BOOKS…BOOKS…BOOKS: nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club Begins Year Five!

A portion of my fashion book collection in my Book Nook…forgive me if I’ve posted this on my blog before!

I can’t quite believe that we are already half way through 2022…Happy June! Nor can I believe that this month we begin year five of nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club. In many ways it has changed from its concept, yet it remains the same in purpose! Once a month a fashion or lifestyle book is featured. Usually a new publication and usually I’m in conversation with the author. Until March 2020….a month none of us will forget, you may recall the pandemic descended upon us….we met as a group at an elegant private club in Chicago for Bubbles and Bites. The first half hour was a get together and then an hour of conversation followed by discussion and a Q & A. I always had that evenings and the next month’s book available for purchase thanks to my Independent Bookseller of choice The Book Stall in Winnetka https://www.thebookstall.com Beginning in March 2020 we went virtual and have continued virtually via zoom. We began with local attendees and now have guests from all over the States! I must admit the group has changed as some of the attendees miss the in person socialization of the events, but many have been with me since the beginning!

Some of the original group

Rana Lee, a very dear friend and one of my regular supporters, suggested I begin year five by sharing the list of our books and guest authors with you. Along with that I thought it would be fun to share a few photos of some of in person programs, again my apologies for repeat photos along with some covers.

With my dear friend, Annette Findling holding the brilliant Adrian Monograph.

The list…….*indicates conversation with the author

*LOU LOU AND YVES MAY 2018 WITH AUTHOR CHRISTOPHER PETKANAS

UNMISTAKABLY MACKIE JUNE 2018 (OUT OF PRINT)

*NORELL AUGUST 2018 WITH AUTHOR JEFFREY BANKS

*BONNIE CASHIN SEPTEMBER 2018 WITH AUTHOR STEPHANIE LAKE

DIOR AND HIS DECORATORS OCTOBER 2018

CAROLYNE ROEHM NOVEMBER 2018

*PINK DECEMBER 2018 WITH AUTHOR VALERIE STEELE

*PROUST’S DUCHESS FEBRUARY 2019 WITH AUTHOR CAROLINE WEBER

*DAWNRIDGE MARCH 2019 WITH AUTHOR HUTTON WILKINSON

YVES SAINT LAURENT BIO APRIL 2019

TONNE (GOODMAN) MAY 2019

*DAWN (MELLO) JUNE 2019 WITH AUTHOR JOHN TIFFANY

THE LAST COLLECTION JULY 2019 (NOVEL)

CAMP AUGUST 2019 METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

*SKREBNESKI IN PERSON SEPTEMBER 2019 MOST SALES…AND MOST ATTENDEES A TRIBUTE TO THE BRILLIANT CREATOR AND DEAR FRIEND

*SUPREME MODELS MARCELLAS REYNOLDS IN PERSON OCTOBER 2019

With Marcellas with his first blockbuster book!

*SCRIPT FOR SCANDAL NOVEMBER 2019 WITH AUTHORS RENÉE PATRICK (NOVEL)

ADRIAN DECEMBER 2019

*RALPH LAUREN JANUARY 2020 ALAN FLUSSER ON PHONE

KAISER KARL FEBRUARY 2020

BALLERINA MARCH 2020 CANCELLED CORONA VIRUS

BILL CUNNINGHAM APRIL 2020 CANCELLED CORONA VIRUS RESCHEDULED

*THE WOMEN WHO REVOLUTIONIZED FASHION WITH PETRA SLINKARD MAY 2020 STARTED OUR VIRTUAL CONVERSATIONS

CHANEL’S RIVIERA JUNE 2020

BILL CUNNINGHAM BOOK AND DOC JULY 2020 WITH CO-HOST JEFFREY BANKS

ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY AUGUST 2020 WITH CO-HOST MARCELLAS REYNOLDS

ABOUT TIME ANDREW BOLTON MET PUBLICATION SEPTEMBER 2020

*HIGHJACKING THE RUNWAY WITH TERI AGINS OCTOBER 2020

*KENNETH WITH GUISEPPI LONGO NOVEMBER 2020

* THE WORLD OF FEDERICO FORQUET WITH HAMISH BOWLES DECEMBER 2020

LESAGE JANUARY 2021 THAMES & HUDSON RESCHEDULED DUE TO TECH ISSUES

CECIL BEATON BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS FEBRUARY 2021

*BES-BEN WITH ELIZABETH JACHIMOWICZ MARCH 2021 PARTNERING WITH THE COSTUME COUNCIL OF THE CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM

WHAT BECOMES A LEGEND MOST RICHARD AVEDON BIO APRIL 2021

*FASHION LIVES: FASHION ICONS 1 WITH FERN MALLIS MAY 2021

*NAEEN KHAN EMBELLISHED WITH NAEEN KHAN JUNE 2021

*FILM NOIR STYLE WITH KIMBERLY TUMBLER JULY 2021

*DRESS CODES WITH RICHARD THOMPSON FORD AUGUST 2021

VIVIANNE WESTWOOD: RUNWAY SEPTEMBER 2021

LESAGE OCTOBER 2021

*SUPREME ACTRESSES WITH MARCELLAS REYNOLDS NOVEMBER 2021

MISS DIOR DECEMBER 7, 2021

*CHRISTIAN DIOR DESIGNER OF DREAMS WITH MAUREN FOOTER DECEMBER 14, 2021

*PATRICK KELLY RUNWAY OF LOVE WITH GUEST PETRA SLINKARD JANUARY 25, 2022 EXHIBITION NOW AT THE PEABODY MUSEUM IN SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS

*HER NAME WAS CARRIE WITH JERRIE MARCUS SMITH FEBRUARY 22, 2022

*CHANEL AT THE RITZ (NOVEL) WITH GIOIA DILBERTO MARCH 22, 2022

EMPRESS OF FASHION DIANA VREELAND BIO APRIL 26, 2022

*HALSTON BY LESLEY FROWICK AND HALSTON BY FRED ROTTMAN MAY 25, 2022

I’m very excited for our June selections….I’m featuring two books with their authors….first up the brand new biography ANNA by Amy Odell who will join me in conversation on Tuesday, June 14th. The book is beyond fabulous and Amy’s attention to detail in the interviews and research is very insightful! The book has been getting rave reviews. Our evening has been in the works for months and I couldn’t be more eager to share it with everyone.

Fabulous cover!!!!

Then on Tuesday, June 28th Jeffrey Banks who joined us year one with his extraordinary monograph on Norman Norell, returns to talk about another of his books and one of his passions, TARTAN: Romancing The Plaid! Jeffrey has become a HUGE supporter of nenasnotes The Fashion Book and The Fashion Film Clubs not only attending each month but instrumental in suggesting many of our books and inviting the authors to join us…I am forever in his debt! It is a not to be missed evening.

You definitely can judge a book by its cover!
Jeffrey Banks et Moi at a Service Club of Chicago brunch. In the background a photo of the cover of his Norell book!

The upcoming monthly schedule will continue to feature the newest, and, in some instances past books worth exploring, on fashion and lifestyle topics. Some novels, some monographs, some biographies some academic in scope, but I think always thought provoking. I constantly try to get the authors via zoom but even when they aren’t present our discussions become fascinating and, I hope, informative. I very briefly mentioned the nenasnotes The Fashion Film Club. That also meets monthly on the second Tuesday…I try to tie in the film or documentary with that month’s book choice. If you are interested in joining the group please email me at nenasnotes1@gmail.com. I like to keep our group small but there is always room for a few more!!!!

Looking very serious while listing to a call with the author!!

TUESDAY MUSINGS: THE MET GALA AND COSTUME EXHIBITION 2022!

BLAKE LIVELY IN VERSACE WITH CHANGING COLOR TAFFETA TRAIN…EXQUISITELY PERFECT!
WITH RYAN REYNOLDS RESPLENDENT IN WHITE TIE, THEY WERE CO-CHAIRS OF THE GALA
ALICIA KEYS IN THE KING OF AMERICA DESIGNERS, RALPH LAUREN’S BLACK CAPE WITH NEW YORK SKYLINE AND BEDAZZLING PERFECT GOWN!
JUST BEYOND!!!!!!
AND A NON-PUNK BILLIE EILISH BEING VERY ADULT IN GUCCI
At Preview
Nena in her favorite place in the Met Museum….The American Wing! This peaceful place always welcomes me! This is the location of this year’s fascinating Costume Collection exhibition!

My favorite room in the Exhibition is the Frank Lloyd Room in the America Wing featuring a gathering of the most divine tableau of Charles James creations styled by the master Martin Scorsese! Bringing three American icons together in one knockout display!!

And then there are the Ann Lowe’s garments featured in the Renaissance Revival Room interpreted by Julie Dash. I’m particularly taken by the shadowy seamstresses clad in black tulle. Ann Lowe was a prominent Black designer known as the creator of Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding gown. I featured her and her fascinating story in one of my nenasnotes The Fashion Master Classes on Black designers!
And Tom Ford’s chaotic feel of the iconic Battle of Versailles when the American Designers were dramatically presented and acknowledged as equals to the French designer establishment!

I think we need a field trip to NYC to take all this in…in person!!!!! The Met always stuns with its Costume Exhibitions and I particularly love them when they take us into the permanent collections, think Dangerous Liaisons, Goddess and one of my most favorite exhibitions ever…Anglomania! Until then read more on Vogue.com.

HAPPY MAY! LILY OF THE VALLEY MUSINGS…

From a Dürer Painting.

In the Victorian Language of Flowers Lily Of The Valley means the return of happiness! They most certainly mean that to me. They top my list of favorite flowers closely followed by roses, especially old fashion roses! Yet another blog post in the future….for this post…let’s look at the many aspects of this stunner and enjoy its brief seasonal appearance….Spring! When I was a little girl there was a huge vacant lot near my Rogers Park home filled curb to curb with Lily Of The Valley and wood violets….each spring I would gather arm loads of these glorious blooms and when we moved to Evanston we planted a bed of LOTV the length of our home in a bed about three feet wide….stunning and I can still remember their intoxicating smell!

From one of my most favorite blogs https://www.theglampad.com

“Did you know that in France the First of May is a public holiday, officially known as La Fête du Travail (National Labour Day) but also called La Fête du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day)? It is an occasion to present Lily of the Valley flowers to loved ones. The French tradition of giving Lily of the Valley on May Day is supposed to have begun on May 1st, 1561, when King Charles IX of France was presented with a bunch of Lily of the Valley flowers as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year.”

It is tradition to hang a May basket on your front door as well as your neighbors and other friends. I say let’s bring back that tradition….it is charming!!!!

By now you know my Lily of the Valley obsession….it doesn’t stop with objects, oh no it doesn’t…it continues to art, much of which I have shared with you and…..needlepoint, lots of needlepoint. The photo below is a close up of the center of a small rug 2’ x 3’ that I designed and worked from a chart. I prefer working from charts rather than painted pieces, just my preference. I have done both, having created hundreds of pieces over the yesrs. This particular work was done in 1974 (it is signed and dated) and has been a wall hanging, a small area rug and now rests on the back of one of my loveseats.

DB331CCA-ABA2-4FC2-8F46-A2924C2BF3E6
My Needlepoint Rug, one of several LOTV needlepoint pieces I made.

A few of my LOTV collections….

My breakfront with textured glass shelves and hand gilded interior (took 6 coats of Ralph Lauren gold leaf paint…but was fun to do!) this is a tiny look at the collection, it houses some of my favorite pieces!
A detail of my father’s small chest of drawers, from Paul McCobb, that held his watercolor paints and brushes, that I decoupaged with Lily Of The Valley vintage postcards collected for years at antique shows, flea markets, etc. First I painted the solid maple chest with green paint then antiqued it with flecks of black and gold paint. A nenasnote…my father and mother loved Mid-Century- Modern furniture and our home was all Paul McCobb! In my early teens I started collecting vintage pieces which I live with to this day. This chest, in its redone form, is the only piece left, I gave away all the McCobb pieces!
A vintage book given to me years ago by dear friends.
One of many of my hand-painted plates.
Another of my treasures, an oil painting commissioned by Ruthy, my mother, from British artist Deborah Jones through the Marshall Field’s Art Gallery. It hangs at the head of my painted antique French daybed.

Of course a couple of Fabergé pieces…

Some fashion…. “From his favorite flower, lily of the valley, Dior would make it an essential part of his couture. First there is this dried strand which he sews at the hem of each of his creations. Then there is the lily of the valley which he wears in a buttonhole and the one he offers, every May 1st, to his “little hands” and his biggest customers.” Quote found on Pinterest and, by the way, check out my nenasnotes Pinterest for my Lily Of The Valley board…lots and lots to look at there!! Now some pieces from Dior…

Diorissino 1956 in Baccarat crystal bottle main note Lily Of The Valley
Not vintage…but stunning nonetheless!
Giselle wearing Dior 2016
Front of Dior in Paris in 2020

And some knockouts from Hubert de Givenchy…

Organza cape…
Close up of a Victor Skrebneski photo of a Givenchy dress.

From Monique Lhuillier

Or perhaps some food…..this extraordinary cake and fabulous cookies…

Both photos from Pinterest no photo credit available.

From Carolyne Roehm…..https://www.carolyneroehm.com

Below from her collaboration with https://www.EnchantedHomecom another of my favorite blogs

Or perhaps some papier-mâché….am mad for these, I do have several pieces in my collections!

Or so there is always a tune…..

I could go on and on and on…..but I’ll stop here and let you enjoy the wonderful tradition of May 1st and the promise of its flower!

All photos, other than my collections or cited websites, were found on Pinterest photo credit unknown.