FASHION FLASHBACK/FASHION NOW: CAROLINA HERRERA

imageAs you know I have had the incredible pleasure of working with many, many designers and lifestyle personalities over my many years at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago.  Among my favorites was (and is!) Carolina Herrera.  Not only an extremely talented designer but probably, even more importantly, one off the nicest people you can meet in or out of the world of fashion!  I had the privilege of working with her on several occasions over the 36 years of her career (the House of Herrera celebrated their 35th Anniversary in 2016). The photos above were a part of my desinger wall in my office they are now housed in the Nena Ivon Collection in the Archives and Special Collections at Columbia College Chicago.  Two weren’t glazed so you see a vintage look to them which I find charming.  I have never seen a bad photo of Carolina.  She would sign a new one each time she visited. She is a photographers dream and has been shot by the best including our own genius Victor Skrebneski, the remarkable Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol to name a few.  Every artist has used her as their muse and one of my personal favorites is David Downton’s piece he did for her SCAD exhibition. I really want a portrait by him…follow his Instagram posts… I would show them to you but I would probably be sued for copyright violations so please go online and enjoy them for yourself.

imageHad to do this…the truly exquisite Carolina Herrera in front of the iconic Warhol piece.

Carolina was “discovered” by Diana Vreeland who admired her personal style (Carolina was on the Best Dressed List long before she started her business and she and her husband, Reinaldo, were/are in the heart of the International social scene)  and encouraged her to start designing, again Diana was correct with her discriminating eye and we all have been able to enjoy and wear the glamour and excitement of Carolina Herrera since 1981.

imageimageimageDiana Vreeland and Carolina in the top photo and two pieces from her first collection…I was there and it was amazingly beautiful.  Her evening gowns were and are the elegant way to look at any formal occasion and her day pieces are timeless as well.

imageimageTwo Monographs, you know me and books especially on fashion….the top title published in 2016 to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Carolina Herrera. 

imageAt her perfume launch

imageI know I have posted this photo before but why not again….four of our visiting designers at the Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago Place opening party September 1990.  Left to right, Adolfo, Carolina, Pauline Trigère and Bob Mackie.  I’m on the left and Beverly Blettner, the event chair, is pictured on the right. I have another version of this photo (which I can’t locate, sorry) that has Adolfo and Carolina laughing…the photographer had asked if they were married, don’t know why the question was asked but it broke up all the designers!

imageAt the Fashion Group International Chicago www.chicago.fgi.org Gala when Carolina was presented with their Night of Stars Designer of the Year Award 2004.  It was at the Ritz Carlton Chicago.  At that event, she asked me how long have we worked together, both our responses were, “since the beginning”!  Her latest award from all her Chicago admirers was this Spring when she received the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum’s www.chicagohistory.org Designer of Excellence Award.  I must add we have lovely representation of the House of Herrera in the Costume Collection. The above three photos are from the Nena Ivon Collection in the College Archives and Special Collections at Columbia College Chicago  wwwdigitalcommons@colum.edu

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I featured a couple of pieces from the Carolina Herrera Spring 2018 Collection in my posts on New York Fashion Week….let’s look at a couple more that were my favorites.  The Collection was shown in the Museum of Modern Art’s Garden a first for MOMA and for Herrera and it won’t be the last they plan on showing there for the next few seasons, the Collections have been shown at The Frick Museum the past few seasons.

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And here is your personal invitation to see the Resort and Spring 2018 Collections…I would suggest you take advantage of this opportunity to see these treasures in person and find something special to add to your wardrobe.image

imageCarolina today in her signature white shirt, let’s look forward to many more years with this creator’s truly glorious garments!

In closing I want to direct you to the Carolina Herrera website, www.carolinaherrera.com it is extraordinary and you will learn much more about this unique talent that I have had the great privileged to have had in my fashion life!

ALL PHOTOS UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED ARE FROM PINTEREST PHOTO CREDIT UNKNOWN

TWO ANNOUNCEMENTS, AS ALWAYS ALL THOUGHTS ARE MINE AND I AM NOT COMPENSATED BY THE BRANDS I AM CURRENTLY DISCUSSING.

IN YESTERDAY’S HALLOWEEN POST STEPHANIE LAKE’S WEBSITE WAS NOT CLEAR THE CORRECT INFORMATION IS www.stephanielakedesign.com MY APOLOGIES TO STEPHANIE!!

 

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COLLECTIONS: HALLOWEEN

PLEASE CORRECT STEPHANINE LAKE’S WEBSITE THE CORRECT INFORMATION IS www.stephanielakedesign.com MY APOLOGIES FOR THE ERROR!

 

imageGrab your candy corn this is going to be a long post and I hope a fun one, we all love Halloween don’t we!!!!  It seems that everyone now decorates for this spooky holiday and spend over 9 million dollars on it, oh my, that is scary!!!! I wonder how much of that is spent on Pumpkin Spice items…..or maybe that would be another several million!!!

CORRECTION SHOULD READ 9 BILLION $$$$$$$$

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The holiday began in ancient times, the Celtics had the festival of Samhain to celebrate their New Year began on November 1. All Hallows Eve became Halloween sometime in the late 1800’s a time to go trick-or-treating, carve pumpkins, get dressed up in costumes and all in all come to the end of a season and get ready for winter.  There is so much to learn about ALL the traditions that I encourage you to do a bit of research on your own and, of course, be sure to watch the Giant Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, a yearly tradition…he will appear one of these years!

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Let’s begin with pumpkins…having a very talented artist as a Father I had amazingly glorious carved pumpkins and I could carve my own acorn squash, I don’t remember having the charming small pumpkins and other decorative gourds back in the day.  We always had several, one was never enough and I got to help scoop out the pulp and seeds anytime I could spend with my Daddy I did so and I very happy to say he always had lots of time for me…only great memories.  I now see painted pumpkins, glittered pumpkins, gilded pumpkins, and on and on…love them all.  Here are some photos of some of the thousands you can find on Pinterest and Instagram…enjoy…

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Do come to Randolph Street Market www.randolphstreetmarket.com this weekend, October 28 and 29 from 10 to 5 where you will find lots of vintage Halloween items. I had a huge Halloween party every year from grade school through high school.  Everyone, of course, came in costume, mine, for several years, was a white fringed cowgirl outfit that Mom fashioned each year worn with handtooled white leather boots that we got each year when we spent the summer in Midland, Texas (yes, you heard that correctly!), cowgirl hat and gloves….I thought I was Dale Evans (I was crazy about Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger, what can I say!) Mom decorated every inch of our homes with crepe paper and traditional Halloween paper goods (see what you can find at RSM, I can assure you lots….)  We always had a sit down meal also themed as well as games.  We went trick-or-treating on Beggar’s Night as well as Halloween alternating different neighborhoods…it was the best time ever!

A couple of books on collecting Halloween items….

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Here are some of the decorations we had when I was a child….

imageI had all of these…aren’t they super and now very collectible, see what RSM has…

imageimageimageWe would often have these to go trick-or-treating….hard to find now but great fun to fill with goodies.

imageAbsolutely love this, I want to go to this party…a great way to display all the collectibles you will find at Randolph Street Market.

imageWhen you are in the South Bend area please make a stop at Council Oak Antiques at 50981 S.R. 933 N. as you can see the vendors are ready not only for Halloween but for the rest of the Fall celebrations.  They are open daily and I am mad for the Owner’s Instagram account patricia_mcmahon_smith, do check it out. Photo courtesy of Council Oak Antiques.

There are a zillion haunted houses to visit, parties to go to or host your own, my favorites are at The Peninsula Chicago, hurry home from the Randolph Street Market on Saturday don you costume and attend this year’s extragranza…here are the details…image

And for the children, the party is Saturday morning, also at The Peninsula Chicago www.chicago.peninsula.com….Party invitation graphics courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago.

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Here is our precious Odette modeling her butterfly costume exclusively for nenasnotes photo by Stephanie Lake….

imageimageimageJust perfection…..

imageWorking on Halloween Haunted House….

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TheFinished Halloween House…scary!!!!

imageimageThe above seven photos courtesy of Stephaine Lake, www.lake@stephanielakedesign.com  go to the nenasnotes archives for the week of December 12th for the series of profiles I did on Stephanie…you wont’t be disappointed!!!

imageAfter the festivities I am ready for my treats…and you!!!!!

imageOn my way home…….

 

 

All photos from Pinterest, credits unknown, unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY MUSINGS: CORK

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By now you know my brain wanders all over the place…take cork for an example, today’s subject!  I was at one of my new most favorite restaurants, MARISOL www.marisolhicago.com at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.  The Museum is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary, more on that in a future post.  Back to Marisol….I have been waiting for it to open for months and anticipated a new neighborhood place to hang out and I have definitely found it!  Love the atmosphere, the staff, headed by General Manager, Sarah Martins, is amazing, they are courteous, remember your name after one visit (what??????) and smile, what a concept, and the food, yes. the food is beyond yummy.  More on this new place in yet another post, fingers crossed that Chef Jason Hammel will share a recipe or two with us.  Wait, isn’t this post about cork, you ask, yes it is!  Here is why.

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My wine buddies joined me one evening and we were having our wine when Jason, our server extraordinaire, asked if we didn’t want a bottle with our dinner, we, of course, agreed, why not…it was a lovely Gamay.  Jason opened the bottle, presented me with the cork and the first sip to taste.  Looking at the cork, I decided that I needed to do a post on cork…of course, I did.  I explained to Jason and my dinner friends that is how my crazy mind works.  It brought to my mind the reason you are handed the cork, most certainly not to sniff it unless you want to have the smell of “cork”!  It is to let you know that the cork has the name of the winemaker/vineyard on it ad that it matches what you have ordered.  In years long gone, labels became illegible but the cork with its brand endured.   There is a great article on the website VinePair in their Wine Geekly posts on “What To Do With The Cork When Your Server Presents It!” Go to their site if you want to learn more, www.vinepair.com

I then, of course, started researching cork and where it comes from, actually from the cork oak from Southwest Europe and Northwest Africa, the bark is harvested, the trees are not cut down.  Cork is used in approximately 60% of all wine corks, you now can find synthetic corks and screw tops.  It is also used in musical instruments, flooring, wall covering, the interior cores of baseballs (who knew!!!) etc. etc. etc. In my life, my Father’s drawing board was topped with cork as was his inspiration wall (great for tacking bits and pieces) in his at-home studio.

imageAs the bark looks before it is harvested.

imageThe look of the pressed cork that would have been on my Father’s drawing board and wall.

Let’s look at a few decorative ways to use corks, I love to collect them on trips (use to do match boxes but who has those anymore!!!!) here are some ways you can use them in your home.

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imageimageChampagne corks for this chandelier.

imageOf course a book on the subject, you know me and books, To Cork or Not to Cork by George M. Faber.

A couple of games…

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And in fashion…

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The Nike LeBron 12 EXT “King’s Cork” shoe from the Nike website.

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The iconic Salvatore Ferragamo cork and suede wedge made for Judy Garland in 1938.  It is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collections.

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Dutch designer, Jan Taminian cork platform boots worn by Lady Gaga

imageTwo exquisite headpieces by Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen worn by Isabella Blow.

imageThis movie has very little to do with cork but it is one of my favorites and I adored Alan Rickman in anything and he is superb in this film, I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it or see it again!

I could easily go on for pages, which I usually do, there are so many images on Pinterest and online that it is hard to stop but stop I shall.  Look for yourselves who knows you might get inspired to do a cork craft after you have opened your own bottle of wine, looked at the brand on the cork and enjoyed a glass or two!

All photos, unless otherwise noted, from Pinterest photo credits unknown.

 

 

 

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: THE ESSENCE OF MALICE

imageI am a sucker for a glamorous couple involved in a mystery, aren’t you….as another of my favorite authors, Deborah Crombie, says on this books cover “Amory Ames and her rakish husband, Milo, might just be the new Nick and Nora Charles.”  One lives in hope.

I have enjoyed the first of this series of books and this one not only didn’t disappoint but gave me a bit of a respite from all the craziness of the anxious world we now live in!  Take me to Lake Como, where our story begins, or more importantly to Paris (at any time, please!!!) I always listen to music when I am reading (always have even when I was doing school homework, I must have sound at all times!!!)  I put on some of my Jazz along with some of my dear Stanley Paul’s www.stanleypaul.com playlist, which always soothes me, and read the entire book in short time.  Today I am posting listening to our treasured WFMT-FM www.WFMT.com what would we do without this station.  They are currently doing their Fall Membership Drive, do subscribe, donate, get involved with them or we shall lose our only Classical Music station, that would be horrendous….(not a paid announcement just from my heart).  Oops, I got off track, what a surprise!

While staying in Lake Como on an extended trip to the Continent, Milo receives word from his former nanny, Madame Nanette, (we get the backstory of his childhood throughout the book, much of it news to Amory) requesting his help in Paris.  Her employer, the powerful owner of a major company, dies suddenly and so the mystery begins.  Madame Nanette is certain that he has been murdered and that the murderer is in the household or perhaps one of his rivals.  Amory always loves an intrigue and this one appeals to both her and her charmer of a husband who often leaves her alone to attend gambling halls as well as nightclubs.  Amory often goes along to the clubs but gives Milo space, which in this story takes on a life of its own!  We are, of course, drawn into the intrigue until the conclusion (I must admit I thought it was someone else, as did Amory…Milo set both of us straight…).  I don’t want to do spoilers….it is definitely a fun read (can a murder mystery be “fun”, on dear!) with some twists and turns.

Why did I enjoy The Essence of Murder, I’ve mentioned a few reasons already but what I haven’t told you is that the Belanger empire at stake is the most important French perfumery and the launch of its new fragrance is imminent.  Who will inherit the company?  The daughter is the likely person, she is the logical choice since she is the only one of the three children (two boys and Cecile) who creates scents and is interested in perfume.  She has worked at her father’s side since she was a little girl.  The oldest son, Anton, a bitter young man, is the business end of the company and the younger brother, Michel, a scoundrel (I’ve always wanted use that description and in this case apt!). Helios Belanger was now married to a much younger English woman, with whom he has a young daughter, how are they involved?  Getting back to why I enjoyed the book….the story of perfume, descriptions of the fashions of the mid to late twenties, the interiors of the grand houses and grounds, parties of the time, the manners…loved it all.  In addition, I seem to be reading a lot about strong women at times that being strong and independant was a challenge, I guess one can say it is always a challenge but when we think where we are now compared to the beginning of the last century we have come a lonnnnng way but still have a long way to go, baby!

I look forward to more from Ashley Weaver www.ashleyweaver.com as she lets our heroine and rakish husband pursue other mysteries in an entertaining, elegant, stylish manner…bring it on!  Pick up the book at your Independent Bookseller pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine or cup of afternoon tea and enjoy this debonaire couple and their adventures.  Do let me know your thoughts.

 

PROFILE: LIZ KLAFETA ENTREPRENEUR EXTRAORDINAIRE

imageLiz Klafeta

In all the Profiles I have done this past year I have either featured my former models, other friends, business associates and new acquaintances all of whom have had fascinating stories to tell.  Today I am featuring a wonderful success story of one of my former Columbia College Chicago students, Liz Klafeta.  I was invited to attend an event at a new West Town apartment building that was a Networking reception and panel discussion about how to use technology to your advantage in advancing your career path, it was fascinating.  Samantha Saifer Berngard, (last week’s Profile!) our hostess, pulled together a perfect mix of speakers and, in turn, has given me the opportunity to feature four of them, including herself in my Monday posts.  I was thrilled to reconnect with Liz, I haven’t seen her since she graduated.  She has an extraordinary story to share…..let’s see what she has been up to (it’s a lot!)

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT

Hmm….I definitely obsessed and spent a lot of time contemplating and thinking about things whenever I was or am designing a project.  When other people see what I completed and their mouths would drop open, I thought I might be onto something.  Continual praise from multiple people helped as well. That’s actually when I knew the other person was not just being nice and maybe I was doing something well because everyone just isn’t THAT nice!

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT” EXPLAIN

“Made it” well that is a pretty secure statement and I don’t think anyone should ever get super secure! I still don’t think that I have “made it”, but I do know that I make spaces that people really enjoy staying in.  The letters and notes from countless guests have reassured me of this and having my home featured on HGTV helped solidify this feeling.

We grew 100% the first year, 100% the next year, and now BANGTEL consists of 6 full-time employees and many independent contractors in each city of our locations. Last year, 3 people tried to buy into us.  It was like an episode of Shark Tank.  That’s also when I realized we had something special. BANGTEL is still 100% owned by myself, currently.

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HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW

I love transforming things into something completely different.  I was constantly remodeling my mom’s home when I was little to the point where it annoyed her.  I got into Fashion Styling and Prop Styling was less to things to schlep around believe it or not.  You could not bring 5 credenzas to set, but you could bring 5,000 turtlenecks to set.  As I continued to do more Prop Styling, I was also simultaneously rehabbing my townhouse that I purchased when I was 23 years old.  When this was completed and I had officially gotten burned out on the advertising world, I started hitting up landlords to see if I could rehab their homes on my dime.  So silly, but that’s how bad I wanted to design.  Let me pay for your rehab as a bargaining tactic for the landlord to let me Airbnb. I love designing and I love taking care of people so here I am, perfectly content!

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WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE

Singer, but I can’t sing so that was never REALLY an option.  This current career choice was a complete accident, but a happy one!

YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, MOVIE, THEATER

Favorite Book is probably “Many Minds, Many Masters” because it put my mind at ease early on about what is life all about and why are we here.  I still buy copies and hand it out to my friends.  I think every single one of my friends has gotten a copy from me.

Favorite dish is the greek salad with smoked salmon from 12 Chairs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  I don’t eat or smoke crack, but I think there must be crack in it because it’s an addiction.  Please, everyone, go there so it never ever goes out of business!  It also doubles as my office when I am in New York working.

HOBBIES….

Laughing, dancing, coffee, catching up with friends and family, having amazing meals, dancing, reading interior magazines, designing, and, did I say dancing?

HOME….MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES (WHAT ERA) ECLECTIC

Well, people live in my real home full time, but it is pretty modern and eclectic.  My future home when I am happy with where BANGTEL is, (not sure if that will happen because I honestly want to be everywhere and pretty much live in the spaces as I design them), will be a lot of glass, tile, and burnt charcoal wood. Cement integrated sinks and countertops, amazing art, and oddball sculptures that make people say, “What the hell?”  That’s what I love to do.  Inspire people to say, “what the hell?!”

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WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER (LIVING OR DEAD) AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE

OMG, this is a fun one!  David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Twiggy, Cher, Bob Marley, Dahli Lama, Anne Frank, Barbie, Mickey Mouse, Banksy, and Princess Diana.  EEK.  That’s 13 (Nena’s note I added Liz so it is 14…never mind!), but I think that is a great mix.  Kind of sounds like a BANGTEL party where you could find the Dominatrix talking to the Trademark  Lawyer about her favorite vacation spot.  I, of course, would serve Champagne from the South of France and an unlimited Seafood Tower. Dessert would be truffles and my sister’s, Gina Klafeta, vegan ice cream sandwiches, called Nana Creme www.nanacreme.com go buy them!

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FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND/OR ON LIST

Capetown probably because I said I wanted to buy a place there in a year. I have not made it back yet because there are so many places I want to make it to at least once.

I am a sucker for amazing beach vacations, though, so Phuket, Thailand, or Maui have been my favorites.

ON this list this year is Iceland and New Zealand.

FAVORITE NEW CHICAGO RESTAURANT

Beatnix, which is owned by my favorite place to dance, Disco at Celeste. Get the Tomahawk Steak and the oysters.

FAVORITE CHICAGO STREET ART

What comes to mind right away is because when I am here I drive down Grand and Damen a lot.  It is the teddy bear mural by JC Rivera www.jcrivera.com  I always smile at Giant teddy bears on a random building. Cool. Haha.

imageimagePhotos from Pinterest credit unknown.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED

Kind and fucking hilarious!

imageAll photos of Liz and her BANGTEL properties are courtesy of Liz Klafeta.

LIZ’S FAVORITE RECIPE: THE BEST GUACAMOLE OF YOUR LIFE!

4 avocados

1 tomato

1/2 red onion

2 jalapeño peppers

Cilantro

2 limes

Sea salt

SWEET STUFF

Raw Samoas

The good tortilla chips from the Mexican Grocery Store!

LIZ’S FAVORITE LINKS

BANGTEL.com!   Follow us on social and stay with us in Chicago, MIAMI, New York, Cabo, Michigan and soon to be Palm Springs.

My amazingly talented friends:

http://colleendurkin.com/

https://www.jasonrobinette.com/

http://aleksevaphoto.com/

https://www.natashagornik.com/

http://briansorg.com/

LIZ, A MILLION THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON MY NENASNOTES JOURNEY AND SHARING YOUR EXTRAORDINARY CAREER PATH…CAN’T WAIT TO DO A “STAYCATION” AT ONE OF YOUR PROPERTIES…I WOULD SAY NEXT STEPS A HGTV SHOW AND BOOK!  I’LL LOOK FORWARD TO POSTING CHAPTER 2 ON MY BLOG!!!

PROFILE: SAMANTHA SAIFER BERNGARD

imageSamantha Saifer Berngard, Partner, Boldface Co.  Photo by Monia Ponce.

I am excited to start my Monday Profiles again…..and wanted to share a special lady’s story with you.  I met Sam several years ago….when she was at CS and I was still at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago.  We worked on a couple of events together and then re-engaged when she was at SPLASH.  We have kept in touch over the years and she was kind to invite me to a recent panel discussion with female entrepreneurs which I thoroughly enjoyed.  A fascinating presentation, lively Q and A.

Sam is definitely the face of the young modern woman, a wife, mother of two precious children and a true professional with her own business.  Let’s learn about her journey.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT

I went to school for journalism. I always had a passion for magazines, and I was always told that I was a good writer. Ever since I was little, I was infatuated with magazines and wanted to write for them! I interned at the best New York magazines – People . . . Conde Nast, etc. all through college. I graduated college and the only job I could get was assistant to the publisher at CS magazine. I thought it would be the perfect foot in the door to eventually transition into an editor position. Little did I know, the publisher felt I had a better talent for throwing parties / events / creating marketing programs, etc. I had never done anything like it but it all came so natural. I realized that maybe I never really enjoyed writing at all (I think the deadlines made me anxious!) and that throwing events was what I really enjoyed. It came easily, and I didn’t just like it – I LOVED it! From then on, I knew I was not meant to sit behind a keyboard.  Networking, meeting new people, organizing groups of people and curating awesome experiences – those are my talents!

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT”

I’m still not sure I have – ha! When I decided to go off on my own and join my business partner at Boldface Co., I was super nervous that it would be challenging to keep a steady list of clients and make a living vs. working for a company full time. The fact that we have never had to go after clients and have maintained a full book of business at all times . . .  that makes me feel truly successful! Also, being happy with my life and loving it – that is true success.

HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW

As I mentioned above, I always thought of my future self as a big time writer / journalist .  .  . my background in journalism led me to go to school in DC at George Washington University. It gave me many opportunities that I would not have originally had AND introduced me to all the right people. Once I decided to shift gears into marketing, event planning and now PR – I still utilize a lot of the skills I learned in school.  I truly believe in the importance of every single rung when you are climbing your career ladder. Keep in touch with everyone. Don’t burn bridges with anyone and pay attention to everything!

WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE

Now I look back in my training in journalism and wish I would have pursued broadcast journalism. I could have been the next Savannah Guthrie – ha! I am definitely a morning person, and I love to talk! I could have killed it!

YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, MOVIE, THEATER (BALLET, OPERA, SYMPHONY, TYPE OF MUSIC) LOCAL RESTAURANT

Favorite Book: The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss. I read it to my kids and it reminds me of the infinite possibilities that life offers and how much they have to look forward to!

Theater: I am a SUCKER for Bye Bye Birdie – favorite musical of all time! I go to my friend Graham’s house and sing showtunes on the piano regularly. His husband had to learn Bye Bye Birdie for me!

Local Restaurant:  Le Colonial http://www.lecolonialchicago.com it’s been around 20 years and they have never changed their menu. It’s always the best experience!

HOBBIES….

I can’t remember my hobbies pre kids, but I most enjoy spending time with my kids (1 & 3) in my spare time. Everything we do together is my favorite thing to do! We have a lot of fun. If I get out on my own with friends – I sure do enjoy karaoke!

imageSam and her “Crew” on a recent Windy City Live (ABC Channel 7 weekdays at 1:00) the spot was for one of her clients, Monica + Andy www.monicaandandy.com

HOME….MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES (WHAT ERA) ECLECTIC

Our home has a modern and very open vibe. I like to think it reminds me of a little beach shack in the middle of Bucktown. It is cozy and nothing is too expensive (everything breaks with kids!) It’s definitely a house made for entertaining. We love to have people over more than anything!

imageWith husband, Jason, Brooklyn and Baby Billie June….they look like a photo out of Central Casting….photo by Suzy Brown for Monica + Andy.

WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER (LIVING OR DEAD) AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE

OH WOW! That is a lot of pressure. I would probably have Michelle Obama, Olivia Wilde, Madonna, Joan Rivers, Jackie O, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton and Goldie Hawn  over for the most wild GNO / dance party of all time. I don’t know / care what we would eat – but I would have some excellent wine!

I’d also love for my mom, best friend and mother in law to join in because I think they would enjoy it!

FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND/OR ON LIST

We took our son to  Isla De Holbox last year and had one of the best trips ever. It’s such a gorgeous untouched island, and Mexico is a very special place for our family. We met the most wonderful people who we still keep in touch with and hope to go back soon!  Italy will also have a spot in my heart because I studied there in college.

imageCamping with Billie June at one of the Berngard’s favorite summer vacation spots, Camp Wandawega (A nenasnote…I must do a post on this amazing place!!!) www.campwandawegacom

FAVORITE NEW CHICAGO RESTAURANT

Giant www.giantrestaurant.com

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FAVORITE CHICAGO STREET ART

I love Hebru Brantley http://www.hebrubrantley.com and his super hero mural on the Hollywood Cleaners in Wicker Park (image below).

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I also love the “We All Live Here” tags throughout Chicago – reminds me how powerful our Chicago community is. . .

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED

Sweet & kind + ridiculously fun!

imageWith Billie June at Stephanie Izard and Paul Kahan’s recent Harvest Fest.

A FAVORITE RECIPE

My favorite recipe of all time is my mom’s “Sus” chicken! It’s a family favorite but I can’t give away the recipe 😉

I also look forward to my mom’s vegetable stuffing –we have it every Thanksgiving and sometimes stuffed in chicken breast – it’s amazing!!!

MOM’S VEGETABLE STUFFING

(serves 9 – can be made the day before serving)

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped carrots

1 box (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

4 ozs. Sliced mushrooms

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp.pepper

½ tsp crushed rosemary

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup chicken broth

8 slices day-old white bread cut into cubes

Make the day before: cube bread and put in plastic bag

  1. Large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion, celery and carrots and cook 8 minutes stirring occasionally.
  2. Add spinach and mushrooms and cook 2 min more
  3. Remove skillet from heat
  4. Stir salt, pepper, and rosemary into beaten egg
  5. Pour egg and seasonings over the vegetables and mix well
  6. Put bread cubes in a very large pan or mixing bowl and pour vegetables over the bread cubes. Mix well. Pour cup of broth over and mix well.

Put in casserole dish, 2 quart size. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min.

BLOGS YOU FOLLOW

I love The Cut https://www.thecut.com – it’s basically how I keep up with my fashion news & not sure if a blog but https://www.theskimm.com is my go to for all news

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Off for a busy day of event planning for Boldface Co. www.boldfacechicago.com, (actually getting ready for an event in NYC) which Sam does so well.  Sam, a million thanks for taking time from your hectic schedule to answer the nenasnotes questionnaire and supplying me with such delightful photos!

REFLECTIONS ONE YEAR LATER: A REINTRODUCTION

Here is what I wrote one year ago today when I launched NENASNOTES, as I begin my second year, my goals remain the same.  I have tweaked the daily themes a bit but the concept hasn’t changed. I will be adding new features and ask that you watch for an upcoming announcement of how you can supoort me and what incentives you can expect.  I hope you are enjoying my thoughts on the variety of lifestyle things that interest me…so I say, Happy Birthday NENASNOTES and I hope you, my followers, will continue to join me on a regular basis and invite your friends to have their morning coffee with us as well.

October 13, 2016

Well, here we go….I have been waiting to start my blog NENASNOTES for what seems like ages, actually, it has been ages!

I, therefore, feel it is necessary to give you my thoughts on what you can expect on what will become daily postings.

It began with the current trend of focusing on people reinventing themselves, through career and/or lifestyle changes.  I realized that there are so many of my friends and acquaintances whose diverse lives now are totally different from how they started.  First up were my many former models who were superstars in the myriad shows I produced during my lengthy career as Fashion and Special Director at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago.  Most, if not all, have totally changed careers and become successful with their new life choices.  You will learn their stories, reminiscences and photos from then and now.

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I thought why not carry this further to my other friends and people I know who had fascinating stories to tell and was I correct in that assumption!  I began this process with a handful of people, which soon became many more, by doing an in person hour long taped conversational interview and Proust-like questionnaire.  Again, I asked for photos and this time a favorite recipe. I hope you will enjoy these posts as much as I am enjoying gathering them.  They are riveting.

These two groups of conversations will be my Monday posts, here is what I have planned for Tuesday through Friday:

Tuesday….Books, books, books.  I’m afraid I have a book fetish, especially fashion books. It seems to be my goal in life to own every fashion book printed!!! So we will start there.  I do read a lot, particularly historical fiction, I love fiction about “real” people, we will go that route as well.  Nothing like a good English mystery but don’t mind a “Cozy” once in awhile and can never miss Louis Penny’s newest (who doesn’t love Armand!).  So much to read so little time.

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  A SAMPLING OF THE CHANEL LIBRARY

Wednesday….Miscellany day could be a great recipe, restaurant, movie, play….whatever strikes my fancy that week.

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CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM TIFFANY STAINED GLASS

Thursday….Homes and Gardens, again tapping my friends and their eclectic styles, mostly self-decorated homes and brilliant gardens.  A glimpse at my tiny space as well.

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                                                A FRIEND’S EXQUISITE SOLARIUM

Friday….Fashion Flashback.  I’ve worked with over 150 designers and fashion personalities through the years and want to share some of these experiences with you.  I’m sure those of you who know me thought the blog would be all about the “glamorous” fashion shows I produced, yes, there is that but the nitty gritty as well and only one day a week.

Nena, Pauline Trigere, Bill Blass
Nena, Pauline Trigere, Bill Blass

Here we go….I hope you will join me on my on reinvention.

SPRING 2018 FASHION ROUND UP

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After critiquing a month of the four major Fashion Markets and over 500 shows (!) let’s look at what I saw as the trends….I love reading all the experts views…it seems everyone is looking at the same shows but seeing different trends, I must admit Spring 2018 was filled with great variety. Variety of new designers of established Brands, emerging creators, new faces and sizes on the catwalks, extreme diversity of venues and on and on.  I’ll try to break it all down to my point of view after all that is that this blog is all about….

THE NEWS STORIES:

  • Interesting venues, such as in front of the Eiffel Tower, in the lower level of the Louvre, on the Streets of New York, next to a major waterfall, and on and on
  • Many designers featured both their Women’s and Men’s Collections together a trend we are seeing more and more of
  • Designers showing in cities other than their own such as Tommy Hilfiger
  • Several designers acknowledged that not all women are a size 0, one of the best at this, in my opinion, is Christian Siriano
  • The new model in all the markets…Kaia Gerber, whose professionalism for someone so young is to be admired.  Loved when Mom, Cindy, was in the Versace show as well as in many of the audiences
  • Many, many changes of designers with major Brands, some worked others didn’t
  • Fascinating finales, again, in my opinion, more than in past seasons.  A recap of some of my favorites are pictured below Saint Laurent, Thom Browne, Dolce & Gabbana  and, of course, Versace

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imageThe finale to end all finales…..brilliant!

WHAT I FOLLOWED AS TRENDS:

  • Trench coats
  • Vinyl, patent leather, leather
  • Stripes
  • Denim
  • Shorts teamed with blazers
  • Bold color especially Chrome yellow, red and vibrant blue
  • The black dress
  • All shades of pink
  • Bold prints, especially at Comme des Garçons
  • Flowery prints
  • Embellishment
  • Feathers and fringes
  • Bold shoulders
  • Gloves
  • Shoes, shoes, shoes of all shapes and sizes from stilettos to sneakers with everything from daywear to elaborate evening gowns and thongs with everything as well, but the stand out to me were sandals and socks (light in weight!) and high boots for Springimageimageimage

 

The Trench…

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The Black Dress…

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The Pinks…

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The Bold Prints…

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I could go on and on but you will need to review the past posts to find more of my picks.  You are going to ask what my favorite Collections were…hard to single out just a few but here goes and not in any order other than my most favorite was…

  • Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, I felt she has finally done her own thing
  • Fenty + Puma for its happiness
  • Alexander Wang for it’s staging on the streets of New York
  • Ralph Lauren because for me it’s always Ralph Lauren’s classic look and shown with his vintage cars what could be bad
  • I pretty much liked most of London, but would single out Burberry
  • Versace, of course, for it’s ode to Gianni
  • Armani and Fendi, always
  • Ferretti for feminity
  • A turn for the Brands that we all know…Ferragamo, Missoni, Etro let’s watch them
  • Ah Paris…a brilliant start with Saint Laurent in front of a glittering Eiffel Tower
  • Chanel, Karl does it again by dramatically chasing waterfalls
  • Dries Van Noten just because…love his designs in clothing, his home and his gardens
  • Loved Thom Browne’s aesthetic
  • I want to keep my eye on Off-White, let’s see where that goes
  • Andrew Gn amazes me every time with his creativity
  • Of course, Comme des Garçons
  • Many more….you know, I do love fashion….

What I will say is that I felt it was one of the strongest spring seasons trendwise in many years.  Lots and lots of new looks to get consumers into the stores, and yes, I’ll even say on line….I just want them to shop.  But that is in the months ahead.  Perhaps this month long journey has whetted your appetite to go shopping, looking at Fall 2017 it is a very exciting trend and classic filled time to treat yourselves… I didn’t mean to leave the gentlemen out, I promise to review the next wave of men’s wear collections…there is just as much news out there for you.

And now back to my regularly scheduled blogs…..please give me your thoughts on what you would like me to cover in the coming months….this coming Friday will be the 1 year anniversary of nenasnotes, I have some new directions to share with you as well as continuing most of my daily posts perhaps with a new twist or two!

 

 

 

 

 

FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 PART 9 PARIS

imageI have always been a huge fan of Comme Des Garçons and the Spring 2018 Collection, shown in the Russian Embassy in Paris, does not disappoint.  Filled with the creative imagination of Rei Kawakubo the prints take one’s breath away.  I have been talking about shoes throughout all the Collections, again, they are an important element in this collection.  Perhaps something in a new hairdo….yes, I know, outrageous, but they got us talking!  Thought-provoking as always yet elements that break down to be visionary and in the end, wearable!  See below for a couple more of the looks.  No one combines print like CDG!

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Another designer who always pushes the limits is Thom Browne, here is his take on the season and why not lead off your finale with a unicorn…….imageimageimageSome of my trends…chrome yellow, black and white along with an illusion of stripes.

One of my favorites is Andrew Gn, a creative genius, that I have had the pleasure of working with.  His Collections are always filled with his own prints, brilliant color and color combinations, charming must have handbags and jewelry all from his brilliant imagination.  A designer who knows exactly what his client wants and gives it to her. Here are a couple I chose as favorites and that fit into my trend themes for these posts.

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A couple of looks from Miu Miu…do notice the shoes and socks….a major trend…who knew!!!

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Of course Chanel, this time the staging is mammoth waterfalls.  Lots of vinyl/plastic shoes, bags., trench coats and capes, but always you know it is without question Chanel!!!!imageimageimageimageDenim a la LagerfeldimageimageimageBlack shiny trenchimagePale yellow

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imageChanel finale on the raised wooden bridge.

One of my most favorite collections….Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.  Sarah finally coming into her own, a stunning presentation.  Hard-edged feminity with a floral bower for the staging.  Loved it!imageimageimageimageimageimage

imageimageI’m mad for the hair and other accessories and note the beautiful combination of prints, texture, and subtlety of color, divine.image

And to end not only Paris Fashion week but all four of the major markets….Louis Vuitton‘s, Nicolas Ghesquière chose the temple like “catacombs” of the Louve!  Spectacular to say the least!  Viva la mode!!!!

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You can go to YouTube to view many of the full shows from all four markets.

 

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: THE DESIGNER

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I thought The Designer would be a perfect read for the end of Paris Fashion Week(s) and I wasn’t wrong.  The designer in the title is Christian Dior before he became “Christian Dior”!  Our protagonist is Copper Reilly, an American newlywed, who arrives in Paris just after the liberation.  Realizing she has made a mistake in her marriage she immediately demands a separation, alone she finds a new friend in a designer who is working with a well-established couturier, Lucien Lelong, that gentle man is Christian Dior.  Copper begins to photograph and write about what she sees happening to the female collaborators, takes photos of them and sends her story off to Harper’s Bazaar and the then editor, Carmel Snow, accepts it and prints it.  This illustrious editor has her French contact, a Russian Count, get in touch with Copper to sign a contract, Copper would rather freelance and so begins her journey.  They (Copper and the older Count) meet each week for dinner at the Ritz and Copper becomes independent as well as a respected photojournalist.  Of course, there is a romance or two, many interesting characters, all rather bohemian, and perhaps a bit predictable but fun. As she progresses so does Dior and the book takes us to the monumental fashion world changing 1947 debut of the House of Dior!

What I particularly liked was our author’s authenticity about the rise of Dior and the other characters of the fashion world immediately following WW II.  I really loved all the detail about one of my favorite pieces of fashion history the Théâtre de la Mode.  I did a nenasnotes post on it several months ago, on March 31, 2017, to be exact. Other than the film that was made about it (you can view it on YouTube) and the book on it I haven’t seen any other documentation and was thrilled to see it incorporated into a novel.

By now you know I love a novel that combines fact with fiction and this one does it extremely well.  Is it major literature, most certainly not but an enjoyable read none the less.  I haven’t read any of Marius Gabriel’s other works (and he writes under several pseudonyms) but I plan on doing so.  Would I recommend it, indeed I would, especially if you are into fashion, what was happening in the industry after the War, and the beginnings of one of the most important of all the fashion houses, Christian Dior!