NENASBOOKNOTES: PAISLEY RABBIT AND THE TREEHOUSE CONTEST

 

9B407105-1DFD-4774-83F4-D555988CC8DFBefore you think I have gone totally mad stay with me…..I know this is a children’s book….but is it really.  Let me explain.  A new friend of mine, Brett Firdman, a major Media Influencer, knowing I love books, and she is no longer reviewing them, has referred nenasnotes to publishers, authors and publicists. This was the first I received. I immediately loved our heroine’s name (I collect vintage paisley and was planning a post on it…it will appear later this week) so I thought why not!  When I received the book, before I opened it, I was totally enchanted by the exquisite cover illustration. I have been enamored with books from birth.  Both my parents constantly read to me and when I started to read, well you know the rest…I haven’t stopped. I don’t have children but have always read to my friends children and grandchildren and their presents are always books. This one would be bought in bulk it is glorious in its prose and art…I want to live in Paisley’s treehouse.

The premise of the book is a lone girl rabbit, Paisley, is up against Jimmy Squirrel whose father owns the biggest construction company in the city. Jimmy challenges a close group of friends to a treehouse contest. Paisley has no building skills and no one to help her enters the contest. The story is motivational for all ages in seeing the so-called underdog take charge, get a team together and defying all odds create something magical while proving anything can happen with grit, nerve and a can do attitude. The result is extraordinary in so many ways.    Not only will children read this over and over, so will I.

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From the amazing insightful author, Steve Richardson when asked how he came up with the idea, “The book was inspired by watching my sister, Margaret Chambers who is an interior designer,  work on awe-inspiring and epic multi-million dollar houses.”

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Then he was asked what he thought was the most important message of the book, “The importance of not jumping into a project but taking it slow, doing research, thinking creatively and big.  Looking for ways to bring creative people together with all kinds of talents to work as a team.  Finally, it’s not just about winning but producing something that will help others when done.”

The artist, Chris Dunn, is only in his 20’s and this is his first children’s book.  His illustrations are glorious, I can’t wait to see what he does next. You can find him at www.chris-dunn.co.uk.

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Paisley writing thank you notes in her library.

My thanks to Smith Publicity for getting me this advanced copy, Impossible Dreams Publishing Co. releases the book on March 1, 2018.  My recommendation get it for every child in your life and be sure to get one for yourself it is a total delight.  Just you wait until you see the finished house, I want to find property and hire Paisley and her team to build my dream house!

 

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FASHION BOOKS: NORELL

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I have been waiting forever for someone to write a monograph on Norman Norell, well it is finally here and the book is beyond brilliant!!!!  Jeffrey Banks, who obviously, is not only in awe of this extraordinary designer and individual, but also recognizes the important contributions Norell made to the world of fashion, has written the perfect salute to one of the best fashion designers ever!

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Jeffrey Banks at the opening of the Norell retrospective exhibition at FIT which he guest curated

The cover, pretty much says it all (not quite you need to read every word and look at each photo and drawing….many by the extraordinarily talented Michael Vollbracht, (lucky me, I worked with Michael on several occasions as well as having had the privilege of doing many shows with Mr. Norell, huge regret that I did not have the experience of working with Jeffrey Banks but we have become friends on Facebook and I have many of his other books in my fashion library.) Putting red on a redhead, the incomparable Suzy Parker in a 1952 photograph by Milton Greene, was very forward for the time, and here she is in one of Norell signature all over sequin gowns and enveloped in a cage of red tulle….glorious glamour.

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One of Vollbracht’s immaculate drawings of an iconic mermaid gown

NORELL Master of American Fashion opens with an outstanding forward by Ralph Rucci and then broken down into brilliant chapters such as The Clothes, The History, The Leading Ladies and The Legacy, etc. The Afterword, Collecting Norell is by Kenneth Pool the renowned collector of Norell.  The end papers are closeups of the handsewn sequins. So many incredible photos, one of my favorites is on page 26 which is described as “Norell’s smart theater suit” (don’t we wish everyone dressed up when going to dinner, the theater or at all!!!) it is a camel hair jacket lined in gold pailettes over a gold pailetted dress….stunningly beautiful. You have to hold your breath as you turn each page when you discover yet another miracle of design.

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The sailor dress a look you saw in some form or another in most of Norell’s collections.

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The iconic Life Magazine photo of Mr. Norell with his four models in mermaid gowns

Pass go and go directly to your nearest independent bookseller and get this book it is one of THE best ever…I’m afraid mine will become tattered from all the use it will get, we won’t even discuss the drolling over the images and tears of remembrance of days gone by but that can be relived in Jeffrey’s perfect book and also know that if we have a Norell in our wardrobe (I still live in hope all these years later…..) that it will never go out of style  NORMAN NORELL lives on!

May I direct you to my blog post on Norman Norell from November 11, 2016 Norman Norell

COLLECTIONS: GLOBES AND MAPS

I have always loved maps and globes, the two maps you see in the above photo hung in my Father’s art studio for many years. This space had either charcoal gray or bitter chocolate brown walls with drapery and Paul McCobb furniture covered in Ben Rose Mid-Century modern textiles. They now hang in the “smoking” room in a Michigan country estate.

In today’s age of GPS (and recalculating), waze, GOOGLE maps, images of Earth and other planets from outer space we have lost the joy of just getting lost on our own to discover new adventures while trying to figure out a paper map sitting on our laps while playing navigator.

Globes and maps, in my opinion, make superb collections and you will find many examples at the Randolph Street Market this weekend, February 24 and 25 from 10 to 5. Check their website for the 2017 schedule.

Here are some pieces I have captured at past markets.

There are so many books and atlases to be studied on the subject which has fascinated humanity since Antiquity. Maps done with mysterious sea creatures or showing vast emptiness or the Earth being flat, which, believe it or not, is still being discussed today! Here are a few that look interesting to me and I have put on my to be read list. Here are some more globes and maps I found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.

I am obsessed with Instagram….admit it you are too….and follow at least a zillion fascinating posts. I have made “friends” with other “grammars” and often ask if I can use their images. Below you will see an example of a vignette using small souvenir globes courtesy of Renee Lafontaine of 21st Century Flea Market. Follow her you won’t be sorry….One of the first bloggers I met, back in the day, was Nikia Jefferson she, along with her amazing husband, have exposed their young son, Melvin Jefferson III aka “MJ” to the world of collectibles. This genius child can name all the countries on this map on his newly decorated bedroom. It is actually a decal, love it!!! You can view MJ on YouTube www.youtube.com/.channel/.UCTG1yB2VOGRcolWkfYxreoQ (since I am now blogging on my iPad some of the links I am giving you don’t go directly to the link. Sorry.)

Join this “Super Cool Dude” as he learns more about the world we live in. Share his pride in joy of experiencing new adventures.

NENASBOOKNOTES: LEGENDARY AUTHORS AND THE CLOTHES THEY WORE

Sorry I’ve been gone for a bit…having major tech problems (once again), this time everything failed me…my laptop browser, where I do nenasnotes, no longer wishes to accept my program (no I’m not going to tell you how old it is, you would faint!!!!!). Obviously means a new one, I am now deciding between a lap top or a desk top. Stunned at the prices!!! Then my email wasn’t working on my phone nor my iPad for three days…tried everything then magically it returned….email grinches for sure. But more importantly, my dears, I couldn’t upload, download,”side load”, whatever load ANY photos onto my posts, (and you know I am obsessed with photos) they went directly to “publish” and wouldn’t appear in the body of my posts…okay, bored yet, well there is more!!!! I really, really, really love working with WordPress and the Happiness Engineers (don’t you love it!!!!) have always helped me when I can’t figure something out on my own. The same three wasted days with email, computer, etc. were further wasted with back and forth questions and answers (I was told how to post, I’ve been posting for a year and a half, I know how to post)….finally I was told the feature I have always used isn’t “at the moment” available…by now I was more than frustrated and decided to take a “timeout” from WP. Not great since I had just posted the first in my Fall 2018 Fashion Trend reports, I will get back to them shortly, I promise! I was visiting My Toms in Blue Island and mentioned, well more than mentioned, my dilemma and in mere minutes the problem was solved. At least I hope so. I’m doing this on my iPad, a first…here we go.

Edith Sitwell

Let’s use this post on a book I have wanted to share with you as a test, shall we!

I thought this would be a perfect book to supplement the upcoming Fall Fashion Season, I wasn’t disappointed, in fact it went way beyond my expectations. I found it to be a perfect addition to my fashion book library as well as give me insight into 50 authors and what they wear and how clothes appear in their writings. There are chapters on items of clothing such as Hats and Suits. These literary icons, most I have read, some I haven’t, were inspirational, funny, dramatic, spot on in the times they lived in and/or wrote about.

There are quotes from the incredible Dorothy Parker, no one better with quips, the wisdom of Maya Angelou, the depth of Zadie Smith, the man before his time Oscar Wilde, the sadness but beauty of Virginia Woolf, the chroniclers of their time F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and on and on. There are those whose personal style defined them, let’s think Tom Wolff and his white suits, Quentin Crisp with his “dressing up skills”, Colette with her fabulous personal style of self and in her writing…..the list goes on and on.

. Oscar Wilde

. Virginia Woolf

. Truman Capote

All photos from Pinterest. Continue reading

FASHION NOW: FALL 2018 PART 1 NEW YORK

image_540068691156591Christian Siriano celebrates his 10 Year Anniversary with a knockout collection of 72 looks shown on his usual diverse models.  He just gets better and better and never compromises his design philosophy….Siriano is, of course, known for his drop-dead red carpet looks but his style is all about the person wearing the clothes. While the majority of the collection was evening there were day pieces to pay attention to as well.  And, of course, the shoes, always the shoes!!!!image_540068638988719image_540068648472106This is a color I will be watching for the next few weeks….obviously red isn’t new to our wardrobes but so far I am seeing it in all collections either full-blown as in the examples above or as accents or accessories.image_540068661812128image_540068681180316Two trends here….the midriff or cutouts and the opulence of this exquisite full ruched tulle skirt….magnificent! …image_540070685940205Ombre metallic in purple and turquoise let’s see if this goes further…..image_540068671040589 Black is in every collection (with a couple of exceptions) thus far and teamed with metallic, fresh, modern and chic. Is black a trend, yes, I believe it is and metallic and/or shine is as well.image_540071345881365Which brings me to Tom Ford and Alexander Wang….first up Tom Ford.image_54006849020784image_540071965059734

image_540068498890673image_540071568836831Still, his trademark cut outs, love the jewelry and shoes and for once, I can say I like the leggings….in silver metallic.image_540068507752591And then a throwback to the ’80’s but I want you to look at the print combinations and either pattern or textured tights, we are already seeing these as trends as well as the feeling of patchwork for it’s tunic…just saying!!!!image_540068629160438image_540068629160438

image_540068609220792Alexander Wang a predominately black collection with a splash of color.image_540068538248785image_540068527976751image_540068519559216Jeremy Scott loves to play along with us with color, pattern and whimsy making him the darling of the cool music lovelies such as Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus and, of course, those who want to follow their trend and Jeremy’s….note the pattern, the color, the tights, the shoes and one can’t disregard the wigs! image_540068561253829image_540068581384346image_54006857039288From fun and games to feminine looks set in a garden of pink carnations…Tory Burch shows us trends that are both fashion-forward and understandable.  A boho look of print combos and a perfect dress in an orange-red.  Not a fan of the shoe looks more spring/summer to me!image_54006860028214image_540068590179901Jason Wu shows the orange-red with midriff top and wrapped skirt and a classic black look for after five.image_540068698727599image_54006870664723image_540068714068922Tomas Maier brings a new luxury to a classic brand Bottega Veneta.  I particularly like the casualness of the bathrobe coat and jumpsuit in one of the color combinations of fall shades of pumpkin, a working of patchwork….and, of course, black for evening.

Obviously these are just a few of the multitute of collections being shown in New York.  There are many new designers that I will touch upon in the coming days and weeks….stay tuned.

All photos from Pinterest credits unknown.

 

 

FASHION NOW: NENA’S REFRESHED LOOK

image_539470344904957The glitz of a Chanel shoe pared with a ombre tweed jacket from Lafayette 148 New York.

image_53947051014348This has always been my motto in my wardrobe choices and when I assist others in planning and updating their closets and refreshing their hair and make-up.

It was time for my own refresh…..I’m not changing my signature base of black top and either a black pant or skirt and an occasional dress.  I am looking at a new make-up, a shorter hair-cut and new jackets and shoes, ah yes, shoes!!!! I am so tired of hearing all the convesations that one can or can’t wear this or that after a “certain age” whatever that means!  Let’s take a look at Iris Arfel, Tziporah Salamon or the ladies (and gentlemen, you can use a refresh as well you know!!!!) in Ari Seth Cohen’s books Advnced Style and Advaned Style: Older and Wiser.  Seriously, enjoy the fun, excitement and ease of being yourself.  Are there restrictions to what we can and can’t do, perhaps physically, but not our sense of who we are and what we wear.  Mini skirts should be left to those who have great legs no matter what the age, leggings never did get them unless worn under a skirt or with a shoe boot or boot or at the gym,. but not as a pant!

Now some pointers on how to shop….

  • Get a personal wardrobe stylist (perhaps me!) or a sales associate at your favorite store….Personal shoppers will take care of more than your wardrobe, they become your PA’s
  • Nothing wrong with shopping on sale, just be sure what you fall head and heels over works with what you have in your closet…adding items that can’t work, unless you are doing a whole new wardrobe (don’t we wish!!!!) isn’t smart at all
  • Think of adding one new trend or color a season
  • Adding a new shoe, handbag, piece of jewelry, sunglasses, scarf can make all the diffenence in your established wardrobe
  • A top notch alteration person/tailor can make your existing wardrobe look new and be able to make that little adjustment on your skirt or pant length taking it from dowdy (and who wants to look dowdy or dated!) to fab
  • A refreshed make-up….go to any store to any make-up counter and find a new look not only fun but empowering, we all love a new color lipstick and often need the new eyes of a trained make-up artist to give us the updated look along with technique tips
  • A new hairstyle and perhaps a fresh color, both will make you feel and look a million% better

Are you ready for my journey for a New Year New Nena….well here we go….. First up I made a long overdue (my hair grows very fast and I find it loses it shape quickly, I really need to get it cut every 4-5 weeks, hadn’t been in ages, bad Nena!) appointment with Daniel Paterno at Workshop Daniel Salon 

image_539470118295115Arrival with Danielimage_539470198059126Pondering the look…..cut it off Daniel!!!!

image_539470228711568Some of the old look on the floor…..image_539470285650732Much better, don’t you agree…..

A few days later I arrive at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago to do my make-up with Armenia Vasquez, the Chanel Business Manager, she is a delight to work with, please check with her, the Chanel Beauty boutique has so many wonderful upcoming events for you to enjoy.image_539469959312981image_539469972631423image_539469951591516image_539470009801908The Spring Chanel palette Armenia used on me (she had Googled me to plan ahead the look she thought would be best and she was spot on! Smart lady!)image_539469935890495image_53946955686051The Chanel special blush formed like a Chanel tweed….amazing!

image_539469569565254I love make-up charts, this is mine (wish I looked like the sketch…one lives in hope)…she did a green liner on top of a smoky dark grey liner above the lash and in the waterline under the top lash.  I usually do a nude on the lower waterline.  A blend of a couple of lipsticks for a softer red than I have been using…like it alot.  She kept my smoky eye and added a bit of blush, which I usually only do for evening, I also intensify my eye  for evening.  I liked the addition of the green, having green eyes they change from green to blue to hazel but the green brought out the green perfectly.  Luckily I have a lot of lid and it does like color…..my brows are in the process of growing in but must be groomed, they are wild otherwise and one can’t have wild eyebrows…oh my! I find having my make-up done, in fact any personal service, so relaxing and rewarding to take away not only a new and refreshed look but a new tip or two on application and/or color.

Next up wardrobe….I had been in the week before to review my picks for the photo shoot…image_539470450808004The initial pull…a couple of the pieces were sold (that is the idea!!!!) so you won’t see them in the actual photos.  I also took a couple of photos of the jackets with my shoe selection…one of which is at the top of this post…here is anotherimage_539470365977791I am obsessed with this Chanel tweed “sneaker” can you even stand the pearl detail, oh my.  The 10022 Shoe department at Saks Chicago is beyond amazing I wanted everything I saw but did contain myself with ones I wanted to share with you.

image_53946990359299When I got to the Fifth Avenue Club Bryant Keith Von Woodson II was ready for me with the garments pulled (we took a couple of minutes to pull more shoes) and was all set to photograph the “try-on” portion of the refresh.  He is always spot on with own trendsetting look as you can see reflected in the mirror.  New York City you had better get ready because as soon as he graduates from Columbia College Chicago in May he is planning on taking the Big Apple by storm….just saying!

image_539469878207016image_539470409428505Let me show you my favorite look of all, this incredible print jacket by Etro…love everything they do, but this mix of color and pattern is superb and would be the one piece to add to my wardrobe.  My closet is seasonless (a few hot weather pieces thrown in but mostly year round clothes…drop the turtleneck for a black shell or cammy for those hot summer days).  I am wearing my own new gold triple hoop drop earring a bargain found at the last Randolph Street Market, the next one is Satuday and Sunday, February 24 and 25 from 10 to 5.  I would wear a black pump with this to complete the outfit.image_53946974658994image_539470497905241Two of the trends I followed in the Spring 2018 shows I covered in nenasnotes, Crome yellow and a bold abstract print.  The jacket is from Lafayette 148 New York and the charming black lace trim print top from Kobi Halperin, one of my new favorite designers.  Can’t wait to see what will show us for Fall 2018 in New York Fashion Week shows beginning this week.  I’m suggesting a high heel black suede sling from Manolo Blanik.  The jewelry featured is from my own collection of jet necklaces, you can be sure there will be a feature on jet in the near future.image_539469805633221Love this Lafayette 148 New York jacket in an ombre black and white tweed but perhaps too similar to pieces I already own.  But it is a stunning classic that can be worn forever! Hum, I wonder and with that Chanel shoe…….image_539469795004381Another trend that I followed through all four major markets for Spring 2018, stripes, here on an Akris jacket accented with stripes that look like a bar code and a triangular detail of metallic.  The shoe, picking up another trend polka dots, Chanel’s clear and black patent with pearl dots…love!image_53946959308132All shades of pink were on the catwalks for Spring, this classic blazer from Oscar de la Renta, many items in my established wardrobe are OdlR.  I’m holding a slide, I don’t usually like them because I tend to walk out of them but found this one a delight in a charming rose print from Gucci.image_53946982600754image_539469757423854Every designer I ever worked with wanted me to wear red, not my color of choice but this one might be the exception.  Again from Oscar de la Renta and I’m showing you two shoe choices, both from GUCCI, the floral applique leather stiletto or the carnation embroidered flat. The pin on the jacket from my Bakelite collectiion also from a visit to the Randolph Street Market.image_539469855247259image_539558973934025For some unknown reason this looks architectural to me….like a pointilist painting of a skyline, vivid imagination, I know!  It is from the Akris Punto spring collection. The shoe I have chosen is from Ferragamo and is black patent with a sculptured gold heel, yum!

Well there you have it some of my picks for an updated look for Spring 2018 and beyond.  I will be covering the Fall 2018 month of the four major fashion markets starting this Friday…let’s hope I reign myself in this season and not do daily posts…we shall see, Fall Colelctions are my favorites!

Just a note, none of the vendors mentioned, including Saks Fifth Avenue, have compensated me in any way for this post.  All are my opinions and my photos via Bryant!