imageAlfie and Terri D’Acona, I would date this 80’s, they look the same!!!  From Terri D’s scrapbook.
I know my readers enjoy my Monday Profile’s, they get many hits, thank you for your support.  And I know you love the stories my models are telling and today’s is not an exception.  Terri D’Ancona and I have known each other for more years that either of us cares to remember, but the memories are good ones to be sure. Terri was one of the small group of models who basically did all my Saks Fifth Avenue shows for years and has been in my Model Reunion shows ever since she reluctantly hung up her modeling pumps!  We often kid about her shoes are always ready to hit the runways whenever I need her and you know what…she isn’t wrong! She is as chic as ever and  (as have all of my “girls”) has kept her figure just in case she gets the call to walk the catwalk!
She has been extremely active in Chicago’s philanthropic scene for many years and not only does she support many organizations in the City but has chaired many galas throughout the years.  She has superb taste in styling her clients, staging interiors, and playing her beloved tennis.
imageTerri and her tennis buddies, in the ’80’s…a lot of familiar faces (Lawrie Weed, I challenge you to name all of them, I know you can!)  Photo from Terri’s scrapbook
imageA newspaper clipping from a Mannequin Ball, for many years one of THE events of the Chicago social season.  Terri and Alfie with Susanne and Ken Johnson. From Terri’s scrapbook.
imageAlfie and Terri today…some things never change.
Terri and Alfie, are beloved by all who know them….here then is a brief story from Terri D’…..
“I started modeling in the year of 1967. The same year I got married. As a teenager, I worked in the summer at a modeling and talent agency. I was 15 when I did my first TV commercial for Ohio Bell Telephone. It’s when direct distance dialing started, DDD. It was the beginning of direct long distance dialing, which meant you did not have to call the operator to have her connect you long distance call.  It was a long time ago!
I had studied Drama from the time I was a little girl and I majored in it in college. I had always wanted a career in the theatre. That is until I married. I found modeling to be the best of both worlds. Runway shows were a wonderful way to connect with an audience and wear and show beautiful clothes. I worked for 25 years and it was the most fun with the most wonderful talented people.
imageWith some of the models after a show.  Photo courtesy Terri’s scrapbook!
I had so many favorite Saks Fifth Avenue shows. But my most favorite has to be the Pump Room luncheon show with Stanley Paul at the Piano.  I had done many of these shows, but the one that sticks out is the most special of them all. Wonderful Nena Ivon, had been nice enough to keep me modeling even though I was pregnant with my first child. You see, Saks at that time, 1971, had a maternity department. I got to show maternity clothes and use my Saks discount ( which is very important) to buy my clothes. I was 6 months pregnant and this was to be my last show. Unbeknownst to me, Nena had planned a surprise baby shower. Not only that, the newspaper photographer was there to chronicle this special moment with a reporter who did an article. My mother was in the audience with a dear friend of the family, Don Loper, a very well known Hollywood designer. This was so much fun Stanley Paul on the piano played songs like, ” I’ve got you under my skin “.  Every song he played had an underlying meaning to my pregnancy. It was hysterical.
After the show was over, Nena had planned a wonderful lunch. All the models brought gifts, but the best gift of them all was the Raggedy Ann needlepoint pillow, backed in red gingham. Nena had made this pillow for me, knowing that I had planned the baby’s room in red and white gingham. I still have that special pillow. It is in my granddaughter, Sedona’s room.
imageSedona with the needlepoint pillow.  Terri said that she knows the story of the pillow and she wants to make sure to have it for her children!
I had so many favorite designers at Saks. Adolfo was so special. He made us girls feel so good and we loved showing his clothes. Also, Galanos. Being in the Galanos show was very special. He had picked his girls for each and every one of his shows.
We girls would diet for a week, cause you really had to be thin to fit his clothes and you had to have small hips. He would audition each model individually. He had you get on a coffee table and pivot so he could see every angle to make sure his clothes would work on you. It was very special when you were chosen and devastating if you weren’t.
imageAnother newspaper clip from Terri’s scrapbook…don’t we all remember the crochet hot pants, maxi coat era!!!!  Seriously, crochet garments are back in fashion!!!!
I remember one of my first shows at Saks was in the store. I think we were showing Nina Ricci, but I’m  not sure. I was very nervous, being the new girl on the block.
We would show the coats and suits and always opened our jacket to show the blouse underneath. Well, I will never forget, this one, very seasoned model, who I  looked up to, went out and opened her jacket, but she had no blouse on and did not realize it.
It was a very funny backstage moment. She laughed and we all laughed with her.
Right now, I  am selling and designing and making jewelry. It’s sort of a hobby. I have a very nice clientele. Alfie and I love vacationing in Capri in the summer. I fell in love with this jewelry designers work in Capri. I bring pieces back to sell. I also consult at Saks, by appointment only.  I used to have my own boutique, Terri D’, on Oak Street, after I retired from modeling. I love retail and helping women with their wardrobe. This all stems from my fashion career. I also do interior design on a very small scale. I love beautiful clothes, furniture, accessories, etc.
My modeling career taught me to always be on time or early. I always allow more than enough time for appointments. I can’t stand to be late. There was no worse feeling in the world, being late for a show. I still, to this day, have nightmares about being late to a show.”
image  A photo for a newspaper editorial, from Terri D’s scrapbook.
I asked Terri what the story is behind the Chicken Terri D’ at Lettuce Entertain You’s Mity Nice Bar and Grill in Water Tower Place here is her answer….
“Funny story about Chicken Terri D’….
Nena’s note…not the best photo, that I took, but you can get the idea of the presentation, it is truly delicious!
“Might Nice Bar and Grill had just opened. I was still modeling and had my store. I was trying to eat healthy with mostly protein. I asked them to make the Parmesan-coated thin scallops of chicken and put them over steamed spinach. Also a side of chopped tomatoes and kalamata olives with capers mixed together. Lots of lemon wedges. (I love lemon and many times I use lemon instead of salt).  The tomato and olive mixture is put over the chicken and spinach with lemon to taste.
When Mighty Nice opened, we would go at least twice a week. We always took friends there. I always ordered, what is known as Chicken Terri D’. All my friends would come in and ask for the chicken that Terri D’ always ordered. It became so popular, that they added it to the menu. It’s been on for years. A few years ago, they decided to remove the dish from the menu. The received so many complaints,  that they had to put it back on. Anton (the one and only) Maitre D told me the story. It’s a Melman Lettuce Entertain You restaurant Rich and Martha Melman are good friends and we always enjoy their restaurants. Having a dish named for me is my claim to fame.”
(Nena’s note, I almost live at Mity Nice, FoodLife and FoodEase love them and order Chicken Terri D’ more often than not…two of my all time favorite Chicago restaurants are Everest, my #1 favorite, I have had many special evenings there, including my Saks 50th Anniversary dinner, and an extraordinary special birthday celebration with dear friends and Ambria, now no longer with us! Cheers to Rich Melman and his incredible teams and his vision for restaurants in Chicago and around the country, he is truly a restaurant icon!)

“One of my favorite recipes.
This works great with the frozen sea bass from Costco, I promise.
If I’m in a hurry, I use teriyaki sauce and leave out the curry.
The fresh ginger and green beans are a must.
Can be prepared ahead and baked when guests arrive for an easy,no-fail dinner party entree.”
1 1/2 pound plum tomatoes each cut into 8 wedges
1 large onion halved through root end, each half cut into thin wedges
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 oz. green beans, trimmed, and cut diagonally into 2″ pieces
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4-5  6 oz. sea bass fillets, each about 1 1/2″ thick
Preheat oven to 400º.  Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Combine tomatoes, onion, and garlic on prepared sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil to coat. Spread in an even layer.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Roast until onion begins to brown, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.
Remove baking sheet from oven and increase temperature to 450º,  Mix beans, curry, and ginger into tomato mixture, top with fish.  Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper.  Spoon some of the tomato mixture over the fish.  Roast until fish is just opaque in the center, about 18 minutes.  Transfer fish to plates spooning tomato mixture over them.

14 thoughts on “PROFILE: TERRI D’ANCONA

  1. Abby April 3, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    How can one purchase Terri D’Ancona’s jewelry?

    • nenasnotes April 3, 2017 / 12:16 pm

      Give me your email and will find out for you.

  2. Ron Veltman April 3, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    I always admired Terri as a model and as a true Chicago original.She and her husband Alfie were fixtures on the social scene as long as I can remember. I especially recall when she modeled for a fur fashion show by Irv and Carol Ware at Dugans Bistro in the 80’s.That show mixed the “girls” from the Baton (Chili Pepper) and high fashion models like Terri together for a benefit. It was a smashing success.

    • nenasnotes April 3, 2017 / 2:22 pm

      Totally agree Ron they are very special people. Love your show story what a fun event. Thanks for sharing.

  3. lawrieweed April 3, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    Terri’s friends: Teddy Foufas, Sharon Harris Hart, Margie Ware, Dick Himmel, Marcie Goldberg, Stanley Paul, Mrs. Warren Barr, Sally Berger, Jim Gregga, Nicky Harris. Terri, ???, Zarada Gowenlock’s sister are in front. How did I do?

    • nenasnotes April 3, 2017 / 3:45 pm

      Pretty good. I didn’t know if I should identify them or not. Can do a repost later!!!

  4. Quenten Schumacher April 5, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    I love hearing how Chicken Terri D came to be! It’s one of my most favorite dishes in Chicago and has been since discovering it. Thanks Nena!

    • nenasnotes April 5, 2017 / 12:17 pm

      I know, I feel the same, so I thought why not go to the source and get the story. Glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Shelley April 5, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    No one does it quite like Terri…Terri is one in a million! Extraordinarily gifted chef and designer. Loved reading her story. Nena, so glad you are sharing with everybody. So much fun to relive all our memories!

    • nenasnotes April 5, 2017 / 3:45 pm

      Totally agree Shelley. Thanks so much for your comments and support. Love ALL my model girls you were THE best!!!!

  6. Karen Ryan August 1, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    Nena – I can’t believe I forgot to reply…although only a couple of years older, Terri was one of my role models: on the runway and in life! A dear friend to this day, and one classy lady!

    • nenasnotes August 1, 2017 / 8:04 pm

      Couldn’t agree more, lucky me to have worked with all of you!

  7. Rita Ryan August 25, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    Great article! I worked at MF&Co when Water Tower opened and all those girls were so wonderful. Virginia Lang used to organize events in the Designer Salon. I remember Terri’s cheesecake recipe being in a food magazine back in the day and I found this site by googling her. Now I want to go back and read your archives!

    • nenasnotes August 25, 2017 / 4:43 pm

      Thank you so much. Terri has been a friend for years and one of my top models. It was a delight to profile her. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the article and I hope you enjoy following nenasnotes. Isn’t GOOGLE the best!!

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