It’s always a treat to be able to get to know a designer better….such is the case with Peter Dundas. Peter is the 2022 recipient of the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum Designer of Excellence Award. More on the event celebrating him below. I wanted to ask Peter to do my usual Profile Questionnaire….instead I sent him special questions which he graciously took time from his Norwegian get away to answer for me.

When you think of the DUNDAS brand you immediately think celebrity dressing….let’s see what he has cooked up for next weeks Met Gala, I’m sure more showstoppers! Most recently, one of this year’s Super Bowl half time stars, Mary J. Blige wowed us not only with her performance but her incredible fashion…Dundas, of course!

His exquisite sketch…
The garment in action!

Let’s hear from the creator….

Your garments are always showstoppers….how did you transition from ready to wear to designing for celebrities with custom pieces?

Thank you. Dressing celebrities came very naturally because they actually chose me. They started wearing pieces from my ready to wear collection and little by little the requests for custom looks started to come in. Custom pieces are not necessarily so different from ready to wear for me really. I want every person who wears my designs to look and feel amazing. I think fashion is about giving confidence and that appeals to everyone.

The Carters at a Met Gala

Did you always know you wanted to be a designer, when did you discover your talent? Which of your time with other brands did you enjoy the most?

I always knew I loved fashion. It was partly a need because my widowed father had no clue how kids dressed and partly because of the pure love of color, the fantasy and later the sex appeal. I had my first manual sewing machine at 6 or 7 but coming from a family of mainly doctors I felt I needed to pursue something more serious for a profession. The decision that the love of this craft could not be ignored came when it was time for college. All of a sudden it appeared as the only path to take. The only path that would make me happy After art school I was incredibly lucky to land a top job in Paris at my then favourite designer; Jean-Paul Gaultier and I haven’t looked back since. I have had many incredible moments in many different places like Pucci in Italy, Lacroix and Ungaro in Paris, and at Cavalli twice, so it might be unfair to choose just one brand. Cavalli however was uniquely incredible because we were riding so high. Pucci was great too and we have had some amazing moments with DUNDAS.

Ready to wear collection

Have you always done your own sketches…they are stunning.

Thank you. I sketch constantly. I always carry a pen. Today most of the sketches I publish are finished electronically mixing photorealism with my own illustration and for this I get a little help. Electronic illustrations facilitate communication, and for custom work it’s especially useful as you understand the garment better. Next is NFT’s which we started doing after the Super Bowl Halftime show with Mary J. Blige. Doing those and creating wearables accessible to anyone creates an even broader outreach that I think is very exciting and important for tomorrow.

Beyoncé 2017

How do you unwind, hard I’m sure with two little ones!

We are busier than ever but sometimes it’s about a change of pace or a change of scenery. My favourite time to unwind are summer breaks at our cottage on the Greek island of Naxos. It’s special because I built it; it has a huge fruit and vegetable garden where we make our own olive oil and can live off the fat of the land literally. It’s a healthy break from the urban existence. On a daily basis giving our son Alexios his evening bath is now probably one of my favourite moments and gets my mind off the business of dresses.

I’m obsessed with your personal style…tell me a little about how you have developed it.

I think I am a frustrated child of the 70’s. The mood-boards for my collections are always filled with images of rockstars from that era. Blondie, Pat Benatar, Keith Richards, Led Zeppelin and of course Cher. It’s my favorite era to be inspired by so naturally it trickles down to how I look and dress.

With Ciara wearing a gown inspired by her husband, Russel Willson’s football jersey at last years Met Gala

Last question…I always ask this question of people I’m profiling….tell me about your dream dinner party, who would be on our your guest list (living or dead) 10 to 12 people and what would you serve (my readers love celebrity recipes!)

Wow that’s a loaded question hmm. My guests would be:

-My partner Evangelo of course


-Yves Saint Laurent, both are my heros

-Melissa McCarthy for laughs

-Oprah because she is Oprah

-Bill Gates because he is an amazing entrepreneur who also cares about doing good

-Audrey Hepburn because she was a fashion icon when I was a kid watching old movies with my Dad

-The Dalai Lama for his wisdom

-Queen Elizabeth, I heard she is fun

-Rihanna as she is one of the most beautiful women I know and love to dress

-My mother because I didn’t really know her growing up

-At last God because she is of course always welcome

I would serve caviar on baked potato & champagne which is what I crave right this minute and then profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream!

With partner, Evangelo Bousis

Peter, thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions. They give all of us a wonderful glimpse into The World of Peter Dundas. May I offer my congratulations on receiving the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum 2022 Designer of Excellence Award.


“The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum is pleased to announce an exciting evening honoring celebrity fashion designer Peter Dundas, as he receives our Designer of Excellence Award. His illustrious fashion career serving as Creative Director for Emmanuel Ungaro, Emilio Pucci, and Roberto Cavalli has shaped a global experience leading top fashion houses.

His eponymous brand, DUNDAS, launched in unconventional style debuting with Beyoncé Knowles at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Created in partnership with Evangelo Bousis, a Chicago native, DUNDAS continuously delivers notable, couture red carpet looks for celebrities: Shakira, Ciara, Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum, Mary J. Blige, H.E.R., Emily Ratajkowski and many more.”

Honorary Co-Chairs: Brian Atwood, Evangelo Bousis, and Nick Cave

Event Co-Chairs: Dusty Stemer, Rebekah Shalit and VP Programs Chair, Pamella Capitanini.

“The Designer of Excellence Awards is a fundraiser to benefit the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum and has a rich history in our organization as an important pillar of designer recognition in Chicago. The Museum has more than 50,000 pieces of fashion in its archives and is one of the largest repositories in the world. Brian Atwood, Evangelo Bousis, and Nick Cave are this year’s honorary co-chairs. Over the years, the Awards have honored James Galanos, Geoffrey Beene, Christian Lacroix, Sonia Rykiel, Hubert de Givenchy, Bill Blass, Ralph Rucci, Bob Mackie, Carolina Herrera, and this year, we are thrilled to honor Peter Dundas. All proceeds benefit the Chicago History Museum for exhibition and curatorial needs to preserve the costume collection.”

For further information and to purchase tickets go to


The Vintage Contessa In The Garden


My favorite book I have TWO actually! A THOUSAND DAYS IN VENICE and Mrs. WHALEY’s GARDEN. My favorite movie was AUNTIE MAME with ROSALIND RUSSEL.PLUS, MY FAIR LADY. As far as theater I have seen many more BALLETS than OPERA’s But I love them both. I use to dance with the San Francisco BALLET as a teen and I would get to preform in the NUTCRACKER every year. Small parts. IL DIVO for SURE! As far as SINGERS GO! We just saw them in concert…….I was DOUBLE MASKED!

HOBBIES. Gardening which is an expensive hobby and Thrift store/ Salvage yards finding “THE GOODS” never skied as a dancer we were not allowed to, nor ice skating. Cooking, I suppose that could be a hobby as The ITALIAN has to EAT every night! If he is not home I LOVE to have a bowl of CHEERIOS! Other than that NO! Not much more going on with me………except I have been sick for years(SIX) and NO DOCTOR could figure me out! In September, I was diagnosed finally. Just now getting the medications sorted out and I am FEELING SO MUCH BETTER! BUT THAT IS NOT A HOBBY! Bottom line HEART SURGERY at 50 YEARS OF AGE……..LADY WINDERMERE SYNDROME discovered a year ago January (look that one up as I have yet to get it right!) Also called MAC. Then this mysterious aliment I have had for years where I would lose my vision and feel faint and be left with a headache for two days! SO very little I could do even BEFORE COVID!

YOUR HOME, MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES, ECLECTIC…NOT MODERN that is FOR CERTAIN……..TRADITIONAL maybe~sort of but not really me. I think if I had a bigger house it would have gone MORE TRADITIONAL. ANTIQUES MY GOD YES! French, Italian and English. My home is a combination of things I LOVE or grew up with. Having an antique shop I only bought what I really liked or knew that would sell. So, when I closed up after 12 years because the building was from the early 1900’s and not kept up; I brought most of it home with ME! THE ITALIAN was afraid of the next major EARTHQUAKE here in CALIFORNIA and that the building would collapse. It is SINKING as there is NO FOUNDATION, but it was PERFECT for what I did and was called THE HEN HOUSE.

1. AUDREY HEPBURN: NO ONE has reached her glamour and charm!2. CECIL BEATON: JUST BECAUSE! 3. TONY DUQUETTE:What an ARTIST and what stories he could tell! 4. HUTTON WILKINSON: I ADORE HIM he lives LIFE! 5. DIANA VREELAND: We are VERY similar in character from what I have read! 6. JULIA REED: I found her books after she passed but what a wonderful person she seemed to be! 7. ALI MACGRAW: I adored her growing up and she looks FANTASTIC today. 8. MY MAILMAN! Because he smiles and always has a kind thing to say. 9. GIANFRANCO FERRE: I loved his designs, but I hear he was a pain to work with! 10. THE ITALIAN OF COURSE!: He would do THE PASTA and THE MAIN course so I could CHAT with ALL these FUN, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.

THE MEAL would be a PASTA to start……….could be anything, but I bet it would be PESTO with a bit of whipping cream. Salmon or Trout done on the barbecue. Julia Reed’s potato casserole, green beans, and a green salad plus a strawberry dessert or a Pavlova made by me! Always fruit at the end except that is the desert so NO, but of course a LIMONCELLO made by THE ITALIAN in HOUSE! AND A CAFE if NEEDED! If its Winter time the NUTS and CHOCOLATE would arrive on the table after the DIGESTIVO!

We had a Mediterranean honeymoon and I have such fond memories from there. The water was so clear. You could see the fish swimming. Porto Cervo was filled with grand yachts and sailboats. If I remember correctly the Prince AGA KHAN owned that port. It was the main center of COSTA SMERALDA. Population is 421 inhabitants! THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE I HAVE EVER BEEN! We were rescued by a TOPLESS ITALIAN WOMAN in a small speed boat as our boat got stuck in the sand not by us but by the owner of the sailboat IL CAPITANO the owner of the boat!! Bottom LINE we were about to be BEACHED! She was yelling at me in ITALIAN and I was not understanding a THING! She twirled a rope to me which I then caught after a few try’s! We got pulled out before a disaster happened! I also will ADD the entire beach was up to their waists pushing us out to SEA! GREECE is HIGH on MY LIST to SEE NEXT!!!


HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED…..Funny as I asked one of my BLOG READERS recently to write my OBITUARY. Even though she has NEVER MET ME! She is a FABULOUS WRITER and I know she “GETS ME. ”How would I want to be remembered” that is a GOOD QUESTION! I do hear FULL of JOY and ENTHUSIASM for LIFE. Also ELEGANT is another word I hear A LOT!Which to be HONEST I do not see…………I have had a lot of struggles and heart break in MY LIFE. I really NEED to give this MORE thought.I ADORE THE QUOTE “LIFE IS A BANQUET AND MOST POOR SUCKERS ARE STARVING TO DEATH.” BY AUNTIE MAME. Perhaps I would like to be remembered as a GRACIOUS BEING, CONCERNED, CARING, LIVING THE BEST POSSIBLE LIFE SHE COULD POSSIBLY LIVE. I have told my ITALIAN HUSBAND many times I will write on his TOMBSTONE “I’M STILL WAITING!” As he is a man on THE GO and I am ALWAYS waiting for him to come HOME!


600 grams goat cheese(Pinky size width, maybe ring finger depends on your finger size! Can’t go wrong!
Olive oil, Fresh thyme, Bread crumbs
Marinate sliced cheese in olive oil with thyme overnight. (Do not put in refrigerator, cover and leave on counter top.) Roll cheese in bread crumbs and put in baking dish. Heat 15 minutes at 300 degrees.(watch that it softens but does not melt.) Serve on Rucola Greens dressed with olive oil and vinegar and tomatoes.

PESTO made by my Italian
1. Cuisinart full of basil leaves NO STEMS! Two fist fulls.(MAN’S FIST FULL!) 2. 1 teaspoon Salt 3. 1 teaspoon Red pepper (MORE IF YOU LOVE HOT) 4. 2/3 cups Pine nuts 5. 1 cup Whole Walnuts nuts plus 1/2 cup walnuts more or less crumbled = 5 ounces 6. 3 to 4 Garlic cloves (LARGE)peeled. 7. 1 1/3 cup Olive oil 8. BLEND. 9. Add the olive oil as you mix through the top. Taste with finger adjust as YOU like! ITALIAN WAY ALWAYS PUT ROCK SALT IN THE PASTA WATER AS YOU BRING TO A BOIL. MORE THAN YOU AS AN AMERICAN WOULD THINK. A BIT LESS THAN A WOMANS PALM OF HAND. Once you drain the pasta DONOT WASH WITH COLD WATER! IN FACT NEVER DO THAT!Dump back into the pot. ADD some olive oil, a good amount stir as you do this. Then add two Tablespoons of PESTO for two or three people. Left over pesto should be covered with OLIVE OIL so it does NOT MOLD. Then plastic wrap tight. Put in refrigerator. Good for a long time! In each individual dish on top PARMIGANO, but just a little bit DO NOT cover the top like MOST AMERICANS DO or you will not taste the PESTO only the cheese!
DO NOT be like ME!When I first met the ITALIAN I said,”I like the GREEN BOTTLE (BOX) BETTER”!!!!!!!!As that was what I grew up on








The Vintage Contessa

I find it beyond fascinating how many interesting people you can encounter on social media and also how lovely it is to make new friends who enjoy many of the same things that you do. Elizabeth Kirkpatrick aka The Vintage Contessa is exactly one of those people and I wanted to share her story with you! I asked her to do The nenasnotes Questionnaire and she immediately agreed. The following is Part 1 of her responses (she writes her fabulous blog, in ALL CAPS and has asked me to keep “ALL CAPS” that she has used for her answers!) I know you will be fascinated with her stories and be charmed and intrigued with her breathtakingly gorgeous photos….enjoy!

In the garden


INCARNATIONS? That is an interesting observation, but I do believe you are correct! As a child I wanted to be a BALLERINA or a VET. That did not come to fruition. Then I worked in FASHION RETAIL Then Wholesale, The Gucci Accessory Collection. We sold to the Specialty stores and Department stores. That is how I met my husband of 36 years. We worked for a woman who had the distribution for the United States and Canada. Then married in Florence, Italy in 1986. Then I became a MOTHER to TWO BEAUTIFUL SONS. Then an Antique/Vintage Collector which became a store front. After they grew up a bit I opened a shop that sold antiques and vintage for 12 years. Last came the BLOG :THEVINTAGECONTESSA.NET. Then Instagram hit! I found people who had similar passions as myself. Plus I was OVER 50 so The ADVANCED STLE movement enticed me! I thought what ARI SETH COHEN was doing was FANTASTIC. To answer your question about which one was my favorite I would say being a MOTHER and being married to THE ITALIAN in SAN MINIATO AL MONTE in Florence,Italy. Can I have TWO PLEASE? A Nena’s Note….yes, you can!

Photo by Ari Seth Cohen, Elizabeth with Bansky….more on him later!

As time goes by I get MORE and More ECCENTRIC.For example when the Boys were younger I would wear long skirts with sweatshirts mind you the skirts I found in the consignment shops were usually TAFFETA!
The shoes were always running shoesAs a young woman and still today I get comments like “Where are you going all dressed up?”And I think to myself I am NOT DRESSED UP at all. I get stopped often in the Produce section of the grocery store a lot by older men saying thank you for dressing up…… remind be of days gone by.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT? TALENT! I wouldn’t say I have talent, but I do have a good eye whether it be clothing, interiors or gardens. My “talent” for clothing was born from looking at VOQUE and HARPERS BAZAAR and TOWN & COUNTRY at a young age. I did DREAM of being a model or SHOWGIRL like a ROCKETTE as I loved the HEADWEAR. Feathers & Rhinestones were HEAVEN to me! I should have been in theater! I would have adored CECIL BEATON.I really have Never Changed from that young girl. Most of my DREAMS have been fulfilled.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT”EXPLAIN…I do not think “I HAVE MADE IT YET” I keep plugging along. Once my sons left I was a LOST SOUL.I have kept doing what I love. The garden the clothing and collecting stuff. I did make it in THE CLOSET DEPARTMENT however! As we had a very small closet we shared. I kept complaining about how I needed more space! My ITALIAN built an addition to the 1940’s house for all my clothes.


MY MOTHER! I have always LOVED antiques. I would shop with my MOTHER at a very young age. My first collections were OLD KEYS & BOTTLES. I still have an old milk bottle from those days and a set of old keys that have faces on them. If I remember correctly they were $12.00. I thought about INTERIOR DESIGN but the drawing scared me. I remember when TONY DUQUETTE lived down the street from us in San Francisco. Since then I have met many decorators at Book signings, Anita Campell, Timothy Corrigan, Charlotte Moss, Paul Wiseman Princess Michael of Kent and Hutton Wilkinson. I actually was invited to DAWNRIDGE for lunch with his wife as he was out of town. That was an experience I will never forget! I still love ballet, animals and clothing. I am still SHOPPING when most people are CLEANING out! I have found “MY PEOPLE” on BLOG’s and INSTAGRAM who rock MY WORLD. Who actually “GET ME!” Another Nena’s Note, I profiled Hutton, awhile ago, and also did a review on his book DAWNRIDGE!

One of her new finds….the monogram caftan, details are on her site!

TALK A BIT ABOUT YOUR “MENAGERIE” I LOVE ANIMALS. I always wanted a farm. My mother was from INDIANA and would tell me about the runt of the litter sleeping by the stove in the kitchen when she was growing up. By age ten I had a chicken that turned into a rooster! My Father was not an animal person, however somehow we always had a cat. No dogs. I had rabbits outside and was ALWAYS building a BARN. Today I have a dog and a cat who is missing at the moment and a TEA CUP pig that lives in THE HOUSE! He is THE BEST ANIMAL I have ever owned. They are very clean. They are very smart. He learned the doggie door in ONE DAY! He eats very little to be honest like 1/3 of a cup of piggy pellets with a fruit or vegetable! Twice a day. The vegetables MUST BE COOKED! I also save the old bread and soak it. Of course when he goes OUTSIDE it must be warm enough and NO RAIN he will graze in the garden! He learned the first year NOT TO EAT MAMMA’s ROSES! He understands” NO” very well! He has his second dinner with us at the table at night. A bite of salad or vegetable NO MEAT! He has his own FORK…SILVER ANTIQUE which is placed on a KINFE REST so we do not get it confused with OURS! He comes when I call! He also sprints around the house and has NEVER broken a thing!MY house is PACKED with STUFF! Sometimes the cat and the dog and the pig all dine with us at the table waiting their turn! Somehow he knows when dinner is over as he heads to bed or wants a TUMMY RUB!
As he heads to bed in the living room I ask for a kiss and he turns his head to oblige me! I get the NOSE as the mouth is un-reachable!

With Bansky
At The Louvre
I thought this would be a good place to stop for today, and wouldn’t we love to be dressed up at the Louvre right this very minute…..there is lots more to come…stay tuned for Part 2


Fernando Duarte and Hansel Jeong…photo by Cheryl Mann

By now you are aware that I adore The Joffrey Ballet, interesting factoid we began our careers in the same year…1956, The Joffrey in New York and me in Chicago. I fell in love with them the first time they came to Chicago, many years ago and my delight that they now call Chicago home! Now imagine my excitement when I received the lengthy press release for the beyond enticing announcement of their 2022-2023 season! I am sharing the entire release below, and, yes, I do know it’s a lot of information but want you to get these dates on your calendar and get your season tickets NOW! But wait there is more just in case you aren’t aware of what is happening before Beyond Borders kicks off its 2022-2023 season October 12th.

Its spring program which includes the world-premiere adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men by choreographer Cathy Marston (featuring an original composition by Academy Award®-nominated composer Thomas Newman), and the Joffrey premiere of Serenade by dance pioneer George Balanchine, presented during the Joffrey’s first-ever season at the historic Lyric Opera House in downtown Chicago at 20 North Upper Wacker Drive, in 10 performance only, April 27–May 8, 2022. And Don Quixote, a family-friendly ballet full of bravery, fantasy, and love, Yuri Possokhov’s fresh interpretation of this revered ballet classic centers on Don Quixote, an aging and eccentric nobleman, who imagines himself to be a valiant knight. With his trusted sidekick Sancho Panza in tow, Quixote embarks on a humorous and fateful journey, ready to breathe life into a world where windmills become monsters and adventure awaits beyond the horizon. Performances June 2-12, choreography by Yuri Possokhov, music by Ludwig Mingus.

Amanda Assucena as Kitri. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

67th Season Highlights Include:

Chicago Premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid

The Return of Vespertine by Liam Scarlett and Suite Saint-Saëns by Gerald Arpino

World Premiere from Choreographer Chanel DaSilva

The Return of Yuri Possokhov’s Blockbuster Anna Karenina and
Christopher Wheeldon’s Holiday Classic The Nutcracker


World Premiere of Rita Finds Home, Joffrey’s New Family-Friendly Ballet from
Choreographer Amy Hall Garner, Author Karla Estela Rivera, Illustrator Elisa Chavarri

New Works from Choreographers Cathy Marston and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa,
in Collaboration with Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Return of Winning Works at the MCA Chicago

All season performances take place at Lyric Opera House in downtown Chicago at 20 North Upper Wacker Drive. All programs throughout the season feature live music performed by Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.

“March 14, 2022 (Chicago) – Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, today announces the Joffrey’s 2022–2023 Season at Lyric Opera House, featuring a world premiere from a rising choreographic star, a revival from a Joffrey icon, the return of a Joffrey blockbuster, and a full-length story ballet of such grand scale that it is rarely seen in the United States. The Joffrey Ballet begins its 67th season with Beyond Borders, October 12–23, 2022, a mixed program that pays tribute to the Joffrey’s maverick legacy with works by artists of its past and present. It includes an original work from choreographer Chanel DaSilva (creator of the Joffrey world premiere Swing Low, featured during the Joffrey’s 2021–2022 Season), and returning works by choreographerLiam Scarlett and Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino. Soon after, the Joffrey celebrates the return of Christopher Wheeldon’s magical production of The Nutcracker, December 3–27, 2022, followed by the remount of Yuri Possokhov’s blockbuster Anna Karenina, winner of the 2019 “Oscars of Dance” Benois de la Danse International Prize for Best Choreography, February 15–26, 2023. Closing the season in glorious fashion is the long-awaited Chicago premiere of John Neumeier’s hauntingly beautiful interpretation of The Little Mermaid, soon to be the largest production ever mounted by The Joffrey Ballet, April 19–April 30, 2023.

“Over the last several years, the Joffrey has striven to curate performances that speak to our ambitions, provide a voice to rising choreographic talent, and reach audiences everywhere,” said Wheater. “The Joffrey’s 67th season not only highlights inspiring new works from artists like Chanel DaSilva and classics like the Joffrey’s own Gerald Arpino, paired with grand story ballets by two giants of the art form in Yuri Possokhov and John Neumeier, but also new commissions from Cathy Marston and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and an original family-friendly ballet from Amy Hall Garner that is designed to assemble easily in neighborhoods and on stages across Chicago and beyond. We are committed to artistic excellence and a Joffrey for All, part of our mission to ensure that dance is for everyone. My hope is that this coming year shows the extent of that commitment.”

“The Joffrey mission and Ashley’s artistic vision remain at the forefront of the field,” added Greg Cameron, President and CEO of the Joffrey. “We have embraced the idea of community, much like our founder, Robert Joffrey, who believed that dance was a universal language that spoke to everyone. This season, we bring Chicago exceptional works of art that demonstrate the Joffrey’s standing among the great dance companies of the world, but also our intention to be collaborative and impactful partners in the Chicago community and beyond. As Mr. Joffrey himself once said of this company, ‘Classical ballet is our core, but it is not our circumference.’ That sentiment rings true today more than ever.”

Beyond Borders, October 12–23, 2022

“Classical ballet is our core, but it is not our circumference.” –Robert Joffrey

The Joffrey begins its 2022–2023 season with a mixed program that celebrates the company’s maverick legacy with works by artists of the Joffrey’s past and present, including Joffrey icon and co-founder Gerald Arpino, choreographer Liam Scarlett, and choreographer Chanel DaSilva, creator of the Joffrey world premiere Swing Low.

The full program is as follows:

Suite Saint-Saëns

Choreography: Gerald Arpino | Music: Camille Saint-Saëns

Joffrey co-founder Arpino’s Suite Saint-Saëns weaves classical movement with the late choreographer’s signature neo-classical style of speed, energy, and quality. With its dappled lighting and lilting score, this American masterwork was once described by choreographer Agnes DeMille as like “standing in a flight of meteors.” Learn more about Gerald Arpino here.

World Premiere

Choreography: Chanel DaSilva | Music: Cristina Spinei

DaSilva returns for a second original creation, following her 2021 critically acclaimed company debut,Swing Low (described by the Chicago Tribune as a “tour de force”). One of the most in-demand artists working today, DaSilva brings her storytelling prowess back to Chicago for another sure-to-be-glorious world premiere. Learn more about Chanel DaSilva here.


Choreography: Liam Scarlett | Music: Bjarte Eike, John Dowland, Arcangelo Corelli, Francesco Geminiani

Scarlett takes inspiration from Baroque era classics in this hypnotic performance of expert lyricism and elegance. Illuminated under the subtle glow of crystal chandeliers, with chic costumes designed by Scarlett himself, Vespertine puts a modern twist on the romantic era of the late 18th century. Learn more about Liam Scarlett here.

The Nutcracker, December 3–27, 2022
Choreography: © Christopher Wheeldon | Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky


Magic is on the horizon for young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince, thanks to a visit from the charming but mysterious Great Impresario. At the stroke of midnight on a snowy Christmas Eve, when the lines between fantasy and reality blur together, Marie sets out on an unforgettable journey through Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, a marvel of sights, sounds, and enchantment. This annual holiday tradition celebrates the magic of the season and the rich cultural heritage of Chicago.

A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer
Ben Pearcy/59 Productions. Learn more about Christopher Wheeldon here.

The Nutcracker is presented in 25 performances, December 3–27, 2022.

With gratitude to The Nutcracker Commissioning Sponsors: Margot and Josef Lakonishok, Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Hancher Auditorium, University of Iowa, and the many “Believers”.

Anna Karenina, February 15–26, 2023

Victoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez
photo by Cheryl Mann

Love is all-consuming for the beautiful but married Anna, who finds herself caught in a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Vronsky. Set in the late 19th century of Imperial Russia, Possokhov’s immersive adaptation—winner of the 2019 “Oscars of Dance” Benois de la Danse International Prize for Best Choreography—returns to the Joffrey for the first time since its successful world premiere in 2019. This blockbuster ballet, based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, features an original composition by award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky, costumes and sets by Emmy-Award-winning designer Tom Pye, and lighting by famed designer David Finn. Learn more about Yuri Possokhov here.

Choreography: Yuri Possokhov | Original Score: Ilya Demutsky

Anna Karenina is presented in 10 performances, February 15–26, 2023.

With gratitude to Anna Karenina Commissioning Sponsors: Producing Sponsors Margot and Josef Lakonishok and NIB Foundation; Major Sponsors Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, Mr. and Mrs. Joel V. Williamson, The Walter E. Heller Foundation, JHL Capital Group, Jane Ellen Murray Foundation, Diane and John Patience, Poetry Foundation, Rudolf Nureyev Fund at The Joffrey Ballet; and Sponsors Mary Jo and Doug Basler, Ethel and William Gofen, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, and the Australian Consulate-General in Chicago.

The Little Mermaid, April 19–30, 2023
Choreography: John Neumeier | Original Score: Lera Auerbach

Chicago Premiere

A gripping tableau of shadows and colors, Neumeier’s beautifully haunting interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairytale follows the tormented mermaid heroine on a journey between the divergent worlds of land and sea—one utterly complex, the other magnificently serene. With sets and costumes of the grandest scale, this fantastical love story, based on Andersen’s original and decidedly complex themes, makes its long-awaited Chicago debut. Learn more about John Neumeier, Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet, here. Not recommended for children ages 12 and under.

The Little Mermaid is presented in 10 performances, April 19–30, 2023. Special thanks to The Little Mermaid Production Sponsor Pamela Crutchfield.

New Commissions and Premieres in 2022

The Joffrey is also proud to announce three forthcoming world premieres in the summer and fall of 2022: the world premiere of Rita Finds Home, a new family-friendly ballet from the creative teamAmy Hall Garner (featured choreographer of the Joffrey’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition in 2011), author Karla Estela Rivera, and illustrator Elisa Chavarri; and two commissioned world premieres from choreographers Cathy Marston, choreographer of the Joffrey world premiere Of Mice and Men, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, choreographer of the original Joffrey creation Mammatus, in collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Rita Finds Home, a collaborative project between the Joffrey and Miami City Ballet, makes its debut at the Navy Pier Lake Stage, July 9–10, 2022, with additional free presentations throughout the summer; times and dates for the Joffrey’s collaboration with the CSO are to be announced.

More information for both performances will be released at a later date.

Special thanks to Rita Finds Home Commissioning Sponsors: Denise Littlefield Sobel, The Pritzker Foundation, Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark, Greg Cameron and Greg Thompson, Dr. Rebecca L. Sherrick, Fry Foundation with Amina Dickerson, Chicago Park District, the National Endowment for the Arts; and to Courtney Shea for supporting the creation of new work by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Cathy Marston.


Tickets and Subscriptions for the Joffrey’s 2022–2023 Season Performances

Three-program subscriptions for the fall, winter, and spring season productions, which do not includeThe Nutcracker,start at $108. Subscriptions are available for purchase online at, by mail (Joffrey Ballet Subscriptions, The Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601), by telephone at 312.386.8905, by fax at 312.739.0119 or by email

Single tickets for the October, February and April performances, as well as The Nutcracker, will be available starting August 1, 2022. Single tickets are available at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of 10 East Randolph Street, by telephone at 312.386.8905 or online at

All performances subject to change

About The Joffrey Ballet­­

The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 65 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works.

Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2022–2023 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, Anne L. Kaplan, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges our Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.”


A reminder this is NOT a sponsored post, my only posts that are sponsored, by an anonymous sponsor, are my book reviews.




























Jeffrey Banks at our first meeting at a Service Club of Chicago VIP reception…two of his books on display. We discussed his breathtakingly gorgeous book on Norman Norell, the only monograph on this American design legend, at the second nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club in 2018. The exquisite photos and Michael Vollbracht illustrations enhance Jeffrey’s brilliant words

Here are Jeffrey’s incredible take on fashion visually and with brilliantly researched text…each a treasure to be added to your expanding fashion book library. I’ve listed them chronically…

To celebrate the beginning of year 5 of nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club in June 2022, I’m excited that I’ll in conversation with Jeffrey with one of his favorite subjects, TARTAN. This book is a glorious exploration of all things tartan!
Am I allowed to have a favorite…if so it has to be NORELL Master of American Fashion. Lucky me that the book brought Jeffrey into my life (I always find it fascinating how one becomes immediate friends with a total stranger) and he has been a HUGE support of both nenasnotes The Fashion Book and Film Clubs, a great conversationalist on all things fashion, he knows everyone, you must follow him on Instagram! It brought Michael Vollbracht back to life with Michael’s dramatic illustrations (another friend…I worked with him on several occasions), and, of course, Mr. Norell, THE master creator of American Fashion. I still can’t believe I produced several of his fashion shows while I was at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago. An unassuming brilliant fashion icon. Lucky three times over being exposed to the greats of the dynamics of fashion!

With this post I complete my celebration and exploration of Black History Month through the many books about Black designers, influencers and authors. A varied group of entrepreneurs ALL making their mark not only in the history of fashion but history period! They must be saluted, remembered and studied. I hope all fashion study programs in all levels of education take note and include them in their curriculum and all libraries and book sellers have them in their stacks. As I said in my first post on this subject, we must learn our history not toss it away and let’s honor Black history all the time not just one month a year!

2019 at The Service Club of Chicago brunch at our favorite watering hole, RL Seated in front of the perfect book cover of Suzy Parker in an all over sequin gown, whoever said redheads can’t wear red…breathtakingly beautiful.


With my friend and author of two extraordinarily books…SUPREME MODELS and SUPREME ACTRESSES, Marcellas Reynolds. We are pictured at the launch of SUPREME MODELS for nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club. We launched SUPREME ACTRESSES virtually last fall. We go way back to his modeling days…I’m so very proud of his successes. What’s next, Marcellas??!!

Two superb books on the inner workings of the fashion industry by TERI AGINS, another author I had the pleasure to host for nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club with her book, HIJACKING THE RUNWAY.

No list would be complete without including the books by ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY….and I’ll bet there will be more on him by biographers…stay alert for those!

Lots more….here are the covers of a sampling of interesting fashion subjects, not in any particular order…

An amazing ground breaking woman to know….she was the first Black female millionaire and set the stage for others.
Josephine Baker, a major force in so many ways…an American who went to France where she became a huge star, was in the French Resistance, adopted 12 children…and for our fashion theme was the entertainer in the French segment of The Battle of Versailles fashion show…wore and loved Haute Couture! Her story is definitely worth knowing.

I’m doing one more post to celebrate Black History Month…it will feature a true Renaissance Man, JEFFREY BANKS, the talented award winning designer who has become a noted author of some of the most beautiful, informational monographs on fashion…that is what I will present to you. I did a nenasnotes post on Jeffrey in 2018. I am honored to call him a dear friend and look forward to sharing his oeuvre with you!



I want to continue celebrating Black History Month highlighting books on Black fashion designers and influencers. I know I am only touching the surface and encourage you to seek out these remarkable stories, interest you to read these books, add them to your expanding fashion library and most importantly enrich your knowledge of many unsung talents and their fascinating stories. I’m also including notable Black authors whose books explore the intricate fashion business….there will will be a Part 3. Do share other books that I’m not including. First, let’s acknowledge more designers…

One of the great designers….and an original voice and beyond compare creators….truly a must have book! This book accompanies the exhibition that will be at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts from June 22nd through November 6th.
Another exhibition catalog on the “founder” of street culture…Willi Smith a major contributor to the American fashion canon! So much information about a designer we must not ignore.
You should definitely know his name…he was one of the five American designers in the fashion show that put American designers on the world scene…The Battle of Versailles! Stephen Burrows helped make this part of fashion history. And speaking of The Battle of Versailles be sure to put Robin Givhan’s book at the top of your list….not only did the show spotlight American designers but also a bevy of exquisite Black models who showed their garments in a modern, easy style also not seen before. Here the book (also a documentary!) I’ll do several books on Black models in Part 3.
A newcomer and a fashion force to be acknowledged, Rihanna….
Other trend setting designers you need to know, Daniel R.Day known as Dapper Dan…..and Oswald Boateng, who is in the process of making a comeback….also check out his story A Man’s Story documentary on YouTube.

And, of course, the iconic Virgil Abloh’s books…Figures of Speech exhibition, mounted by Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art is traveling to the Brooklyn Museum from July 1, 2022 through January 29, 2023….an exciting unique exhibition, not to be missed! Three Abloh books (and I’m sure more to come)! A talent whose legacy will live on with the designers he mentored.

I think I’ll stop here…so many more to delve into…stay tuned for Part 3!


Mary J. Blige, Super Bowl half time show.

Who says you can’t be sexy at 51….obviously Mary J. Blige blew that theory away at this year’s spectacular Super Bowl half time show. Her performance dynamic and the costume….ah yes that outfit! I’m obsessed with the boots! Guess what the designer, Peter Dundas is this year’s The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum Designer of Excellence! The event is Wednesday, May 4 at The Langham, Chicago. Mark your calendar now…it’s sure to be a sold out event. Stay tuned for more details…..

Peter Dundas