WEDNESDAY MUSINGS: RECIPES

I have been lax in posting recipes and I have heard from you….so here are several that I  like all year but thought they would be good for May.  I might serve the Corn Soup with either of the entrees or another dinner, I often do it as a starter to a poached salmon entree.  It is so good that it always gets rave reviews!

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NENA’S CURRIED CREAM OF CORN SOUP

1 17 ounce can cream style corn

1 teaspoon minced onion

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1-2 teaspoons curry powder (I usually do more, do to your taste!)

1 cup half and half

1/3 cup heavy cream

Fresh basil

Whirl in blender all ingredients, except basil, until combined.  Chill and serve with a leaf of basil on top.

Serves 4.

imageShawnee Corn King pottery soup tureen.  Image from Pinterest, credit unknown.

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NENA’S OVEN-FRIED LEMON CHICKEN

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 cardamom seeds crushed (open whole pods and  crush seeds with a mortar and pestle)

2 boned and skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

Lemon pepper

1/2 carton sour cream

1 cup fine bread crumbs

Lemon slices for garnish

Combine lemon juice, garlic, and cardamom seeds.  Add chicken and marinate a room temperature at least 1 hour, turning frequently.  Preheat oven to 400º.  Remove chicken from marinade.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dip each piece in sour cream and coat with bread crumbs. Sprinkle with lemon pepper.  Put on ungreased baking sheet and cover lightly with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and increase temperature to 450º.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until chicken is golden brown and tender.  Serve hot or cold, garnish with lemon slices.

It is delicious either way.  A perfect picnic food.  I served this many years ago at a press luncheon I hosted for Bill Blass and he loved it!  I would now serve with a green salad and, as usual, a lovely white wine…or champagne, always champagne!  If you wanted to continue the lemon theme, finish with the lemon bars I shared with you several weeks ago!

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BARBARA V’S CHICKEN/WILD RICE/GRAPE SALAD

2/3 cup mayonnaise (my mayonnaise is Miracle Whip, just saying!)

1/3 cup whole milk

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon tarragon (you can use fresh or dried, I prefer fresh which would be a bit more than 1/4 teaspoon)

3 cups chopped chicken (she uses all white meat)

3 cups cooked wild rice

1/3 cup finely sliced green onion (white and green parts)

1 8 ounce can water chestnuts drained

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 pound seedless green grapes halved

1 cup salted cashews

Blend mayo, milk, lemon juice, and tarragon and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine chicken, wild rice, onion, water chestnuts, stir in mayo mixture until blended.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Just before serving stir in grapes and cashews.  Serve with a crusty loaf of bread…more white wine or perhaps a lovely rosé!  It is really good and a great buffet party salad.  This recipe serves 4 generously.

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All photos from Pinterest, photo credits unknown.

WEDNESDAY MUSINGS: WE CAN TURN BACK TIME

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I decided to watch the Billboard Awards Sunday evening, actually forgoing other programs that held more interest to me but I did what I tell my students to do “expose and educate yourself about things you that you don’t know too much about”…in this case current musical performers.  So there I was watching people perform and receive awards that I had really never heard about. yes, I know John Legend, Lorde, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran, The Weekend, etc. but many I didn’t know nor will I be adding them to my playlist.  I can, in fact, tell you I would sit through the evening many times over just to see Celine Dion and most importantly the one, the only Cher!!!!  Amazing performance and look, I am all about not discussing age but seriously to look and sound like that at 71…no words!!!

Okay, you know I’m going to have a story to tell you about the first time I saw and heard Sonny and Cher…it was in the fall of 1964, no one had ever heard of them.  Let me start at the beginning of this story,  each summer, for many years, all the major stores in Chicago had College Boards. I was in charge of the department (at the beginning I was younger than most of the girls on the Board, they never knew that!) and I personally would interview the young ladies (we didn’t have any young men on the Boards) and would choose six to eight to work in our Debutante Sportswear Collections (now Contemporary Sportswear or whatever it is called today) on the Fifth Floor of Saks Fifth Avenue at the 669 North Michigan Avenue location.  I did a mix of schools, some local, some small, some large, an Ivy League or two, etc. and the young ladies worked as sales associates to assist their peers in selecting their college wardrobes. Often the colleges gave incoming students a list of what they needed to have as they began their college adventures much like going off to camp!  They wore very chic  (and pricey) “uniforms” to identify them from the other sales associates and to be easily spotted on the selling floor.  We set up a special boutique on the floor and pulled merchandise from all over the store, along with accessories, shoes, etc. (there was actually a lower price and younger shoe department on the floor as well).  Each store had its own group and many had much larger groups, such as Marshall Field’s and Carson Pirie Scott and Company, Chas A. Stevens, The Fair and on and on.

You are thinking, okay Nena has finally gone mad what in the world does this have to do with Sonny and Cher…well I’m getting to that…at the end of the summer, just before everyone was heading back to school The Chicago Tribune hosted a huge party, as I recall at the Sherman House (long gone), in a large banquet hall on the lower level of the Hotel.  Each store lined up and their Boards were introduced as they paraded into the hall in their uniforms.  Field’s had dozens of girls and in we came with our six or eight, I must say we always looked extremely fashion forward!  The Tribune always had entertainment, lovely refreshments and brief remarks to send everyone off to their various campuses. image

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When the entertainment was announced out came a unique looking couple, I can’t really say Hippies more like two waifs that had been living in a cabin in the woods.  Totally covered in fur, patterned shirts, and jeans.  The female with luxurious long black hair and gleaming eyes and the male almost elf-like in his manner.  The room was unprepared for them and became quite still. They approached the stage and began to sing I’ve Got You Babe, needless to say, the crowd erupted, it was magic.  50 some years later it still gives me a chill to think about it.   If I Could Turn Back Time……would I, I’ll let you be the judge of that!!!! With Cher still dazzling us who needs to!

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: RARE OBJECTS

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I had this book on my to be read list for a year,( it was published in 2016)  don’t quite know why I hadn’t read it nor why I decided to read it now, never mind, I did read it and here are my thoughts….

First, let me tell you about the plot… our protagonist, Maeve Fanning, a first generation Irish immigrant, is born and raised in Boston, in a poor Italian neighborhood by a single mother.  She takes secretarial courses and moves to New York City to “better” herself.  It is in 1931 and she becomes enamored with the wrong men and bootleg gin and ends up in a psychiatric hospital (you need to read the novel to find out why she is there) where she meets and befriends a strange young woman.  When she gets out she returns to Boston to start over.  She bluffs her way into a position at an upscale Antiques Shop by changing her name to May and dying her naturally red hair platinum blond (she is told by her former secretarial school teacher, who also runs a placement agency, that she won’t get a job not only because it is the Depression but also because she is Irish!)  The owner of the shop has her deliver an extremely important purchase made by a nouveau riche family to their home, upon her arrival she discovers the daughter, Diana Van der Laar, is the young woman she met at the hospital and the story goes from there, throwing “May” into a world of extreme money and the excess it can buy and the lifestyle she thinks she can live.  There are many twists and turns as we take the journey with her.

What is my take away from the novel…actually many things.  Obviously, no matter how much money one has it doesn’t give peace of mind, happiness, nor freedom.  But to May these are the out of reach goals she seeks and feels she will find by being “accepted” into Diana’s circle. May’s mother works in the alterations department at R. H. Stearns in Boston (it became a Federated Store and one that, like Marshall Field’s, lost its name and became Macy’s) and longs to become a salesclerk, that is a position she never gets.  Her work is exemplary (probably why she isn’t moved into a selling position) and she remakes many items for May to present herself properly at work and socially.  It is extremely important to her mother that she always be “correct” in looks and manners.  The book takes us to the world of antiques and how the owners of the shop educate May, (who, by the way, is not only smart but a very quick study and eager to learn about the items she works with as well as the culture the world has to offer) it takes us into the world of buying art and antiques as a way of making a name for oneself in society (the purchase that May delivers to the Van der Laar family is donated to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and put in pride of place in the hall of antiquities!) certainly nothing new there, but interesting to have it outlined in such a detailed and informative manner.  She learns that she doesn’t quite fit into the life she left behind when she left Boston for New York and in the end, most certainly not with the damaged Diana and her “friends” and family!

It is told in the first person narrative, which I think worked well and, to my mind’s eye, it is a coming of age story (although she is in her mid-twenties) filled with an almost Dickens flavor, poor girl strives to better herself, fails, meets wealth hopes to succeed, fails, finds love, fails, seeks friendship, is betrayed, and in the end is transformed into a more understanding, and most certainly, a more informed participant in the way of the world…in other words an independent woman.  I did enjoy the book and would suggest you read it for yourself.  I would love to hear your thoughts after you read it.  I enjoyed Kathleen Tessaro’s thoughtful and insightful look at a time quite different from today (or is it!!!)  I must, however, admit I preferred Ms. Tessaro’s The Perfume Collector. I have not read any of her other books but definitely will put them on my TBR pile, The Debutante looks particularly interesting.

http://www.kathleentessaro.com

 

 

COLLECTIONS: RANDOLPH STREET MARKET — BICYCLES AND PICNICS

imageA vintage card (you can find lots at Randolph Street Market) with old fashion bicycles.

I am so excited to share the information on this season’s first outside/inside Randolph Street Market http://www.randolphstreetmarket.com that will occur on Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28 from 10 to 5 and I thought it was the perfect time to think about all the wonderful picnics we can have this summer and what better way to get to them or travel around when we find the perfect location than on a restored Schwinn bicycle!  Well, lucky us we have just the thing at RSM (of course, we do!!!!) Mike’s Bikes returns for the 11th season.

imageLooks like a perfect day for a picnic.  Not only can you find the right bicycle but you can find all the “fixings” for your picnic as well at RSM.  All you need is a beautiful setting, some yummy food (yes, you can also get some goodies at the Market!) and good friends.  Chicago and all the suburbs have wonderful spots to picnic, or go to Ravinia for one of the fabulous concerts, Harbor Country or neighboring Wisconsin for all their summer events…you can picnic every weekend through October.

Basically, the first thing you see when you arrive at the Randolph Street entrance to RSM is Mike’s Bikes.  Mike is an encyclopedia on the history of Schwinn bicycles, by the way, the company was founded in Chicago in 1895.  He only restores vintage Schwinn and each is totally unique and Mike wants to pair his bikes with the perfect person and lovingly takes the time to talk to each client and explains every detail of each bicycle. I have seen many a happy smile on the new owner’s faces when they leave with a treasure, either to relive their youth and/or form new memories for themselves or their families, it is wonderful to experience their pure joy!

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Michael Mitchell has shared his passion with me and I now share it with you in his words.

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“I have been selling vintage Chicago manufactured Schwinn bicycles at Randolph (May-Sept.) for ten years and I have enjoyed every moment. Along the way, I have met so many interesting people who share the love for these bikes. The bikes make their eyes light up and they begin by reminiscing and sharing childhood experiences of riding bikes with family and friends.
The complete process of reconditioning the average vintage lightweight Schwinn takes approximately ten hours. The process of reconditioning a bike begins with:
1. All bearings cleaned and greased.
2. Worn parts are replaced ( brake pads, brake and gear cables, and ball bearings.
3. Replacement of tires and inner tubes ( if needed)
4. Paint cleaned, polished and waxed.
5. All chrome polished.
At the end of the reconditioning process, the bike is like brand new. If needed, the spokes are replaced and the wheels are trued. And to top it off, all replacement of parts are made with original Schwinn parts.
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I recondition 1960’s – 70’s Schwinns as well as vintage Raleighs (manufactured in Nottingham, England).
As a result of the reconditioning process, each bike is priced individually because many of them require more parts and labor.
I retired from teaching school ten years ago, but prior to that, I was reconditioning the bikes for fifteen years. I was always fascinated with the Schwinn brand since childhood. Schwinns by far were at the top of the list when it came to quality and price. As a child, my family could not afford to purchase Schwinn bicycles, but whenever I saw one, I could see the quality of the bike in its paint, chrome, constructed welds, and overall styling. At the age of fourteen, I had saved up enough money to purchase a 10-speed Schwinn Varsity; I’ve been loyal to the brand since.
The 1960’s-70’s vintage Schwinn bikes that I sell are steel framed bikes that were manufactured in Chicago. These are comfort styled vintage bicycles that were designed to provide the rider with comfort seats and upright handlebars. The popular Schwinn models being sold are the Breeze, Racer, Speedster, Collegiate and Suburban bikes. Each bike is reasonably priced and ready to ride without any expensive repairs.”

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Looks like heaven to me…you can find similar goodies like everything in these photos, maybe not the flowers, at RSM!  The settings are up to you.
How about a couple of recipes for your picnic….one from me and the other from Tom Mantel’s recipe box….
FROM TOM MANTEL’S RECIPE BOX
SPINACH/MUSHROOM QUICHE
Ingredients:
8 oz mushrooms sliced
10 oz fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup Swiss cheese
1/2 cup fontina cheese
4 eggs
2 cups half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pastry crust
Method:
Sauté onions and mushrooms until tender.
Add spinach and a couple tsp of water and cover.
Cook stirring frequently until spinach is wilted, let cool a little.
Place pastry crust (can be homemade or store bought) in Quiche plate or a deep dish pie plate.
Distribute cheese over pastry.
Distribute mushroom onion mix over cheese.
Beat eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper until blended but not frothy.
Pour egg mixture over the spinach cheese mixture.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
A knife inserted in the center should come out clean.
Let cooL before cutting
Can be served warm or room temperature.
Nena’s note, I have had this and it is amazingly delicious!
FROM NENA’S RECIPE BOX
DEVILED EGGS
This is just a what I put in my deviled eggs and it’s really not a recipe…you have to do it to taste…sorry!
Remove the yolks from the hard boiled eggs mash with Durkee’s Dressing (a little goes a long way, you can find it with mustards in your grocery store), Miracle Whip (my mayo), salt, freshly ground pepper and a dash of sugar until smooth (no lumps allowed!) either spoon into whites or if you want to be fancy, use a pastry bag with a fine tip and pipe into whites.  You can add a herb sprig to the top or if it is a very special picnic a dollop of red caviar, why not!  Obviously, the amounts depend upon how many eggs you are doing.  They go like hot cakes so be sure to make enough.
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All images from Pinterest photo credits not available.
Mike’s contact information:

 

WEDNESDAY MUSINGS: BROADWAY AT LYRIC

imageI took this photo with my iPhone while seated in Row X, I think one of the best rows in the House.  Of course, the curtain hadn’t gone up, I would never take photos during any performance.  But isn’t it glorious?  The detail is amazing in its gilding. But I digress…I am going to talk about seeing my most favorite Musical of all time, at this marvel of an Opera House….My Fair Lady!

If you have been following nenasnotes you may recall the post I did on Cecil Beaton when I talked about seeing My Fair Lady the first time…oh, you say, you didn’t see that post…well here is the story!!!  On my very first trip to New York (it was a graduation present from my Father and I went the year after I graduated high school and a year after I started working at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago) I saw several Broadway shows one of which was my first Broadway show on Broadway (understand that Chicago either had pre-Broadway performances and thankfully we still do, think War Paint for an example, or we had the Original Casts think Yul Brenner in The King and I, which Lyric did brilliantly last year so excellent theater wasn’t new to me or to Chicago!) that show was My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews…I mean seriously…. It has been my favorite ever since.  The Cecil Beaton costuming and staging, the marvelous music, all have remained in my memory after all these years.  You can imagine that I was overjoyed when I learned that Lyric was going to mount a production for their 2017 Broadway at Lyric season.

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My dear friends (and family!) Tom Hawley and Tom Mantel have been kind and included me for each of the past productions and once again they treated me to a wonderful afternoon of musical theater.  One should never compare people, times and most certainly not new productions of old favorites and I must say I wasn’t disappointed.  What made it special to me was that they didn’t try to copy the original in any way, except, of course, the music and the Shaw story.

imageThe Ascot Scene

imageHenry’s Library getting ready to leave for the Embassy Ball.

The cast was excellent, the set actually very austere and minimalist, done in a neutral palette with the exception of the garments in the Ascot Scene, the gowns (with the exception of Elisa’s lovely white gown) in the Ball scene, Elisa’s dress in Mrs. Higgins’ home and the flowers in Covent Garden.  It is set later in time, just before World War II the original just before World War I.  The large Lyric stage was made more intimate and the scene in Mrs. Higgins’ I loved with its drapery and “Brancusi” sculpture.

imageElisa giving her jewels back to Henry.

The story is based on the original Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and the Gabriel Pascal movie, Pygmalion, not on the 1956 Broadway production.  Do Henry and Elisa end up together, we will never know, but I certainly hope so being the romantic I am!  Bravo Lyric for yet another superb production. If you haven’t seen it you have until Sunday, May 21st.

Can’t wait for next year’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar, April 27 through May 20, 2018, be sure to mark your calendars now, you know how quickly a year goes.  It along with the 2017-2018 Lyric season information can be found at http://www.lyricopera.org and season tickets are already on sale…yay!!!  I am beyond excited that  Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers is on the bill, my favorite duet of all, it gives me chills just thinking about it…. conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, adore him, and the production (sets and costumes) is designed by Zandra Rhodes (I spent some time with her several years ago at a Costume Society of America Symposium in San Diego, she is an extraordinary talent)…it is a must see on my calendar it should be amazing!!!!

Other than the photo of the Lyric ceiling all photos I found on Pinterest.  Just a reminder that, as always, all the thoughts are mine.

A new site for you to become engaged with Lyric especially if you love musical theater,  the Broadway Benefactors Circle you can join at http://www.lyricopera.org/broadwaybenefactors

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: BEYOND THE LABEL

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I have read so many how to “reinvent” yourself business books over the years, beginning with The Tipping Point, that was required reading for a meeting at Saks Fifth Avenue when it was published, that I thought I really don’t want to read yet another one…but when I read a review of Beyond the Label and made note of its author I became intrigued and put it on my to be read list.  Written by someone who had really come through the ranks of the fashion world from L’Oréal, The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and finally, as Global CEO of Chanel I thought this would be the book for me since I am in the process of reinventing myself through http://www.nenasnotes.com and it’s major learning curve.  I had actually put the book on the TBR list and didn’t think more about it when I received an email from a friend/business associate asking me if I would be interested in interviewing the author, Maureen Chiquet, at a program at the Union League Club in Chicago.  How could I say no?  Well, I didn’t….and I can’t wait to meet this dynamic, insanely talented person and hopefully ask her the questions you would want to have answered (I will do another post after the interview and, fingers crossed, have her answer my profile questionnaire, she would be amazing!)

Here are just a few of my initial observations from the book, which I found not only to be a business manual (silly sounding, I know) but also a memoir and the story of a change of one’s thought of career, as a literature major, to the broad world of fashion.  It has always been my feeling that our industry (fashion) requires a vast knowledge of the world around us with a heavy emphasis on The Arts.  Yes, one needs to have a sense of current affairs, information on the history of the industry (I am fanatical about that!) and, of course, a sound background in business (particularly business math) and most importantly what the consumer wants.  All of these principles are detailed in this well-written and engaging book.  Yes, it is a basis for how to advance your career (in any industry), how to network, (crucial to any career), how to think like your boss before you become one, how to become a listening executive, how to be mentored and therefore, how to mentor. How to know when to make the right move to the next step (probably the hardest learning point of all).  Whew, lots to cover.  Ms. Chiquet has accomplished all of this (and now has reinvented herself again as a savvy author and guide to how to reinvent yourself as well) and much much more with insight, humor, realism as well as telling us how to do all this while being female (the topics discussed have no gender!).  Sad that we still have to think that way, but it is true.  I firmly believe our gender is looked on as more equal in the fashion world…am I being naive, I don’t think so!

Our industry moves at the speed of light and one has to not only go with the trends but make them, she has done it all and I am thrilled that she has shared them with us whether a long time professional or an up and coming novice. She is a role model to everyone no matter gender or age for that matter.  Ms. Cliquet has inspired me to go with what I have always felt true, be true to yourself and the rest will follow.  She has lived this philosophy.  It is my pleasure to recommend this delightful book to you.  I will be recommending it to my students at Columbia College Chicago as assigned reading.

The Union League Club event is open to the public, I hope you can join me in welcoming Ms. Cliquet to Chicago and learn more from this fascinating woman…see below for ticket details….

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/authors-group-presents-maureen-chiquet-tickets-31830023457

The book will be available for purchase on site from The Book Stall, our independent bookseller http://www.thebookstall.com

 

PROFILE: JEANOUCHE WOPINSKI

imageJeanouche when I first knew her.

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Jeanouche today, still the glamour gal!

It’s Model Monday….and I am featuring one of the models that probably did more shows at the time than any of my other models, Jeanouche Wopinski.  She was totally divine on the runway as well as working trunk shows and engaging and enticing the Saks Fifth Avenue clients to love the clothes she was wearing.  She was always a true professional (and a trooper, as you will see by her own admission later in this post!) I have featured several of my models…more to come, in previous weeks, all of whom were standouts, each with their own personality (something lacking today, I’m sorry to say) while not taking away from the garments they were showing.  Is that nostalgia or fact…I can’t really say…instead let’s learn Jeanouche’s reminiscences in her words….

“It all started for me at the age of 14 when I would take the bus downtown every Saturday morning to attend “charm school”. The department stores all offered it and I attend them all. I never told any of my friends I was doing this but I loved it. One week we would learn to walk with a book on our heads another we would learn how to navigate a table of place settings. I was hooked and I knew I was going places.

imageJeanouche’s first composite.

I started modeling in Milan, Italy, then returned to Chicago only to go on to Barcelona Spain.

imageHer Spanish composite.

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imageAbove photos from Jeanouche’s Spanish modeling days. She did lots of editorial work for European Vogue at that time.

The most interesting time was in Spain when agents would take me and my roommate Candace Collins (now Candace Jordan) to Cadaques to have dinner at the home of Salvador Dali and his wife Gala. Candace then went to the Canary Islands to film a commercial and I was a guest a couple more times at the Dali home.  That was fascinating.
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Candace and Jeanouche at the recent Misericordia Heart of Mercy Fashion Show, still friends after all these years and both looking totally amazing!  Photo taken by Nena with iPhone.

imageJeanouche with Salvador Dali in Spain.

Upon returning to Chicago I had a great career doing editorial for both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. I also did many catalogs. I was also in editorials in Mademoiselle and Seventeen and for companies like Bobbie Brooks.  I also did jean ads for Gloria Vanderbilt and Bill Blass.

imageIn a Chicago newspaper editorial.

imageIn an ad for Bill Blass jeans at Chas. A. Stevens

imageAn editorial piece in Woman’s Wear Daily’s Chicago section.

In the late 70’s I did a Carson’s ad with a photographer named Owen Deutsch, there were two other models there. As I was just starting my career here in Chicago, after working in Milan and Barcelona, they suggested I do runway to fill in between photo jobs. After doing research I found that I should meet Dorothy Fuller with the Apparel Mart and Nena Ivon with Saks Fifth Avenue.  I met with both of these women and my life changed forever.

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I started working regularly for both the Apparel Mart and Saks which then led into every account in the city.  I loved it and loved the people I worked with. To this day my close friends are my runway friends.

imageOn the runway at an Apparel Mart show.

In the 80’s runway was key in Chicago we had Saks Fifth Avenue, Marshall Fields, I.Magnin, Bonwit Teller, Wiebolts, Goldblatts, Stanley Korshak, Kanes and many more. Every major store and boutique did shows.

I was privledged to work for SFA very often. I do remember doing informal modeling at a trunk show for Christian Lacroix.  Everyone in the industry came to see the collection. It was so much much fun to be the only model featured in the first collection. I learned so much from being a house model at Saks, I did informal modeling and all of the formal runway designer shows.

imageA Saks evening gown show Jeanouche showing her glamorous persona.

I also loved doing the Thursday Working Women Seminars. It was a small group of girls, usually the same four, and we became very close friends. To this day we are still friends.

imageIn a Saks Working Women Seminar show.

I do have to admit that when I get together with all my runway friends we laugh, just like the old days, no one laughs harder than we do.

imageWith a bunch of the models at an Apparel Mart show.

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With Terri D’

My first favorite designer was Albert Nipon. I remember that being one of my first jobs, I think it was for A.M. Chicago. He had only one model “me”. I was picked up in front of my building in a limo and Mr. Nipon was already in it. Oh. I thought all modeling jobs would be like this, I was treated like a queen.

When I think of my favorite show I can’t imagine narrowing it down to one. I just loved to work so I guess they were all my favorite.

imageJeanouche and Lelar on the runway at a show at Navy Pier.

After modeling, I stayed home to raise my wonderful son. I did it all, every sporting event and even was a cub scout den mother uniform and all. I did work at a local pre-school for a while and then went on to do volunteer work.  I now spend most of my time taking care of my 90 year-old mother.

Everyone asks me what did you learn from all your years of modeling. My answer is— accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

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One time I broke a toe on my right foot and reported to work anyway…Nena’s belief was the show must go on and asked it I could do the show, Nena had all of my right shoes lined up at the start of the runway. Before I went out she would put my shoe on my foot, I would plaster a smile on my face and go out to do my run.  When I would return she would remove my shoe I would then run back to change into my next outfit. We did it 4 times, thank god only 4 changes that show. After the finale, Nena handed me a tissue because by that point I had tears in my eyes, she said to me- “you did it girl – you’re a trooper”.  For some unknown reason I have always remembered that. To this day when I overcome a hardship I say to myself out loud “you did it girl- you’re a trooper! (Nena’s note I sound like a ghoul!!!! I would never ask a model to do anything that they were uncomfortable with…yes, the show must go on but not to anyone’s pain! When I asked J about this and said I was horrified, she said she thought it was funny…)

I always talk about the time I had to call Nena to cancel the Oscar de la Renta show, I was pregnant, I was so nervous. Not to my surprise, she was very excited. That was 23 years ago and we are no longer employer and employee, we are good friends.  I have continued to model in all of Nena’s “reunion shows”, way too much fun!

Nena was a wonderful part of my life and continues to be (Nena’s note…ditto to that Jeanouche!).”

Nena’s note…we seem to have the same theme with all the model postings I have done…the models fondly recall their modeling days and most have stayed friends through the years, I also remember the times over many, many years with different sets of models that the shows were all memorable and were great times…time will tell with our new crop, hopefully, they will have fun memories as well. We need to do another reunion show, I know the crew is ready and very willing and, in my opinion, the audiences would eat it up!!!!

All photographs courtesy of Jeanouche except where noted.