FASHION REMEMBRANCE: HUBERT DE GIVENCHY

6C698FF1-A8C6-44DC-ADDC-E30AD447BB89A week after we learned of the death of the last of the great couturiers I feel everything has been written about this extraordinary creator by those who knew him, wrote about him and treasured his memory. His creativity was unparalleled not only in the world of fashion but also in his homes and his magnificent gardens.

I wanted to briefly talk about my memories of the few times I met him.  The first time was at the launch of his first cosmetic collection in 1966. It was always a ”contest” to see which of the major stores, usually the Speciality Stores….Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Teller, I. Magnin (Neiman Marcus wasn’t in Chicago yet) and, of course, Marshall Field’s, would launch the newest, hottest fragrance.  I must say Saks saw it’s share of these prestigious events. Obviously a cosmetic collection by one of the worlds most illustrious designers was beyond exciting. We had a huge fashion press in Chicago at the time and they were all vying for exclusives. I didn’t then believe in exclusives if the story doesn’t run you are ”dead in the water”. Instead, we always had a press party for visiting designers in addition to a reception for clients usually to benefit a charity. All was set, caterers in place, champagne chilled and I had the tuxedoed wait staff with their champagne ladened silver trays lined up on either side of the cosmetic aisle ready for the guest of honor, M. Givenchy, his people, the President of Saks, Corporate Cosmetic VP’s and our guests. I ran up to my office to quickly change, I am in ”mid-change” when my walkie-talkie (this is before tech thingies!) is swawking….”M. Givenchy’s car has just pulled up”!  My office was on the fourth floor, I finished pulling on my clothes torn down the stairs and made it to the door to escort the entourage into the store and the reception. Whew!!  I have worked with many, many wonderful creators through the years and I can say he was one of the most gracious, charming of all.  He made you feel like you were the only person he wanted to talk to, if only for a brief moment in time. This cosmetic line was short lived and we had the privilege of a second launch several years later. AFD15AD3-A8F0-45DC-9E8C-A92419EFF774.jpegThis photo, now in the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago, hung on my office wall was from the first launch.  Unfortunately, like several other designer photos, the salutation has faded into oblivion over the years.

In M. Givenchy received the Designer of Excellence Award from the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum at a sold-out black-tie gala held in the Museum in 1995 sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue. The front and inside cover of the evening’s invitation, the evening was planned with the direction of M. Givenchy’s dear friend, Victor Skrebneski (holding my hand) who took the photo on the invitation and is seen here with M. Givenchy and Bonnie Deutsch, the President of the Costume Council at that time.  The evening was a roaring success monetarily and prestigiously   It was the talk of the town. All the guests were given a small ivory silk pocket square with the Givenchy signature and rolled hem in grey. All three images courtesy of the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago.

BE6EFEC0-BE85-428B-ADA5-665DE01ABFCE.jpeg

A close up of another Skrebneski photo of one of my favorite Givenchy dresses….you by now know my love of lily of the valley…what could be more divine!!!!!  Photog found on Pinterest.

We all know of the deep friendship between Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn from the time she chose her garments for Sabrina through most of her many films, as well as her personal wardrobe.  One of my most favorite garments are in Charade, loved the film (what’s not to like) and the clothes are to die for…she seems to have a new outfit in every frame…each better than the last.

3623C97A-7AD0-4A2C-A9E7-D1D8AA59E6CB.jpeg03FD557A-1F4A-434E-A222-725670BDF860.jpeg

My favorite Skrebneski photograph of a Givenchy gown. Everything is perfection….the composition, the lighting the incredible staircase, the floor and of course the gown…oh my the gown!!!!  Found on Pinterest.

Of course, a few suggestions for your fashion book library….

I have very fortunate to have worked with the creme de la creme of the fashion world….lucky, lucky me!!

Advertisements

I’M BACK….AT LEAST I THINK I AM!

85797724-10C3-49BB-AAC4-DD7BD96F6775

My apologies for all the spasmodic posts.  I have been telling you I have been working on my iPad since my PC died!  Guess what I now have a MacBook Pro (on loan, I am learning its nuances) and I am in heaven!!!  In addition, Facebook decided it wanted a separation from Word Press….I think I have figured that out as well, we shall see, I know a lot of my readers follow me on Facebook.

B0A01A41-86B0-4D60-8336-1683105DE238

What have I been up to, well, the Fall semester at Columbia College Chicago starts Labor Day week so I am in syllabus revision mode, doing that wasn’t an option on my iPad.  nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club is fully booked for the next few months with extraordinary authors and books.  This month is NORELL: MASTER OF AMERICAN FASHION by Jeffrey Banks, too exciting for words.

3CB8316B-AB93-483E-9E14-21E110C74467

You are going to be very impressed with the Profiles I have to share with you on nenasnotes in the next few weeks and zillions of books to recommend some really good ones. I will continue my Wednesday musings and my collections stories as well.  Not only does Labor Day bring the new school semester (and on my mind’s eye calendar, the new year!) but also brings us a month of Spring 2019 fashion from New York, London, Milan and Paris, I will give you my thoughts on what I see as the major trends.

A3489275-AE20-43E5-ACBC-2F1F3A2A61F9

Can’t get enough of me….Sally Schwartz, the extraordinary guru of The Randolph Street Market has commissioned me to write two monthly posts, one on fashion trends and one on collectibles, for the RSM newsletter.  All new, nothing has appeared on nenasnotes.  July and August have been posted if you are interested go to their website to read Denim, Blue and White, Prints in Fashion and Vinyl (records)! And for more of RSM mark your calendar for next weekend, August 25 and 26 from 10 to 5 each day, a perfect way to spend a special day in the City hunting for treasures. Of course you can also follow me on Instagram and Pinterest, just saying!

My photo, taken by my dear friend, Tom Mantel, from my current scrapbook entries, all others from Pinterest photo credit unknown.

BOOK NOTES: THE ROMANOV EMPRESS

D656140D-AC78-4BC6-8863-CCDFB8346F1AI must begin this review by saying I am most certainly not a fan of the current Russian regime, in fact I am appalled by it.  I was fortunate to visit this extraordinary country and meet its gracious people in 2002 (I will do blog posts on the amazing trip in the future) when it was just learning to embrace its new “freedom” from Communism, well, I’m afraid, that was short lived.  Since I’m not a political commentator nor do I like to express negativity in my posts, I shall not bore you with my opinions on how I feel about the Russian government and its involvement in our affairs, but rather turn to the grandeur of the Romanov’s in the 19th century and their ultimate demise.

9EA4A792-91E3-4447-820F-7DBF8958F3DC

Tsarina Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark)

I found The Romanov Empress to be a fascinating read from cover to cover.  The detailed research done by C. W. Gortner is extraordinary.  He has, changed some dates and anglicized many of the Russian names, but I felt, having read a lot about the time of Nicholas II and Alexandra and, of course their execution but not much about his parents, he gave us a precise story.  I have always been fascinated by Russian history and by now you are aware of my passion for historical novels….this detailed intriguing story did not disappoint me, in fact it makes me want to find more novels and non-fiction about this period in time. I was aware of the intermarriage of the European royals, but this telling put these marriages in perspective. The world, in all ways, was at a major turning point and now, a century plus years later, is still in turmoil. Can we change our destinies, I doubt it, but shouldn’t we learn from history or are we destined to keep making mistakes!!!!  Oops, seems a bit deep doesn’t it….perhaps Tzarist thinking!  Let’s get to our story….

It is basically a love story of a man and woman who happen to rule Russia and their children and their children’s children.  It is also the story of a very strong woman, “Minnie” (the Tsarina), who was instrumental, to a great extent, in forward thinking of women’s rights as well as preserving, above all else, the Romanov dynasty, which she supported, in all ways, until the very end. We learn about her sister’s marriage to Bertie, The Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria, the Russian court, exquisite descriptions of the social protocol of the time, the fashion, much from Charles Frederick Worth, the art, the jewelry, oh the jewelry, and, of course, the palaces.  And mostly the pride in upholding the centuries of Romanov rule and then seeing this regime destroy itself….so very sad!  Do I recommend the book, yes, yes and yes.
4BD4E0E5-3022-4195-BC3E-A54C61C1141D

Tsar Alexander III, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna

BCCDD1CF-96EC-45B1-86D8-9AEBDAA1A19F

St. Petersburg late 1900’s

I will definitely read more of Gortner’s novels, I’m considering his Mademoiselle Chanel as an upcoming nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club selection

This post is generously underwritten by an anonymous sponsor who is an avid reader. My everlasting gratitude.  Contact me for sponsorship opportunities. 

Photos found on a Pinterest photo credit unknown.

NG Apple_NetGalley Health Rev 3

MONDAY MUSINGS: GOLF

CE8E69BB-B599-4E4D-8019-F51A5EEBF7361938 caddying for all the top players in the PGA, my Father, Ivon (that was his signature on his artwork and what everyone called him) in his glory. Next to Ruthy and Nena, his wife and daughter….it was his life and he excelled at it, but then he was a natural born athlete. Being the daughter, and only child of a major jock, I learned at a very early age if I wanted to spend special time with my Daddy, I needed to love sports as well. I can assure you I have no athletic prowess what so ever but do love to attend or watch sporting events, especially football (my favorite) and golf….I spent many hours walking golf courses as well as going to see the Bears and Cubs, with him, we were “North Siders” after all!!!!. As much as he loved playing he never wasn’t there for his family. He would play early matches and be home early….he even played with colored balls in the winter.  We would stop at the golf range to hit a few buckets of balls on weekends, it was across the street from Indian Boundery Park, we were there all the time.  In addition, I went with him to play the Evanston Community Course, now Canal Shores Golf Course on Central Street, a course, I thought was fairyland with its water features and charming set up. Still there after a century and being rehabilitated,

He was working on plans and a patent for a new driver that he felt would revolutionize the sport when he died suddenly in 1957.

 

607B8638-C160-4CAE-8A99-DEBE552E5D79A mocked up photo (I can’t imagine what he would have done with today’s technology)….fooling around while taking the sport very seriously, same year 1938.

He won so many trophies year after year the organizations retired them.  For years he had been asked to go Pro.  He finally decided he would and we would relocate to Texas, having spent many summers, when I was a child, in Midland with relatives for my health, it seemed the logical location.  Having said good bye to our friends we left for West Texas and Daddy would go back to Evanston and sell the house, etc.  All I can say is when we stepped off the train we realized we were making a very big mistake, stayed for 2 weeks and came back home!!!!!  The golfing didn’t stop, but the thought of going pro did!  He didn’t regret his decision at all.

08B0729B-EA31-443E-B26D-1A705D8A73B1

FC9FCF46-B3FE-4AD7-ADC6-E6F5936656EBA couple of trophies I found at The Green Doorat Randolph Street Market My photos.

And one very similar to those Daddy won…photo found on Pinterest.  2A4EBC78-F49F-4553-9A2C-78DB003B9852

One year he had a custom hand-tooled leather golf bag made at a Midland saddle shop, known for their fabulous boots (yes, I had them in white!!!!)  I gave the bag and all his wooden shaft clubs to a dear friend who adored my father and golf….wonder if he still uses them!!!!! Below a similar bag I found on Pinterest

59703D46-01DE-4CA5-8DA8-1AACF3E9B9BC

A few more photos of him in action…these from 1929, he was so young…center photo from 1938…love that he is perfectly dressed, I can’t recall many golfers in blazers, shirt, tie and pocket square….oh, did I mention he was a fabulous dresser….I loved going shopping with him to help add to his wardrobe (did that with Mom as well….)

A68D98C6-AD40-44C0-BC55-378F2AFB3FCAAnd here with some of his chums, circa mid-1940’s….love the cap (not really) and not my favorite photo of him….but here you see one of his trophies. They were stunners. Many sterling, some silver plate, all engraved. One of our housekeepers decided she liked them so much she decided to take them!  Sad but true….at least I can picture them in my mind. A9E5CCF7-2F0C-492C-A544-8D7D0FFB9867A bit of golf history…it seems it’s origin is China, not Scotland, although it is most certainly the Scots who can lay claim to it’s popularity.

Part of a Ming dynasty scroll "The Autumn Banquet" showing participants play golf like game
Part of a Ming dynasty scroll “The Autumn Banquet”, being exhibited at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum March 21, 2006, shows participants of an imperial court spend their pastime on ‘chuiwan’ similar to the modern day golf, in which the players hits a ball and drive it into a hole. The scroll, which is exhibited for the first time outside mainland China, has sparked a controversy of which country invented golf. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

A few golf paintings of Scottish and English scenes and golfers.

7B3D1F11-3314-4FC6-8950-8863C503B322

249DD5AC-CDEB-44F1-AC6B-5E7C09488ED6DE36510D-0FB2-4714-A3AC-1B916D99ED79E8E8C549-1C8D-4990-8710-9BB559E17089

From the oldest golf club in England, Royal Blackheath Golf Club, Henry Callender,23AE4132-6D67-4D5F-A99E-231BC6CDD278D3F9C6FF-3119-4C17-8D70-AC0927F311F7Love this by Norman Rockwell. 

What you say, where are the ladies…..here you go, can you imagine playing any sport in these garments….seriously!!!!!

20B8B127-B8F1-4CCE-BBA4-C89743DF22FFBF88E272-F09C-4EAE-86CF-6FDD2FCFE7E6821689D7-2827-4256-B6C5-2AD3974D1A5638B84ADA-6FC1-4DF2-8DC3-8EBD9F5C6A665FF72F5C-258F-4E5B-B6E9-5E8411B00377

84705435-8893-4ABE-9744-B6C020DC18719F5AC2ED-91F7-4F2A-9F3A-7155331033EB

 

FBFA9173-B1C3-4BE6-9F53-EEC129BA0BAEAll the photos of Ivon from my scrapbooks all others unless, otherwise noted, found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.

                                              FROM NENA’S RECIPE BOX

DADDY’S SATURDAY NIGHT CREPES

1/2 cup flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

4 eggs

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup water

4 shakes Angostura bitters (Daddy always included bitters in his recipes, it’s what makes all the difference!!)

Usually does 6 crepes in an 8-10 inch pan…move in a small pan  best to serve immediately.

Either mix until fluffy or put into a blender. He always used a cast iron skillet generously buttered. Pour thin layer into hot pan…let get golden then quickly flip.  All goes quickly…first crepe is usually a throw away.

I always liked mine with butter and sugar then rolled, Mom and Dad often did jam.  We also did a creamed chicken or shrimp (or lobster) filling for savory crepes.  I like to do a cream filling with salmon caviar for a starter at a formal dinner party….my wine of choice, champagne or my new favorite Haute Couture Bubbles (served at the nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club).  Enjoy!

 

FRIDAY MUSINGS: TINY HOUSES

 

78A3DA77-25DD-4D42-A9E0-35F0ABFA4DD9No this post isn’t about tiny Coalport, Meissen or other small collectibles (I can do that later) but rather actual tiny houses!!!! Yes, ones you live in. Full disclosure, I already live in a tiny house…what you say, “I thought you live in a high rise condo”, true but it is 700 square feet…so I am qualified to discuss the subject…just saying!  As a child I adored my doll house and, of course, spent many hours making many log cabins with my Lincoln Logs with Daddy.

At this point in time in my life should I be rethinking my living arrangements and perhaps see if any of my land owning friends will let me “park” myself on their property…I don’t drive so it would either be a permanent structure or mobile, with a hired driver when needed

76F9F068-FD0A-489F-ACF2-E3FAFD52F005

I am obsessed with watching ALL the programming on tiny homes on HGTV and DIY, but then I’m obsessed with most of their programming.  It seems many of them are either metal frames or wood cabin looking…neither would be what I would want, so mine would have to be designed to my specs, of course it would, and here are some looks that appeal to me.  Most with either a Victorian shabby chic or bohemian feeling, definitely my style, or a bit of modern….maybe!

Too cookie cutter for me…

35C8A163-7B24-4EDB-BA8D-023208D038B3

More my taste…

9DDED9BD-1607-43EA-BBC2-DF0F1464151A

A more mid-century look perhaps……

3A4BC204-B7A5-4AAD-A9EB-1260BF28A886

B3A27507-2F12-4343-A000-40F6AF7CB865

Even George Bernard Shaw enjoy a tiny house, it rotated with the sun, for his studio.F3FF65EA-F576-4F3C-9678-0BBCCDAA2808But I envision something more Pygmalion or actually Beaton’s My Fair Lady decor…  CE5BDD98-7536-4041-9B8F-8724E1A424E4If truth were told I would love to retrofit a Vintage Airstream….some thoughts…FC2D018A-809D-4BEE-9214-C4F510AA78382B7BDC28-5CE0-4F31-B977-A762E7CEFD007D5E98B0-F319-4202-932D-597E512FC552C3A6A03B-46A8-424A-87DD-ED687AA3C2AB055E7C4C-6324-43C8-8A48-8E0F19A0C8B7

E8A750D5-957C-4BA4-84FA-5BA71A5AC1A1

Okay full confession, how I really want to live is in a English gypsy caravan.  Ruthy, my Mother, loved to tell of the gypsies and their caravans that would camp on her Father’s land outside Joplin, Missouri.  Each year they would come and my Grandfather gave them permission to use the land. As children, Mom and her siblings would visit the camp to hear wonderful stories and play with the children. Mom didn’t look like her brothers and sisters and I teased her that she must have been left as a baby by the gypsies to be taken care of by my grandparents…she rather liked the idea of a Bohemian lifestyle and found it a romantic notion (she was, of course, a legitimate child of my grandparents, birth certificates and Bible entry as proof!!!!!) In any instance, fairy tales aside, I find gypsy caravans right up my alley…in fact my current dwelling resembles one.

0DFC951E-8CD3-40FE-89F6-ED3D9FD7CD13

How I want my home to look….walls and pillows are pretty similar now, would love to do either wallpaper or dark lacquer green, very glossy, paint.

CE7D6373-C5CF-4925-9DF8-4CC616A8C8E5

0BF89B02-5C5B-441C-BA76-836A3D1849E7

AEC579F9-E28A-414B-8E8B-C210111808C63CDF6C7B-76C5-445A-A8D0-2B57245751070F4DEADB-4CB6-43AC-AE7B-FA81F8E4DAE50EA93ACD-07BC-4BEE-B35A-AB30D82B6D20F7AD5A2F-5C1E-4D12-984D-0F1843AAC67E4A1107C7-AE6C-443C-9484-F72C281AE312118D0E6D-D08D-4B8D-8A91-795885A661037A04DA17-7DF1-4141-B772-3BB847C9FED1Too much…in my mind never….and I would have to consider where to house ALL my books.

BC59AEA5-267B-4C40-ABCA-93043A8FF33BHow I see my caravan in its pastoral setting….I can dream can’t I…..

All images found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.

FASHION NOW: PARIS HAUTE COUTURE 3 GUO PEI

 

71CEFBE2-F208-45F7-A67F-DABD6F6A3471I wanted to talk about a designer I’m sure isn’t familiar to many of you, unless, of course you obsessed over the exquisite gown Rihanna wore to the 2015 Met Gala, China: Through The Looking Glass…that designer is GUO PEI.  Based in China, her Haute Couture collections in Paris are always beyond spectacular.  Often compared to Alexander McQueen and John Galliano she shows pieces that are, in my opinion, works of art.

B7343817-BFC5-437C-9124-84DB0D70B260In the Met exhibition, China: Through The Looking Glass.

Pieces from the recent Fall 2018 Haute Couture Collection inspired by the current Met Fashion exhibition Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

 

Pieces from past collections….beyond description..

22E2D08E-C04C-4F6B-B3D5-2EC56E7C18A1

If you love blue and white porcelain…how about this…

Guo Pei : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017
PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 25: Carmen Dell’Orefice walks the runway during the Guo Pei Spring Summer 2017 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 25, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images)
2010 China Fashion Week - 'Rosestudio' Guo Pei High Class Fashion Show
BEIJING, CHINA – NOVEMBER 6: (CHINA OUT) Model Carmen Dell’ Orefice walks the runway in the ‘Rosestudio’ Guo Pei High Class Fashion Show 2010 during China Fashion Week on November 6, 2009 in Beijing, China. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

Known for dressing China’s elite, her first collection “One Thousand and Two Nights”  in November 2009 featured Carmel Dell’ Orefice, seen in the photo above, wearing the show stopping Costume with its train carrying attendants, a design star was born  In addition, she has designed for the Chinese cinema to award winning reviews.

A book, you bet….

F92278CB-558B-4B63-9866-BFFF32C1891E

A movie, sure….the documentary coming soon….

72466B09-D35E-4649-BC0B-9CDB57851A8F9BA7C405-21BF-4658-ADDE-518134759605The designer in her Salon.  I suggest we all keep our eyes out for what is next for GUO PEI!  I personally can’t wait!!!!

All photos from Pinterest photo credits unknown unless indicated.

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: ANOTHER SIDE OF PARADISE

DA5EE453-9663-4402-A1C2-E0133D1F4C60

I happen to be a big fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald and, as you know, I am also a big fan of fiction based on reality….so, of course, I was drawn to this novel.  I was not disappointed.  Truly an enjoyable read. The author, Sally Koslow, has used our protagonist, gossip columnist, Sheilah Graham’s, diaries, memoirs, interviews and letters to tell this story of their love affair.

A07B829E-FC03-449D-9FAF-6760A0629E2C

The beginning of the book explores Graham’s childhood (reads like a Dickens novel, but worse) her time in England, her journey to the States and her transformation into a writer. Fascinating stuff, to say the least. She was a rival to Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, all competing to get the scoop on the newest who was “seen with whom”!  Her meeting with Fitzgerald, whose writing career wasin decline and who is trying to eke out a living writing scripts for movies in the ‘30’s, not to much success, is Kismet. His alcoholism is definitely a contributing factor to his writing slump. This affliction also contributes to the ups, major, and downs, also major, of this star crossed affair. While Sheilah (Fitzgerald always misspells her name, Shielah, similar to a gentleman friend of mine, Nina…done to annoy, or just don’t know or care, I wonder….).

67ED5A00-B0A6-42D1-8105-5D8CAD08FCA8

Of course, Zelda and Scottie are always a huge part of the scenario, divorce is not in the picture and Scottie is at Vassar so not a frequent visitor. The love between Fitzgerald and Graham is intense, heaven when he is sober, tragic when he is drunk. He writes his last, unfinished, some consider his best work, The Last Tycoon, 1940 just before his death based on his Hollywood years and his time with Sheilah.

3C7D30F0-15E8-4407-8A91-2B0543E225B1

I must admit I want to reread all his work as well as hers, especially Beloved Infidel, 1959, which I read when it was first published.

CF0AC832-9E08-450E-A23E-37AACFCC05E0

 

I think you will enjoy their story, I know I did.  As usual, I recommend you support your local bookseller, mine is The Book Stall in Winnetka, Illinois

                  This post is generously supported by an anonymous sponsor. 

PROFILE: STUART DYER MESIRES

E0E5384D-11DA-4FD7-B6D8-E82D6E5E9FFAPhoto by Rachel McGinn taken in Philadelphia

Bringing back my Profile series and I am beyond excited to restart with a friend through the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, Stuart Dyer Mesires.  Her talent for and love of all things vintage has given us a mutual interest as well as great conversations about the history of fashion, a passion we both share.  I know you will enjoy a glimpse into Stuart’s beginnings in the industry as well as a peek into her business Ladybug Vintage

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB
My first job in the fashion industry was working in New York City for a vintage textile swatch library. It was a library filled with swatches of vintage fabrics – prints, jacquards, yarn dyes, knits, etc. Designers would make an appointment to come to the design library at the beginning of each season to buy vintage swatches of fabric which they would then use to help them come up with color palates, design inspiration and actual fabrics that they would develop for their lines that season.
BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR MOST RECENT OCCUPATION
In 2009, I decided to turn my passion for collecting vintage into a business and created, Ladybug Vintage – a collection of vintage costume jewelry, clothing and accessories focused primarily on the international glamour and country club chic eras of the 1960’s and 1970’s. I love the whimsy, insouciance, bold prints and statement jewelry from this time period – all of which can be found in the Ladybug Vintage Collection. Inspiration comes from fashion icons such as Lee Radziwell, Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger and Ali McGraw – women with an innate sense of glamour and daring who could take one special piece – a scarf, a lariat, a gorgeous set of cuff bracelets – and create a completely effortless and individual look. I personally select each piece in the collection with this focus in mind. This is what sets Ladybug Vintage apart as it is not just a collection of random vintage pieces but a collection with a focused point of view.

631675D7-3192-4892-9FAF-791402311E68

Stuart at the Chicago Botanic Garden when she did their Antique and Garden Show

 

Some of Stuart’s extensive collections.

614D63B7-1BEA-40BA-B4CE-0954F5F52CE8

WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT
I started collecting vintage when I was in grade school. My mother is an avid collector of antiques and I would often accompany her to flea markets, thrift shops and antique shows when she was hunting for treasures. I wanted to collect something too so I would look for things that I could afford. Vintage clothing and costume jewelry were items that no one really wanted at the time and the pieces were inexpensive – thus my collection began. I loved the fact that what I collected could be worn not just put on a shelf to be admired. By the time I was in high school I had a closet full of amazing vintage clothing and accessories.

0464EA25-8B9A-4530-BB7F-76AC6A52BE65Looking for vintage pieces at the Madison Bouckville Antique Show in Bouckville, New York.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT” EXPLAIN
When I was working as a swimsuit designer for Tommy Hilfiger, I felt that I had made it when one of the suits that I had designed was featured in the the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue being worn by Heidi Klum, 2001.

9E0F93E7-B125-4E08-97F4-895BF9E4A0B9

 

B67E7657-9313-4131-8F06-8E21C917B8C1

Another of Stuart’s designers for Hilfiger in Sports Illustrated, 2002.

A piece in the 1998 Japan Marie Claire on Stuart’s favorite beauty products.

HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW As I mentioned above, I have had a passion for collecting vintage from a young age. After graduating from a liberal arts college in upstate, New York, I moved to New York City to work for PolyGram Records. My passion, however, was for fashion so I started working for a vintage textile design company and taking night classes at Parson’s School of Design. I then embarked on an over 15 year career in fashion design which included working as a clothing designer for such companies as Tommy Hilfiger and Lilly Pulitzer. While working as a designer, my love of vintage continued and I often used vintage pieces as design inspiration. Nine years ago, I decided to turn my love for collecting vintage into a business.

67AF29C4-59C2-4F64-83DD-37DE195F3E84
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE An Archeologist.
YOUR FAVORITES:
BOOK: The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
MOVIE:  The Wizard of Oz
THEATER:  Hamilton
TYPE OF MUSIC YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO: Rolling Stones, Stevie Nicks, Led Zeppelin, Spoon, Cage the Elephant and the Foo Fighters
LOCAL RESTAURANT: I love to try new restaurants but a constant, reliable favorite is Mon Ami Gabi.
HOBBIES: Drawing, painting, antiquing
HOME: Mixture of mid-century modern and antiques
WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE: Andy Cohen, Derek Blasberg, Mick Jagger, Virgil Abloh, Pablo Picasso, Kate Spade, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Altchul, Lilly Pulitzer, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda and Miuccia Prada
I’m not a great cook so I would invite, Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) to cater.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND/OR ON YOUR GO TO LIST:  I love to discover new places. And wherever I find myself, I love to find places to shop for vintage. I just back from a trip to Grimaud, France – a small town outside of St. Tropez. I had never been to Grimaud before but I went there to stay with a friend.  It is a gorgeous Cote d’Azur hillside town overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the port of St. Tropez. One of the most fun things for me was finding a flea market in Grimaud that was filled with vintage treasures.

00189690-F2C3-40BE-AA8E-E95C17E033E0

With her son, Xander in St. Tropez in June 2018

5BB3B50D-8F16-4D39-9BF2-491E92C7F5D0

In Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

C70DA5E4-BDDE-4039-BF50-D0608A5902F7

Visiting Heyward House, Bluffton, South Carolina.

FAVORITE WORK OF CHICAGO PUBLIC ART:  My favorite work of Chicago Public art is a statue called, The Alarm. I have always been drawn to it. It is the oldest sculpture on Chicago Park District property. It was commissioned in 1880 and dedicated on May 17, 1884. When I did a little research on it, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the artist, John J. Boyle while from New York, had actually studied in Philadelphia (my hometown) at the Franklin Institute and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and married a woman from there. Several of his statues are located throughout Fairmount Park in Philadelphia as well as throughout the city of Philadelphia.

6685361D-B11F-46CA-890D-AAAA7A10C123
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED:As having been kind.

A FAVORITE RECIPE:
I love to make desserts (the best part of a meal!). Below is a simple recipe for one of my favorites:
Fudge Brownies.
INGREDIENTS
5 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate 3/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
HEAT oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13” x 9” pan.
MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in a large microwaveable bowl on HIGH for 2 minutes or until the butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and mix well. Spread into prepared pan.    BAKE approximately 22 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.

STUART’S FAVORITE LINKS/BLOGS/INSTAGRAM/WEBSITES

http://www.ladybugvintage.com/
https://www.1stdibs.com/dealers/ladybug-vintage/

La Double J, Tory Daily, @suzymenkesvogue, @tinaleung, @amandacbrooks, @ericapelosini, @martinamondadori, @kateschelter

A172B024-440C-4922-A8A0-0DFFC1D2028C

Above photo taken by Rachel McGinn. All photos from Stuart’s scrapbooks.

 

FASHION NOW: DOLCE & GABBANA ALTA MODA FALL 2018

A5C14957-B145-4A7F-A367-F57C0C8DF452

Designers who always know how to produce the most extravagant fashion shows… Dolce & Gabbana, didn’t disappoint with their Fall 2018 Alta Moda (high fashion) presentation at Lake Como, Italy. Drama was in abbondanza!  Here are a few of the many looks, filled with the expected floral prints, exquisite accessories and diverse mix of models. Over the top creativity presented in lush surroundings with an operatic soundtrack to create an even more ”Alta Moda” atmosphere!  Designers who don’t shy away from drama in their creations nor controversy in their opinions, lived up to all expectations.

CA72AAD3-F473-4769-94DE-C1D2B3FBA2A79FA55AE0-AB6C-479B-B4CF-C0FF11E1B1B3

8D02F9AF-BD4A-40FA-8E80-B9A50FA356A9

8A8EFDCE-AEFA-4617-B1B4-559C09BD2BE0

6982FCBA-BE77-49EF-96B4-C1074C5E1C8CA portion of the finale.

All photos found on Pinterest credits unknown.

FASHION NOW: FALL 2018 HAUTE COUTURE PART 2

Maison Margiela by John Galliano….no, not strange nor laughable…look closely at ALL the detail, the use of accessories, the color mixing, layering. Shoes with tech devices attached.  Are we painting our faces in bold foundation colors, no but to me the statement is color completing a look and we DO paint our faces! One can debate whether Galliano is either a genius or marching to his own inner voice…I am in the genius camp, well maybe both!!!!!

1ABFD288-C506-427C-A9D1-3E4F619D4631

15D0C759-B78B-4ED0-A2F1-46AEAEF6EAC1

2768C09D-8040-452F-9E39-388506863038

Perhaps one of the most covered collections, Valentino by Pierpaolo Piccioli, brought a tear to Valentino’s eye as he lead the standing ovation at the finale. Exquisitely crafted gowns in bold solid colors as well as brocades, lames, the perfect black gown, and the “fabric” of the collections, feathers. Head coverings of real flowers in the same bold palettes of the glorious fashions. I am in awe of the extreme bouffant hair, taking us back to Avedon’s “Swans”! A Valentino collection to remember without question.

A refined neutral palette formed the Dior collection as interpreted by Maria Grazia Chiuri.  Saying she wanted to celebrate the House’s heritage, she definitely defined the elegance that is Dior.  The day pieces reflected the essence of the House.  Loved the cape, so useful in Chicago, the sheer tulle in the perfectly constructed youthful  gowns and…feathers. Again may I call your attention to the accessories especially the charming side tilted “beanie”.

538A2909-560D-48E8-880E-64A359287D76

 

0D61642B-3BCC-470A-92E7-6223C35556B8

In my opinion, which, after all, is what nenasnotes is all about….my opinion, the resurrection of the House of Schiaparelli just gets better now under the direction of Bertrand Guyon.  The signature Shocking Pink, trompe l’oeil details, a fluff of the obligatory feathers…the excitement that is fashion. Fun, unexpectd twists = a la mode!

18471E41-118D-4AFE-88A8-28CDCAAB0A9E

Giambattista Valli one of my favs doesn’t disappoint.  Great day pieces, but he excels with his dramatic gowns, although let’s start rethinking the “high-low” lengths…we’ve seen it, but still….gorgeous! Feathers, you bet, even for shoes.

8EA9EED5-14F5-4AC1-A16C-F0BAB3194375

 

6C3D48DF-0823-45AA-B89C-193FBB295C70

What House and Artistic Director could be more in the news than Givenchy and Clare Waight Keller, no one I can think of. All it takes is a major star whether that is M. Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn or Claire Waight Keller and the new Duchess of Sussex. Again a current designer delving into the archives of a master creator….how wrong can you go…..you can’t.

 

Giorgio Armani Prive Couture Fall 2018
Giorgio Armani Prive Couture Fall 2018

Does Giorgio Armani ever go off brand….no, never. Armani Prive has it all.  I really need to find a new word for classic, translates to boring in my current modern minds eye, but until I can replace it let’s use it….perhaps modern classic = always a perfect wardrobe addition. The Fall 2018 Collection is a stunner.  Particularly like the  coat as jacket, I look I have long embraced.

B86E802B-A7B6-4775-9A1A-F02E863E9410

Haute Couture must always push us, bring us new technologies, fabrications, techniques, the FUTURE, why not….who does it best, Iris van Herpen, her innovations stretch us to see clothing in new ways…that is what it is all about.

BE5C2C64-79C3-46B0-AE10-ED50D65E6DCE

BF3FE53C-0C97-4809-9F5F-95D092CA5BC2

Of course, some of our most creative talents continue to make us think, give us fun, beautifully crafted garments with a bit of tongue in cheek, no one does that better than the dynamic duo Viktor & Rolf!

And there you have it….the glory, that is my edited edition, of Paris Haute Couture Fall 2018. Next up the marathon fashion weeks beginning in New York in September. A good time to read your nenasnotes The Fashion Book August 28th selection NORELL: Master of American Fashion so you will be prepared for our discussion….what you say, you haven’t signed up for the monthly meetings….contact me for all the details and join our fascinating group.

                          All photos from Pinterest photo credits not available. 

FASHION NOW: HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2018 PART 1 CHANEL

115327D8-F63D-4583-8891-C3AADFB0AA08By now you know I am obsessed with Haute Couture, especially the Fall collections which are shown the beginning of July.  I’m totally a Fall fashion season gal, always have been so that isn’t a surprise  I have told you I had the extraordinary opportunity to attend the Haute Couture collections in 2006. It was my 50th Anniversary present from Saks Fifth Avenue and an experience I shall always treasure.  At some point in time I will share that trip with you…have to gather all my photos, scan them, dig out the memorabilia, review the diary I kept (the one and only time I have kept a journal), etc.  I promise I will do it.

Now on to Haute Couture Fall 2018.  I usually do trends I see in each seasons collections whether Haute Couture or Ready-To-Wear….Haute Couture, in my opinion, is the Mothership from which all other fashion evolves. I’ll do my thoughts on the rest of the Collections in subsequent posts.  Today is all about Chanel.  Do we look to Chanel for inspiration, of course we do it is inevitable.  And no one stages a show like Karl Lagerfeld.  There are other unbelievable stagings, over the top creations….but we always want to see what Kaiser Karl has in store for us…he didn’t disappoint  What do you think?!  Here a sampling of some of the pieces that caught my eye

“For Fall 2018, Chanel’s production masterminds recreated the banks of the Seine — even though the real deal is fewer than 200m away from the Grand Palais — complete with newsstands and a replica of the Académie Française. One stand, staffed by two young boys wearing “Institut Chanel” sweatshirts, was packed with books, magazines, records and keepsake photographs all featuring Coco Chanel herself.” Quote and all photos from Fashionista.

5C55CF98-3187-45A5-A3CB-DE8A59585CA28CEBD5D9-1B76-4949-8A36-5E8BF94BF27C75DF3119-07B8-48A8-AB6C-83B3F88565506D3E6CD6-6A93-43FE-B542-E9A90BF0D39F48BA71D8-2AF8-464E-91E1-85D3B098D19E363572EC-5DF7-4806-BB07-CC4821AAE7774D12C42B-1E18-4212-9D6C-4DE44C878C70

Stunningly beautiful. Notice the shoes, hair, lots and lots of black and grey.  What am I seeing that I see in other collections….hot pink and brown…stay tuned….