This week I have been featuring Christmas traditions, today I am highlighting the extraordinary collections of an extremely talented friend of mine, Virginia Heaven. We have known each other for years, and years, and years! We first met at the Chicago History Museum where she was the Assistant Curator of Costumes, we have continued our friendship through our association with the Costume Society of America Symposium and for the past many years with the Fashion Studies Department at Columbia College Chicago and spend many an evening over a glass or two of wine and a cheese tray at the Chicago Hilton talking about the way of the world. Virginia is never at a loss for words, ideas and her passion for collecting so many different things. I have used some of her photos in past posts and am still waiting (are you reading this Ms. Virginia….) for her to complete my profile questionnaire…..someday! Today I am sharing some of her Christmas favorites. Please forgive me for starting with my photo of the wonderful winter house she made and gave me several years ago. I should keep it out all year, but there are some things that one needs to keep for special occasions…don’t you agree! All photos are Virginia’s and I will give you brief information as we look at them.
A quote from Virginia “I have been collecting Christmas decorations in earnest since 1979 on my December honeymoon in Moscow (starter husband) where I purchased holiday ornaments made in Eastern Europe at the GUM Department Store (before it was fancy) still the Soviet Union. I have always loved Christmas and it was a huge thing when I was a child (only child like you Nena).” Virginia is English so we continue that theme as well, what can I say!
Her two most favorite things are her birds and her Snow Babies (which are getting much more collectible and more expensive, what isn’t!) Here a couple of photos of these two collections…..might I pause here and remind you that the last Randolph Street Market of 2017 is this Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17 from 10 to 5 each day. Do come for the festivities and see what you can find for last minute gifts and for yourself while enjoying yummy treats and delicious drink. And, by the way, there will be Christmas Trees in the parking lot (parking is free!!!!!!).
A beautiful German glass bird (I had these when I was a little girl) perched in her red tree. Some of her treasured Snow Babies, charm personified!
You knew I would find a book on the subject…….here you go.
Not one of Virginia’s but a charmer I found on Pinterest no photo credit available.
Rather than doing a review this week, I wanted to give you some recommendations on outstanding fashion books that have come out this year along with a couple other book thoughts for gift giving for your fashion friends and, of course, for yourself. 2017 has been an extremely good year for fashion titles and I am listing them in no particular order….here goes…..
The first three volumes in the series of designers for the House of Dior, the first, of course, Christian Dior. Absolutely magnificent and our very own Costume Collection at the Chicago History Museum is represented!
I have been an admirer of Siriano’s work since he appeared on Project Runway! His “fierce” style has just gotten better and better. It was my pleasure to welcome him to Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago on November 13, 2009, with one of his first Collections and I interviewed him later for a President’s Club event at Columbia College Chicago. He was my last personal appearance at Saks, that is the day I retired! When I have seen him over the years, he always says, “I was your last designer!”
By now you probably know I am obsessed with anything Dries Van Noten…here a two-volume set of his collections, it must be brilliant! Can’t wait to add them to my library.
One of several books that accompanied museum exhibitions…this one at the Met, as always exquisitely done!
The book that accompanies the exhibition that is currently at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Several of my friends have seen it and say it is a superb exhibition. I can’t find it on Amazon, only on the Museum’s website if you are interested in it.
From the Museum of Modern Art in New York featuring their first fashion exhibition (I swear I have seen fashion exhibits there in years gone by, I guess not!)
A wonderful anthology on the long-running Bazaar.
This looks amazing…a must add to your fashion library….
And speaking of fashion photography…one of the first was Cecil Beaton and this book accompanies the film by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who gave us The Eye Has To Travel about her grandmother-in-law, Diana Vreeland. You know that I am mad for anything Beaton does…anxious to read this and see the documentary.
And speaking of DV, the man who worked with her at Bazaar and Vogue and who we immediately think of when we think fashion photography…Richard Avedon, he, of course, did much more than fashion (as did most of the “fashion” photographers) and the second book, Avedon Something Personal, goes deep into his life. There was a fascinating review in last week’s weekend Wall Street Journal…does not paint a pretty picture, well let’s judge for ourselves, shall we!
There has been so much type re this scathing “diary” that it has put it on the New York Times Best Seller List and every other book list out there. Brown, known for not pulling punches, has done it again and it is another I can’t wait to get my hands on. Probably shouldn’t be on my fashion book list, but most certainly a book that chronicles social mores.
Another one out in left field but sounds fascinating….
As usual, do let me know what you have read, your thoughts on which, if any, appeal to you and then we can compare notes. Happy reading!
Brielle Buchberg and Lindsay Segal in Toyko.
When I began my blog a year ago two of the people I wanted to profile were Brielle Buchberg and Lindsay Segal the Co-Founders of the extraordinarily successful Luxury Garage Sale www.luxurygaragesale.com It has taken a year to finally have this happen and I am delighted to have my first joint profile with two very savvy and delightful entrepreneurs. I have known the ladies for years and have consigned with them many times over those years. I am obsessed with their great eye for trends and for what their clients are looking for (or better yet, didn’t even know they wanted!!!!) Sticklers for quality merchandise, they don’t disappoint.
Let’s hear from these on target businesswomen and get a glimpse of their lifelong friendship and their closely knit business and personal partnership. I know you will find their story engaging.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB
B: As a kid, I worked at my grandparent’s antique store in Lincolnwood on the weekends, In high school, I used to work with teens with special needs, shadowing them on their jobs. When I graduated from college I worked in PR before working as a corporate event planner.
L: When I was in grade school, I worked as a bagger at a grocery store- haha! My first job out of college was at Vogue.com as an editorial assistant
BRIEFLY, DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION
B: We are co-founders of Luxury Garage Sale (LGS) a designer consignment business. We mostly focus on branding and client experience initiatives.
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT
L: We launched LGS in 2011 after seeing a hole in the market for a luxury consignment experience that delivered white glove service and curated offerings – both for consignors and buyers.
LUXURY GARAGE SALE BOUTIQUES.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT” EXPLAIN
B: We had our first pop-up shop in early 2011 and had a line around the building to get in. Most of the local Chicago media outlets covered it and we knew immediately we were on to something!
HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW
L: We have always been interested in expressing ourselves through fashion. We saw a need for LGS in the market and were able to turn our innate passion and strengths into a thriving business.
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE
L: I was styling prior to starting LGS and would have most likely continued down that path
B: I was content as a corporate event planner but honestly can’t say what I would be doing today if we hadn’t started LGS.
B: Shopping :). We are both foodies and like to try new restaurants. Mostly love spending time with our kids!
HOME….MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES (WHAT ERA) ECLECTIC DESCRIBE
L: Mid-century modern meets Hollywood Regency. We both have very similar aesthetic and actually have a lot of the same items throughout both of our homes. My style leans a little more modern and Brie’s is slightly more traditional.
WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE (10-12 GUESTS)
B+L: Simon Doonan + Jonathan Adler, Iris Apfel, Gary Janetti, Karl Lagerfeld, Jessica Seinfeld, Stephen Colbert, Andy Cohen, Jeremy Scott, Jill Kargman, John Legend + Chrissy Teigen, Leslie Jones, Takashi Murakami, Barack Obama , If they don’t have to be living then John Lennon for sure! Of course, both of us and our husbands!
FAVORITE CHICAGO STREET ART
“Monument with Standing Beast,” by Jean Dubuffet for a few reasons… 1. We both love black and white and 2. When we were in middle school we both loved photography and took a trip downtown one day with Lindsay’s dad to shoot sites around the city. We took a million pictures of this sculpture and I’ll never forget it!
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND/OR ON YOUR GO TO LIST
B: TOKYO!!!! We went together with our husbands in 2015 and had the most incredible time. We ate our way through the entire trip!
L: Italy (Tuscany and Rome) as a close second.
Jason Buchberg, Lindsay Segal, Brielle Buchberg, Lou Jacobson
The picture-perfect families….
Lindsay Segal and Lou Jacobson with their precious little one…
The Buchbergs, Jason and Brielle with their adorable girls.
The Buchberg Childeren…Aiden, Sloane and Harper…
FAVORITE NEW CHICAGO RESTAURANT
B: We both LOVE Kai Zan!
L: Sushi is our top choice. I am also a big pasta eater… I am a huge fan of Monteverde.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LIFELONG FRIENDSHHIPTop photo 1988 bottom photo early 1990’s
B: We have been friends since we were 3! When we were younger we were always collecting things. Back then it was stickers, erasers and beanie babies and now it has moved to vintage fashion! We reconnected after college when Lindsay moved back to Chicago and after a quick conversation about the need for a luxury consignment business decided to start LGS! As they say, “The rest is history!”
Lindsay and Brielle fashionable even then for Halloween. Two-headed monster costume made by Brielle’s Mom, 1989.
Brielle and Lindsay
Brielle’s Goldman Family Pancake Recipe
My kids and nieces demand these every weekend for breakfast 🙂
PANCAKES3 cup unbleached flour6 teaspoon baking powder3 tablespoon sugar in the raw1 1/2 teaspoon salt4 1/2 cups skim milk6 tablespoons melted butter6 eggs beaten (use only 3 of the yolks)3 tablespoon vanillaMix all dry ingredients in smaller bowlMix all other ingredients in a larger bowlThen add dry ingredients to wet ingredientsDrop by large spoon onto hot griddle
Lindsay’s Pasta with Vodka, Parmesan and Basil from Bon Appetit
¼ cup olive oil
½ shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
½ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons vodka
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 pound fusilli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is brick red and starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add vodka and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add cream and red pepper flakes and stir until well blended. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to skillet with sauce along with butter and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until butter has melted and a thick, glossy sauce has formed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 oz. Parmesan, tossing to coat. Divide pasta among bowls, then top with basil and more Parmesan.
Do Ahead: Vodka sauce can be made 5 days ahead; cover and chill.
As 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.
Had 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.
Diana 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.
Two Monographs, you know me and books especially on fashion….the top title published in 2016 to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Carolina Herrera.
At her perfume launch
I 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!
At 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Carolina 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!!
Catherine Grace O’Connell in Bhanuni dress at Anthropologie, Michael Stars hat
I want you to meet a new friend of mine, Catherine Grace O’Connell. We were introduced by Annette Findling, www.womenwhorock.com whose profile I posted on March 6, 2017. I was asked to join a group that was being formed by Catherine, The Fierce 50. A group of women over 50 who have commen interests, fashion, decorating, books, self esteem…etc. this sounded right up my alley and, obviously, probably because of nena’snotes as well as a trend to featured “older” models in editorials and ads (Carmen, Lauren Hutton, etc.), books and movies…think IRIS and Advanced Style, I was interested in joining. Shortly after that introduction and being accepted into the fledgling group (hardly that now!!!!) I met Catherine at a coffee get together along with Annette and Kendra Chaplin, Publisher of Chicago Woman magazine www.chicago-woman.com and we all enjoyed a converstion that could have gone on for days not just a cup of coffee. Plans are being made to take The Fierce 50 Revolution much further than I think even Catherine thought of when she began this new venture. Now sit back enjoy your drink of choice and hear about Catherine’s journey, I know you will enjoy the ride, her story is impactful and for her, and others, inspirational….she is filled with compassion and a love for life that is infectious!
Blue and white stripe StyleKeepers blouse from Aros, Paige Denim jeans, Sam Edelman shoes and Clare V clutch
WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT
My first impression was only recently. I came from a family that never gave any positive messages about myself. It took most of my life to undo the original programming and low self esteem that I suffered with for most of my life. I always knew that I had a flair and passion for fashion yet I was told that it was superficial and definitely not a career path. I had no idea that I had any talent when it came to writing and I never saw myself as creative in any way until recently. The launch of my blog www.CatherineGraceO.com was a real turning point in my life. I was coming back from having spent an entire year bedridden with seizures and I went down to 100 pounds. My organs began shutting down and on 11/11/14, I went through a Near Death Experience. The creation of the blog is what saved my life. Channeling my energy in a positive way and focusing on living rather than surviving made all the difference in the world. I found an internal confidence that I never knew existed. I had been on a deeply spiritual path and that was an enormous part of my recovery as well. Healing from the inside out, finding passion and purpose and reconnecting with the world and helping others was the key to saving my life.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT” EXPLAIN
I’m not sure I have “made it” as of yet. What I am certain of is that for the first time in my life, my beliefs about myself have changed. I like who I am and I love what I am doing with my life. Even while a young child, I felt different from others. I always knew that I had a bigger purpose and I was here to make a difference in the world and to try and leave this world a better place. Founding The Fierce 50 was life changing for me. My heart feels such empathy for others. I have never understood why people discount people due to age. To me, age is just a number and our attitude toward life is everything. The Fierce 50 brings a new vibrance, energy and hope to women at midlife and beyond.
Beth Briggs Illustration www.bethbriggs.com (Nena’s note, I think she is a brilliant illustrator and the images constantly change looks, fashion and more importantly, body shapes!)
HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW
I was passionate about fashion as a young girl. Believe it or not, I was raised as a tomboy and never had pretty clothes. I had 4 brothers and the house was a very male household with gocarts and motorcycles. I never had a Barbie doll. When I was old enough to begin working at 13, I spent all my money on clothing. When I was 16, I took a bus to the mall and went to work at Charles A. Stevens. I spent every penny of my paycheck on clothes. It was such a confidence builder. When I would try on something new and beautiful, it would affect the way that I felt about myself. I found fashion to be incredibly empowering and life changing. It’s an amazing way for a woman to use her own creative powers of self expression. Fashion is the way the world views us. It’s kind of like a personal calling card. Let’s be honest, we live in a very image conscious world and people judge us based upon how we look. I don’t believe that you should ever dress for others but it’s a great way to express your personal style. When you look beautiful, you feel beautiful. Beautiful design has a way of shifting our energy and people respond to positive energy.
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE
I’m surprised by how much I love to write. When I first began to write many years ago, I was going through a very contentious divorce. I was in a dark place and the writing mirrored where I was at during that time. As I’ve evolved and healed, I’ve found that my writing is coming from a place of pure inspiration. It’s really easy for me. The words just flow very easily. I don’t “think” about it. I just write and allow the inspiration to come through. Great writing always takes teamwork. My business manager is also my editor and he’s brilliant at it. We make a fabulous team. He’s actually my ex-boyfriend who saved my life when I was bedridden with Lyme. That’s a whole story that hasn’t been told. We have a great partnership and work very well together. When you write, it’s difficult to see certain things clearly. It’s always helpful to have a second set of eyes on the creative process.
Cleobella dress, Michael Stars Hat
I’ve also recently launched a radio show with Kathy Kaehler who was on The Today Show for 14 years. She’s a brilliant radio host and we make a great team. We launched Cat & Kaehler: Fiercely Empowering Women of All Ages Through the Lens of Midlife. It’s really a show about the art of reinvention at midlife. We have both been through a great deal of adversity and we share very openly and authentically. We are also the voice of The Fierce 50 and we can’t wait to share the stories of the amazing women, including yours, Nena! If I were to do it all over again, I would have gone to school for journalism and broadcasting. I didn’t any self confidence and never dreamed that I could be doing what I’m doing today. I went to Vanderbilt University and double majored in Economics and French. I was planning to study International Finance so that I could go to Third World Countries and save the world. The studies weren’t my passion. Serving others definitely was and that’s what I’m doing today in a very different capacity.
YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, MOVIE, THEATER (BALLET, OPERA, SYMPHONY),TYPE OF MUSIC, LOCAL RESTAURANT
Oh, that’s hard. I have lots of favorite books. I’m a voracious reader. I grew up in the library surrounded by books. I was drawn to biographies and autobiographies as a child. I went through some very dark times in my marriage and I found the spiritual path which lit a fire inside of me. I’m a huge fan of Wayne Dyer. I love his “A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem” and “I can See Clearly Now.” I also love David Hawkens, “Power V. Force” and Danielle LaPorte, “White Hot Truth.” I recently interviewed her over the phone and she’s the real deal.
As far as movies, I rarely get to the movie theatre but I did see LaLa Land and though it was brilliant. I needed to see it as I wanted the inspiration for a Chico’s video and it was very inspiring. Tom Shadyac made a fabulous and eye opening movie called “I Am” that I found very inspiring. Right now, I’m watching “American Playboy” as I’m studying for an interview with Christie Hefner. She’s coming into the radio studio to do a live show in July and I’m thrilled. I have to admit that I was a bit closed minded about Playboy as I had certain ideas that have changed since watching the series. People may have preconceived notions about Hugh Hefner and Playboy. I’ve absolutely loved the series. Regardless of what you may think about him and Playboy, I’m fairly certain your viewpoint may change upon seeing the miniseries. He was a visionary and a brilliant businessman. I do believe that many women have a secret, sensual side that they may not know they have inside of them. He seemed to tap into this during a time period that was very conservative.
When it comes to theatre, I’ll take Musical Theatre any day. My favorite musical of all time remains RENT. I can sign along to that musical soundtrack any day. Although, you may not want to hear me sing. I belt ut songs at the top of my lungs and lets just say, I’ve never been trained!
I went to school in the South and Country Music and Southern Rock will always be my favorites. I put on the song, “The Fighter” which is a duet with Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban almost daily. I’m an energy worker and this song shifts my energy in an instant!
I grew up in Chicago and moved to LA 7 years ago. I’ve always been a seafood lover. My favorite restaurant is in the Northern Suburbs of Ravinia. It’s called Michaels. It’s run by Michael Paulsen who is also the chef and its’ truly the most divine food I have ever tasted. He starts with these homemade rolls fresh out of the oven covered in the most delicious cheese. It’s heaven! In LA, I live in the South Bay. My favorite restaurant is very casual. It’s the Fish House in Manhattan Beach. I would be great on a desert island. Give me fish and coconuts, and I’m a happy camper.
I took up yoga late in life. I started in Chicago in my early 40’s and I never quite found my spot. Moving to Manhattan Beach, I discovered the YogaLoft. If I had more time, I would become an instructor and train there. They have the most fabulous instructors. It’s very laid back with no pressure and I love that. To me, yoga is all about you. It’s not meant to be competitive. It’s designed to create space inside of you and to reconnect you to your mind and body. I also love meditation. I can’t say I’m great at it as it’s hard to stay focused but that’s the point. I went to a meditation retreat in Whistler with Deepak Chopra and Davidji. It was life changing. I remember coming back and people thought I had snuck away and had work done! I had to laugh. Truly. We had a week of 12 hour meditation and it was hard but brilliant. I try and do it every single day. I also do breathwork and energy work.
I also love to do artwork. I can’t say I’m great at it but I do enjoy simple meditative coloring books and mandalas.
HOME….MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES (WHAT ERA) ECLECTIC
I had an interior design business in Chicago. I wasn’t formally trained but I’ve always had an “eye” for beautiful design and aesthetics. To me, it’s no different than fashion. It’s all about creative self expression. I’m very eclectic and non-traditional. I did my home in Chicago and did the entire renovation. I lived in Winnetka and made it a very beachy home with soft whites, pale blues and seashell scones and chandeliers. I guess I have always been a California girl at heart! A California couple bought the home. I’m not a big antique collector but I do love the Asian philosophy. I collect things like Buddhas and Quanyin figurines. I love things that have deep, spiritual devotional meanings. My daughter told me if I brought home one more Buddha she was going to kill me. You have to laugh!
WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER (LIVING OR DEAD) AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE
Oh, that’s a hard one. I have so many people I’m dying to interview. I absolutely love people’s stories. I’m one of those people that are very open and people love to ask me for advice. I was supposed to go on a cruise with Wayne Dyer right before he passed away. He would be at the top of the list. So would Mother Theresa, Jesus, Mother Mary, and David Hawkins.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND WHERE DO YOU WANT TO VISIT
I haven’t traveled a lot but have a deep desire to see the world. My favorite place would be either the beach or the mountains. I’ve never forgotten my first visit to Estes Park, Colorado or the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. I also love the beach. Maui is absolutely breathtaking and magical. I have a huge bucket list for travel. I would start with the Maldives and Bali. I’ve also never been to Italy and Greece. Those are high on my list.
Adidas Dress, Asos by Public Desire shoes
YOUR FAVORITE CHICAGO PUBLIC ART PIECE
I love the sculpture at Millennial Park. I can’t recall what they call the sculpture but it’s breathtaking. (Nena’s note, I presume she means Cloud Gate!)
HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED
I want to leave this world a better place. I’m a total empath and I feel people’s pain as though it were my own. Quite honestly, that’s why I started The Fierce 50. It was painful to me to see how women over 50 were treated. I’ve not had that difficult of an experience myself. I believe it’s because people have always thought I was younger than my age. I’ve never ever lied about my age except to get into a bar when I was under age. Other than that, I have always believed that we should be proud of our age and celebrate every moment. I love being a crusader for women over 50. I intend to be on the forefront of ushering in a new paradigm where we are revered for our age and our wisdom, much like they are in the Far East. Every single year is a triumph and a blessing. Plus, we are sending the wrong message to younger generations. They fear getting older when they should embrace it.
WOULD YOU SHARE A FAVORITE RECIPE OR TWO WITH US
I have an incredible homemade spaghetti that I make. It’s to die for and it’s one of my most requested recipes. It’s called Sensational Spaghetti http://www.food.com/recipe/sensational-spaghetti-sauce-109761 and I also make a homemade pot roast that’s killer. It cooks for hours so the meat falls apart. I was a vegetarian for awhile and I was sick all the time. I had to add meat back into my diet. I work for a nutrition company that’s on the cutting edge of superfood nutrition. I’m a big believer in healing from the inside out and also finding balance in your life. I don’t believe in diets or restriction. I believe in moderation in everything! I used to have a sweet tooth and was an addict. It’s completely gone now finding superfood nutrition. I start every day with a vegan dairy free chai meal replacement shake. It’s my greatest health secret.
CATHERINE’S BEEF POT ROAST
CATHERINE’S SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION
Radio: Cat & Kaehler
Cat & Kaehler Show Page: http://www.latalkradio.com/content/cat-kaehler
Archives on are this page as well
iTunes: search Cat & Kaehler
Instagram and Twitter: @catherinegraceo
Facebook: Fierce 50 Revolution Group Public Group
BLOGS CATHERINE FOLLOWS
Michael R. Hawley
As I continue my series of profiles of people I have known forever, new acquittances, and people I think you would be interested in learning about…I have found several that have had major impact on my life and career…one such is Michael R. Hawley. I first met Michael when he came to Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago as Vice President and General Manager. He had just, extremely successfully, opened the Bloomingdale’s SoHo store. We had been without a Store Manager for quite some time and, of course, everyone was excited and a bit apprehensive as to who the new “guy” would be. (Just a Nena’s note, in the 53 years I was with the company I had 8 managers, my first, Howard J. “Hal” Clyne was my boss for 20 of those years. Some had very long terms, some very brief…before they left for “greener pastures” and most were 3-year stints. I must admit I can’t even recall all the ownership and Corporate changes. Let’s say I’m still a Gimbel girl at heart and am thrilled that the company is once again owned by a world-renowned retailer….Hudson Bay! Yay, Saks Fifth Avenue!) I must tell you Michael’s enthusiam was contagious…he wanted everyone to participate to their best ability as individuals and as a team and a team we continued to be. I wanted to have all our new Store Managers to feel comfortable not only in the Store but in their new City. I hope I helped him with his relocation, I do know we became good friends from the beginning. I always love that he tells everyone since he knew I was retiring in November of 2009, he decided to leave the company in August, it does make a good story, don’t you agree! It is with deep pleasure that I share his journey with you….enjoy his story….
MICHAEL, TELL US WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT
I don’t recall a time when I wasn’t fascinated by products and brands. I grew up in Cincinnati, the headquarters of Proctor & Gamble and Federated Department Stores, at the time. The stores were wonderlands of excitement. The sense of theater and showmanship had been key to the growth of the industry. Proctor & Gamble marketed the consumer brands in everyone’s homes. I taught myself to read, before starting school, by recognizing brand logos in the Yellow Pages. With that accomplished, I opened my first store at the age of 5 on our front porch. I don’t recall sales being brisk but I certainly enjoyed merchandising the store. It would seem that I have always been a retailer.
My first paying job, if one considers $1.90 per hour as being paid, was in a fine linen store, as box boy. Perhaps they had heard of my front porch success. I made gift boxes after school. Throughout high school and college, I continued to work in the store. Whenever a coworker went on vacation, I offered to learn their job. Through those years, I was exposed to all aspects of the business and was an eager student.
Here not only a great article but Michael’s career timeline. Chicago Tribune.
Many people in my family were very creative. I was in awe of the beauty of their art and their ability to create it. Having produced art projects in school that only a mother could love, I did not self identify as creative. After college I had the opportunity to move to San Francisco. I was quite confident that with my all my experience in the linen store that I would quickly be snapped up by one of big stores in need of my assistance. As you might imagine, it didn’t turn out quite like I expected. I was hired as holiday sales help in the silver department at Gump’s. It was a fascinating emporium of incredible merchandise from all over the world. They were legendary arbiters of good taste. As part of the interview process we were required to pass a taste test.
After Christmas, I was hired as an assistant buyer in the Crystal department. I was then promoted to my first job. I was responsible for the textile department, which meant handwoven Persian rugs and various tribal textiles such as camel trappings. The moths had plenty to eat. The company was in the process of finalizing plans for a major storewide event. My predecessor had committed to a “textile shop”. It was scheduled to open in six weeks…and nothing had been done including a workable concept.
I read everything I could find to learn about the rugs and learned about business conducted in the ways of the Middle East. I found a resource for the most incredible antique fabrics from a couple who dealt in antique couture. Although the individual pieces were beautiful as they were, they were not particularly saleable. I created a London “cushion” shop filled with beautiful one of kind pillows that retailed up to $1500. This is where I first recognized the creativity in myself. It became successful leading to four collections a year and having my responsibility extended to the lamp department. It was almost exclusively product that I designed and had made. I loved the whole process.
Michael gave me this magnificent textile pillow when he was Vice Presiden/General Manager of Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago. I treasure this magnificent addition to my pillow collection primarily because he made it and most of all that he thought enough of me to share his creation with me!
MICHAEL, WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT”
I am not at all sure that we ever make it. There is always another mountain to climb and new challenges to conquer. One time that comes to mind was when I was interviewed by the New York Times. I had just opened a new store for Bloomingdale’s in SoHo as the General Manager.
Cover of Women’s Wear Daily for Bloomingdale’s SoHo Opening.
It was a very successful store opening and created a shift in the paradigm for the company. Reading about oneself in the NYT provided a certain feeling of having arrived http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/04/nyregion/public-lives-a-merchandise-snob-out-to-exceed-expectations.html Soon after being pursued by Saks Fifth Avenue for the Michigan Avenue store was also very flattering.
Chicago Magazine piece 2006
MICHAEL, HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW
I am a passionate guy. I can’t imagine spending a significant amount of time, let alone a lifetime, doing something for which I lacked passion. To do so would feel like my own personal hell.
My path has been far from linear. It does not look at all similar to what a career counselor describes to their soon to be college graduates. Early in my career, I failed to get whatever position I wanted at the time. I was open minded towards the opportunities, and trusted that it was in the company’s best interest to place me where they saw the greatest potential for success. I was willing to learn and one thing led to another. I just kept saying yes.
MICHAEL, WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE
This is an excellent question. I was not someone with career angst. When I was young, I never considered doing anything else. Not once. Having any particular talent frankly did not occur to me. I just loved merchandise and never thought about another path.
There are two distinct roles as a retailer. Merchandising is one and management is the other. As my career developed, I found leading large teams very rewarding and I was good at it. The team at Saks Chicago numbered more than 300. I like to think that leading a store family helped me become a better person. There was no shortage of opportunities for me to learn the impact of my actions on others. As a leader, I believe it is my responsibility to understand what my team members need from me to be successful and then provide it. I want to make it fun and rewarding. Winning is fun.
Skin Dimemsoms Team.
I get to enjoy watching people achieve more than they believed possible and that provides immense satisfaction. If I had known then, what I know now, I would have studied Clinical Psychology and opened a private practice.
Cheering on the Bloomingdale’s SoHo team.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, MOVIE, THEATER (BALLET, OPERA, SYMPHONY), TYPE OF MUSIC, LOCAL RESTAURANT/AND/OR TYPE OF FOOD
Beyond raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, I have a favorite everything. Just another aspect of life where my passion comes to play. I enjoy reading biographies. It is fascinating to learn about someone whose life may differ greatly from one’s own, yet beneath it all, we all have the same wants and needs. I just finished WAR PAINT, by Lindy Woodhead. The beauty industry that we know today was created in large part by two early entrepreneurs, Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein. The book was adapted for Broadway and I can’t wait to see it on my next trip to New York.
I don’t recall a time without music in my life. As a kid, I loved The Motown Sound. My taste has expanded and is rather eclectic. I listen to music everyday and love to sing. Following a brief stint in the choir at church, I now headline only in the shower or car. No thanks for this kindness is necessary.
Having fun at a black tie gala.
My favorite restaurant is Parachute on Elston in Avondale www.parachuterestaurant.com. Beverly and John have created a unique space with outstanding food drawing inspiration from Korean American cuisine. Their passion is apparent and we already know how I feel about that!
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES
I am a genealogist. Frustrated about my family’s inability to answer my questions, I decided to do some research myself. This has developed into a 20 year never ending project that I have found incredibly fascinating and inspiring. We study history and learn what our culture has determined was so. Even family histories are biased and frequently revisionist. It is quite special to have some visibility into who were our ancestors as human beings and having enough knowledge to determine why they made the choices they made.
MICHAEL DESCRIBE YOUR HOME….MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES (WHAT ERA) ECLECTIC
My taste is rather eclectic and has evolved over time. It is primarily mid-century modern coupled with Asian antiques. After many years of collecting, I find, like many others, that I am editing, and quite happy doing with less. (Nena’s note, his home is exquisite!!)
MICHAEL’S FANTASY DINNER GUEST LIST
- Diana, Princess of Wales
- Forrest Trefz, maternal grandfather
- Jackie Onassis
- Jesus of Nazareth
- Joseph Hawley, 1603-1690, 9th GGF
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
- Ray Hawley, paternal GF
- The Dalai Llama
- Thomas Jefferson
- Michael Hawley
I would serve Cincinnati Chili, of course.
I am mad for “original” recipes, Michael’s well used orginial copy from Cincinnati newspaper. Sounds yummy, enjoy!!!
MICHAEL’S FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND WHERE HE WOULD LIKE TO VISIT
I most enjoyed a trip China several years ago. My list of destinations is quite long and includes, Antarctica, The Galapagos, and Mars.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED
Ah, to be remembered at all is very special. It is important to me to have impact. I want to be remembered as a person of contribution. I am one of the founders of BEAUTYKIND, www.beautykind.us, an online retailer. Our mission is to provide a more meaningful way to shop for beauty products. We donate 5% of the purchase price to a charity of the customer’s choice. It is an idea whose time has come.
One of my charities of choice is charity: water. While I was running Saks, I challenged the team to build a well. I am very proud to share that we built it in Eritbo, Ethiopia. It provides 400 people with water everyday that they would not otherwise have. Link to our well https://vimeo.com/4247997
Michael’s grandparents, his grandfather, the well driller.
MICHAEL’S FAVORITE CHICAGO PUBLIC ART PIECE
Chicago Botanic Gardens is one of my favorite places anywhere. The property is so beautifully designed and executed, I could spend eternity there.
SOME BLOGS MICHAEL FOLLOWS
I am obsessed with wellness and self improvement. I read Well + Good www.wellandgood.com, The Fine Line and A Mishfit Life www.mishfitlife.com and, of course, www.nenasnotes.com.
My current most favorite photo of Michael taken in New York.
All photos courtesy of Michael R. Hawley with the exception of the pillow photo courtesy of it’s proud owner, Nena Ivon!
It’s a Sunday afternoon and the phone rings, a deep throaty voice with a magnificent French accent “Nena, Pauline….” it could not be anyone else! Most every Sunday for many years I would get this call and the same introduction. Always just a short hello and touch base for the week.
Sit back, pour yourself another cup of coffee or a glass of champagne this is a long one….
A treasured photo that hung on the “designer wall of fame” in my office. The criteria was that you had at least made a personal appearance in the Store. It is now part of the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago and I am using it with their permission.
I was a very, very lucky gal to be able to work with the best of the best during my career at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago. I have done several posts of some of the designers I have worked with, I’m trying to do them in some order, not always working, I’m sorry to say, but that is my intent. Having done shows, personal appearances, etc,. with well over 150 fashion personalities we will have lots of time to explore their importance on fashion and, for the purpose of nena’snotes, on my life and career. Of course, there are those who impacted me more than others, Adolfo, Bill Blass, Bob Mackie, Oscar de la Renta, Norman Norell, Mark Heister, to highlight several that I worked with and admired most, and who became friends (sorry all others….loved almost all of you…those are other stories to be told!!) And for this post, Pauline Trigère.
When I began at Saks, Pauline was showing her collections at Millie B. Oppenheimer (located at 1300 North State Parkway in the old Ambassador Hotels) and worked with the dynamic Ellie Pope, one of the Chicago fashion icons. Since I was totally into knowing as much as I could about all the “name” designers, the name Pauline Trigère was totally familiar to me. We did carry her line in Chicago and, of course, in New York. I got to see her garments up close and personal when doing the annual St. Luke’s Fashion Show (now the annual Rush Medical Center Fashion Show) in which Oppenheimer always featured her garments. When Oppenheimer closed we were fortunate to have Pauline join us for personal appearances and formal fashion shows.
I have talked about going to the New York Fashion Weeks for many years and when I began the shows were primarily in the designer’s showrooms, Pauline never varied from this practice. Her shows were intimate (usually done over two days, two per day) and at the beginning of my attending the shows she commentated them, then she became a back of the house last minute check while a number or name of the garment was read. When she did shows for us in Chicago she always commentated the shows and her audiences loved her insightful comments…we sold her clothes like popcorn!!!
Maybe if we look very closely we can find me in the audience….this coat was very typical of the Trigère look (I remember having many conversations with her about her major regret of not “licensing” her coats. She wanted to keep complete control over her garments, rightly so.) You could always identify a Trigère garment it had her creativity all over it.
Her signature coat, it spells PAULINE TRIGÈRE! Two of my coats are in the Columbia College Chicago Fashion Study Collection, one in a royal purple mohair and the other in a cranberry wool with wide notched collar.
Let’s go back to the beginning of her story. Pauline was born in Paris, France in 1908 (some references say 1912) to Russian émigrés, Alexander, a tailor and Cecile, a dressmaker. She wanted to become a surgeon but instead at age 15 apprenticed with a Paris Couture house and afer a few days she was told that they couldn’t teach her any more than she already knew, she stayed a year when she returned to work for her parents where she had begun as a young girl picking up pins and scraps from the floor. Her first design was a party dress when she was in school it was made because there wasn’t money to buy one. .
At age 19 she married a another Russian immigrant and tailor, Lazar Radley with whom she had two sons, Jean-Pierre and Philippe. In 1937 she, her two sons, her brother and mother fled France with the intention of going to Chile. Instead, after having a layover in New York for 6 weeks and a trip to Detroit to visit an uncle, she decided to stay in New York (she has stated that she wouldn’t live anywhere but New York!). She knew no English and learned to speak by watching movies. She became a design assistant at Ben Gershel & Co. and then an assistant to Travis Banton at Hattie Carnetie (FYI Carnegie never had a woman designer, didn’t believe in them) from 1937 until 1941, leaving just after Pearl Harbor. She separated from her husband and opened her own company, the House of Trigère with her brother Robert in 1942, by 1945 she had a respected label and shall we say the rest is history!!!! Throughout her career she made clothes for a woman with an active lifestyle. She designed for herself and was always her best model. She planned her clothes to move with the wearer, using fluid jerseys, chiffon. Her forte was wool, and she loved working on the bias, using sheer wools for afternoon and evening gowns. She usually added a jacket, a full length coat or a cape to go with each dress, and as I mentioned, always cut her garments into the cloth rather than making a pattern or muslin. Pauline won every fashion award, the Coty 3 times and in 1982 the highest decoration of the City of Paris, La Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris.
In her workroom working on a garment draping and cutting into the fabric which she then turned over to her pattern maker…you are looking at a genius at work. Image from Pinterest, photo credit unknown.
The finale of one of her shows in her New York showroom. From Pinterest, photo credit unknown.
The finale of her 50th Anniversary Show 1992. The finale was a retrospective of her collections. It was a huge hit with the audience at a private club in Chicago. We did a show for the Club for many years. Photo courtesy of the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago, www.colum.edu.
She was 5’4″ tall but gave the impression of being 8′ tall with her wonderful personality and unmatched talent. She draped and cut directly into the fabric, didn’t do a model she just DID IT!!! On one occasion I flew into New York to surprise her, she was doing a lecture/demonstration at FIT, I stayed at the back of the room and listened along with the students and guests to her explaining how to design while working on a dress, which she completed at the end of her talk. She looked up and saw me and the smile I got was worth the entire trip! She was thrilled that I thought enough of her to surprise her. I also attended her 50 Anniversary Gala, it was some party!!!!
She adored her home in Connectcut, La Tortue, so named because when she was looking at the property a giant turtle was basking in the sun on a big rock in the pond on the property. I once asked her about her love of turtles, she replied “I didn’t really love them but since the country home is named for them everyone gives me turtles…pins, boxes, paintings, etc.” so now I love them!” Her signature scarf is an abstract turtle print.
At home at La Tortue. Image from Pinterest photo credit unknown.
She adored entertaining at her New York apartment, which had a wonderous red room (think Diana Vreeland!!) and she often did the cooking (I’ve included one of her recipes at the end of this post). When I was in New York, which was at least twice a year sometimes more and I often spent my summer vacations there we would go to dinner in small neighborhood restaurants, always French and always delightful and beyond delicious.
Some stills from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Givenchy did all of Audrey Hepburn’s costumeas and Pauline Trigère did Patricia Neals! Neal’s character was the Trigère woman, elegant, self assured and moneyed, a perfect collaboration. Pinterest photos credit unknown.
She adored men and, in my opinion was quite the flirt in a totally charming way. When she was in Chicago for events I would oftens take her to dinner with some of my gentlemen friends and she found them delightful, so much so that they were invited to join me at her shows in New York on several occasions (on these trips we all stayed in a three bedroom suite at The Mark and would cross the street to the Cafe Carlyle to hear Bobby Short with much champagne and caviar…those were definitely the days). And did I mention the foyer of our suite was always filled with dozens of Cassablanca lillies…glorious! The guys loved going to the shows and were always treated royally by my designer friends…a totally different world from their businesses. She closed her ready-to-wear business in 1994 but continued to design her scarves and jewelry as well as produce her incredibly delicious fragrance. She also designed a collection for Gold Violin a line of accessories for seniors.
Her sketchbooks are housed at Kent State University in her dear friends, Jerry Silverman and Shannon Rogers Collection. Pauline Trigère gave the KSU Museum more than thirty dresses and ensembles, as well as sketchbooks spanning her entire career, from 1944 through 1994. The Trigère sketchbooks are currently housed in the June F. Mohler Fashion Library, located in Rockwell Hall, where they can be viewed by appointment. I visited the archives serveral years ago, they are amazing. In addition, the Pauline Trigère’s papers are held by Brandeis University Archives & Special Collections. And, of course, her work is part of every major costume collection in the world including our own Chicago History Museum Costume Collection, www.chicagohistory.org.
In her red room surrounded by items she created for Gold Violin. Pinterest photo credit unknown.
Pauline was always beautifully dressed, of course she was, coiffed and always, always, always wore a wonderful red lipstick and shaded glasses. She came to all our special shows, such as SFA/USA, our 50th anniversary Party in 1979 and the opening of the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Chicago Place in 1990. Also in 1990 she was an honored guest at the Fashion Group International of Chicago gala held in my honor at the Chicago Hilton…needness to say she was the life of the party!
From New York’s Designer Walk of Fame.
Pauline and Nena at the Mayfair Regent in the main floor lounge. I did many events coordinating with the then PR guru of the Hotel, Biba Roesch as well as many dinners in the Hotel’s Ciel Bleu restaurant, still miss it! This photo was taken at one of the breakfasts with designers we did. Informal get togethers with personalities who would share their stories….always fascinating. I think it’s time to do this again, any takers!!!!???? Photo courtesy of the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago.
Pauline remained active, with her great personal charm, French style and joie de vivre, into her 9th decade, she passed away in her sleep on Valentine’s Day 2002. Oh, how I miss those Sunday “Nena…Pauline” calls!!!!
FROM HELEN O’HAGAN’S COOKING IN STYLE COOKBOOK
PAULINE TRIGÈRE’S CRAB SOUP
2 cans celery soup (PT’s note any brand will do, NI’s note, I use Campbell’s)
1/2 can water or chicken bouillon
1 large onion, grated
Salt and white pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 pint heavy cream
1 pound crabmeat (preferrably fresh can be frozen not canned!!!)
1 cup light sherry
Chopped parsley for garnish
Put celery soup, water or bouillon and the very finely grated onion to heat in a saucepan. Add salt, white pepper and nutmeg. When warm, add the cream and crab, and the cup of sherry. Do not allow to boil, correct seasoning. Top with chopped fresh parsley. Serves 6.