecture takes place in the Avenir’s Linda Carlson Classroom, named in honor of the former curator. Carlson was honored as part of the College of Health and Human Sciences Legacies Project. Read more about her and her role in building CSU’s historic costume and textiles collection here.

Feel free to come early and visit the Avenir Museum galleries before the lecture. The galleries will stay open until 6:45 pm. For more information on events and exhibit at the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, see

The Avenir Museum is a part of the Department of Design and Merchandising in the College of Health and Human Sciences at CSU.