I can’t remember a period of time when so many documentaries on fashion icons have happened at the same time…WOW, how very exciting. In Chicago, all the above are showing this month at the Gene Siskel Film Center,  also this month at AMC, the much anticipated, McQueen….and at The Music Box,the punk goddess herself Vivenne Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist. For my non-Chicago area readers, please check your local theaters to see when these films are showing in your area.

Let’s take a look at what to expect, so you can plan your schedule, and then I will do my review when I have seen each of them….beyond exciting….I’m going to need lots of wine with my popcorn!!!!!

0D3FC20B-94EA-48A2-9070-E480D49DE362You will have to move quickly, Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story, is playing through July 5.  THE genius creator of make-up is brought back to life in this documentary. He was the first “celebrity” make-up artist to earn a CFDA award and deservingly so.  He died much too young (1962-2002) but fortunately left a legacy through his work, his books, YouTube pieces, a documentary “Kevyn Aucoin Beauty and the Beast, shown on Logo cable September 2017, and now this new documentary. Aucoin is the only personality I worked with, in this super star group, when he launched two of his books, Art of Makeup in 1996 and Making Faces in 1999.  While we had done many, many mega beauty stars throughout my tenure at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago, we didn’t have any idea what to expect with his book signings….all I can say is BLOCKBUSTER is an understatement!  Lines literally around the block, several people wide, very orderly and all wanting his books, of course, his autograph and just to be able to say hello. Pity it was long before selfies!  I can’t even imagine what it would be like today with all our Social Media technology.  He was very humble, (I can say that about many of the talented fashion personalities I had the pleasure of working with through the years), beyond talented…a true one of a kind artist who adored enhancing his clients and to help them become the best they could be. I’m hurrying in before July 5th, hope you will as well.

2DB30844-D661-43F1-836B-A7554C2DDFDDI can say, without hesitation, there is no one I am more obsessed with than Cecil Beaton (1904-1980)!  Could there be anyone who had a fuller life in the 20th Century, iconic photographer, (of his decades), of people, the Royals, the stars of the time, fashion, war, gardens, interiors and on and on and on…diarist, author, scrapbook keeper, brilliant raconteur, chronicler of everything and anything that caught his mind’s eye and always with uniqueness and panache!  In a word, unsurpassed!  I have taken it upon myself to collect as many (read…all!) of his books as possible, both written and edited by him as well as the huge amount written about him, don’t forget Greta and Cecil, about his relationship with Greta Garbo. I reviewed a glorious book on nenasnotes on November 1, 2016 Cecil Beaton At Home: An Intimate Life by Andrew Ginger, a truly extraordinary look at Beaton.  Of course, we all think of his glorious costumes and design for the movies (and stage productions) for My Fair Lady and Gigi….,in my opinion, two of the best!  A quote from Beaton “The truly fashionable are unfashionable”!  Gene Siskel Film Center, July 6 through July 12.

047D40F2-A692-4E13-A663-7EF10A971D19The Queen of Punk. I was totally overwhelmed by the fashion exhibition, Punk,  New Romantic & Beyond mounted by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2014.   Showcased exquisitely in many rooms, some only holding one gown, due to size.  Every plaque I read, at least it seemed that way, read from “the Vivienne Westwood Archives”. Amazing. The first room one entered was wall to wall, floor to ceiling museum archival glass cases filled with her beginning successes, VERY suggestive t-shirts. I had never seen one in person, up close and personal only in books or video. Another woman, about my age, British, was standing next to me in the gallery, we were the only two studying the items. I turned to her and said “In their day they (the t-shirts) were quite shocking!”  Her reply, “My dear, they still are”!  I have read that Dame Vivianne does not approve of the Documentary, let’s see for ourselves…opens at The Music Box on July 13th for a limited run.


This film has been playing in Chicagoland for awhile will be opening at the Gene Siskel Film Center on July 20 through 26.  Talley began his rise to fame working with Diana Vreeland at the world renowned Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, became a contributing editor at Vogue and the rest, as they say, is fashion history.  He has curated many exhibitions including the recent Oscar de la Renta retrospectives. His outspoken views have delighted audiences worldwide.  His autobiographies,  A.L.T and A.L.T. 365+  are must reads. If you have seen the film here is your opportunity to see it again or you can enjoy it for the first. Promises to be superb.

64F27656-4392-4A81-AA1B-2661A1F9CE6CLast and most certanly not least…I can hardly wait to see McQueen, the Lee Alexander McQueen documentary. Long awaited, long overdue. All the books about McQueen as well as the, never to be matched, Metropolitan Museum exhibition Savage Beauty and its companion book give a brief glimpse into the mind of a creative genius no matter how fragile that genius was. A once in a generation talent. I must add Sarah Burton has carried the House on to new heights and we also must think of the extraordinary brilliance of John Galliano along with his fall from grace and resurrection, as a totally unique talent. There are many more, of course, but those two contemporaries definitely stand out from the crowd!  Talk about a once in a lifetime exhibit, but then every collection McQueen produced was an exhibition to be worn and the garments were  provocative, stunning, groundbreaking, totally unlike anything else.  His suiside in 2010 (1969-2010) was as stunning as his life and creativity. How fortunate we are that this once in a lifetime genius shared his brilliant talent with the world and now we can see his story unfold even more on film. AMC Theaters beginning July 20th.

Be sure to check the theaters to confirm dates and showctimes as well as the AMC for locations.


  1. Karen R Ryan July 2, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    Can’t wait to see all the films. Great post, Nena!

    • nenasnotes July 2, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Me too….thanks Karen.

  2. Margaret July 2, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    Nena, I am truly looking forward to seeing all of these films! Thank you so much for this post!

    • nenasnotes July 2, 2018 / 5:16 pm

      All sound amazing, don’t they….enjoy watching so many different creators.

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