I haven’t done a model profile post for awhile and I have been “pestering” my girls forever, being the persistent gal I am I haven’t given up hope. I must admit I’ve had D’Arry’s reminiscences for awhile, but as you know my laptop died and I have been in a learning curve with my iPad…..I think I have conquered it…..yay!
I was (and am) very lucky to have worked with exceptionally professional models through the years, you have had the pleasure of meeting many of them through nenasnotes (hopefully there will be more!). When I started in the Fashion Office at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago we used 8, maybe 10, models in our shows most of which were commentated and an hour long. I used the same group for each show. Of course, as they left and shows changed I used more, but did like the consistency of the Saks models, I always knew what they could wear and most of the designers, in many cases, allowed me to eliminate fittings (it saved my budget!) D’Arry was always the consummate pro…always show ready, on time (I do have a thing about promptness, I admit it!) I loved her look and, of course her red hair….
When I retired from Saks the models, organized by Elsa Tullos, (I did Elsa’s profile as one of my first model profiles) had the best party ever and D’Arry did the perfect drawings of the models…then and now, as my gift…I’m sharing it with you, they are now housed in the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago.
They are definitely an inside joke but I think you can enjoy them
Now let’s hear from D’Arry and how she started her modeling career and where that took her and her fascinating life today.
“i was 19 when I started to model, a career fallen into by circumstance. I was training horses and restoring vintage Corvettes by day, and going to school at night to study criminology. My goal was to join the police force, but I still had two years before I was old enough to take the test…a boyfriend suggested modeling as a way to make extra money; and my career was born! I started doing print work, and my first job was a 5 hour shoot with Victor Skrebneski for Head and Shoulders shampoo. I had no idea who he was, and I remember my father being mortified; “He shoots NUDES!” he told me. I calmed him down with the latest issue of Vogue magazine and showed him all the fashion shots attributed to Mr. Skrebneski…to this day I feel Victor started me on my print career, and I am thankful.
Victor Skrebneski Marshall Fields ad, one of D’Arry’s first print jobs
I was lucky enough to work the world, spending time in Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Zurich, New York…probably not what would have been in the plans for me had I ever taken that police exam!
Some of my favourite designers to work with were Gianni Versace, Georgio Armani, Luciano Soprani, and Karl Lagerfeld…On a sidenote: one of my favourite illustration jobs post-modelling was an award winning calendar featuring Jack Russell Terriers. One day I received a call from the publisher, she said she just gotten off the phone from a new customer in Paris. This woman had seen the calendar hanging on the showroom wall at the Maison de Givenchy, and had inquired about buying it. Monsieur Givenchy graciously gave her the phone number of the publisher and told her she could get her own. I’m certain he never knew the illustrator was someone he had offered the job of House model to 15 years earlier! (I declined because I could not, at that time, move to Paris for the year required.) When worlds collide.
After I cut my teeth on printwork, I added runway…a new learning curve to master! In those days we didn’t go to “modeling school”, we learned from each other and our agents; and the runway girls were a pretty closed group to get to know (I’m glad I persevered, as I’m still great friends with most of them now. A bevy of Nena’s beauties even came to cheer me on my first time competing at the Westminster Dog Show in New York a couple of years ago-a memory that is dear to my heart.).
D’Arry with her model pals at Westminster, Maureen Mueller, Jeanouche Wopinski, Karen Ryan, D’Arry, Shelley MacArthur Farley, all have been profiled in past nenasnotes posts. Photo from the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago.
Working with Nena Ivon was, I think, about the best training you could get to make it in the modeling world. You could not buy that knowledge, and Nena was extremely selective on whom she chose to work with. She also demanded professionalism, and made NO exceptions when her expectations were not met. I remember I had a booking for a Bill Blass show, and the day before I burned my leg on the exhaust pipe of a friend’s motorcycle. I had a circle burn the size of a tennis ball on my calf, a really bad melted-skin burn. I told my agent so she could call Nena and replace me, but to my surprise, Nena kept me in the show. I walked the runway with a 4 inch square of white gauze on my leg…and afterwards Nena cancelled me out of the entire rest of the show season. Devastating for me; although I did end up getting an out of town print booking for one of the days I was originally scheduled for a Nena show, so it turned out okay (you could NEVER cancel a Nena show for another job!).
It took several years, a new short haircut and a completely new “look” to get re-hired for Saks shows. I apparently learned my lesson, as I was a regular in her group of girls after that! And I worked for her right up to the time that I “retired” and moved to a farm down in Southern Illinois. And as far as favourite designers for Nena’s shows-hands down for Adolfo! He always asked for me, and I simply adored him.
It’s now twenty (*ahem*) years later, and I make my living as an artist and a breeder of dogs. In addition to illustration work, I sculpt horses and dogs; I have done design work for the Breyer Molding Company in New Jersey, and design and sculpt for the Peter Stone Company in Indiana. I basically play with toys and puppies! And I get to play Vanna White for all the big model horse auctions…sometimes holding up my own artwork!
I am thankful for the experiences I’ve had in the modeling/acting world, it has helped me tremendously in showing my dogs-a passion of mine. Since most of my competing dogs are out of my own breeding programs, showing them off in the ring as flawlessly as I can is of the upmost importance. Even new dogs to my kennel are brought in as puppies, and I’ve trained them to be the show dogs they become. Since working with an animal can have challenges all on its own, the fact that I am comfortable walking and performing (necessary to showcase your dog in the ring) without getting nervous or flustered, well, that’s just another aspect of showmanship…not much different than walking the catwalk!
I am currently campaigning BrokenRoad Marco Polo of Prestige (Portuguese Podengo Pequeno), Prestige Gothom City Glitch (French Bulldog), And Prestige Exes and Ohs (Border Terrier) in the Owner Handler division of the AKC show circuit, and am proud to say that all three were ranked in the top 5 of their breeds; I am the first person to achieve this. (Final standings for 2017 were Griffy the Border and Marco the Pod #2 in their breeds, and Glitch the Frenchie was #5). This meant an invitation to compete in the National Owner Handler Finals in Orlando, Florida at the prestigious Royal Canin National Show. Very exciting! Marco Polo is currently ranked #3 in the breed of Podengos, if I can hang on to #5 or better, he and I will be invited to compete at Westminster in N.Y. again…
What a life!”
A reunion show at Wilmette Theater, Karen, Lelar, D’Arry, Gayle, Jeanouche, Nena, Shelley, Lou May, Terri, Dori and Camille. I do love orange on Ms. D’Arry. Group photo from the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago. D’Arry photo courtesy of Ms. Frank.
At the Misericordia Fashion Show on May 11, 2018 at the Chicago Hilton. Karen always takes two tables and invites the models and me to join her. Pictured standing Dori Wilson, Isabell Bernard, Debra Balchen, Karen Ryan, Elsa Tullos, Diane Narcisse, Shelley MacArthur Farley, seated Loretta Wilger, Eleanor Simon and D’Arry. I think time for another reunion show!!!! Photo taken with my iPhone7.
D’Arry, I can tell you it was worth the wait to share your story with my readers. I’m so pleased we had good times on the “catwalk” together and so very proud of you in your transformation with your precious dogs and your exquisite art. Thank you so much for joining my blogging adventure….we have both reinvented ourselves.
All photos, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of D’Arry Jone Frank.