FASHION REMEMBRANCE: HUBERT DE GIVENCHY

6C698FF1-A8C6-44DC-ADDC-E30AD447BB89A week after we learned of the death of the last of the great couturiers I feel everything has been written about this extraordinary creator by those who knew him, wrote about him and treasured his memory. His creativity was unparalleled not only in the world of fashion but also in his homes and his magnificent gardens.

I wanted to briefly talk about my memories of the few times I met him.  The first time was at the launch of his first cosmetic collection in 1966. It was always a ”contest” to see which of the major stores, usually the Speciality Stores….Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Teller, I. Magnin (Neiman Marcus wasn’t in Chicago yet) and, of course, Marshall Field’s, would launch the newest, hottest fragrance.  I must say Saks saw it’s share of these prestigious events. Obviously a cosmetic collection by one of the worlds most illustrious designers was beyond exciting. We had a huge fashion press in Chicago at the time and they were all vying for exclusives. I didn’t then believe in exclusives if the story doesn’t run you are ”dead in the water”. Instead, we always had a press party for visiting designers in addition to a reception for clients usually to benefit a charity. All was set, caterers in place, champagne chilled and I had the tuxedoed wait staff with their champagne ladened silver trays lined up on either side of the cosmetic aisle ready for the guest of honor, M. Givenchy, his people, the President of Saks, Corporate Cosmetic VP’s and our guests. I ran up to my office to quickly change, I am in ”mid-change” when my walkie-talkie (this is before tech thingies!) is swawking….”M. Givenchy’s car has just pulled up”!  My office was on the fourth floor, I finished pulling on my clothes torn down the stairs and made it to the door to escort the entourage into the store and the reception. Whew!!  I have worked with many, many wonderful creators through the years and I can say he was one of the most gracious, charming of all.  He made you feel like you were the only person he wanted to talk to, if only for a brief moment in time. This cosmetic line was short lived and we had the privilege of a second launch several years later. AFD15AD3-A8F0-45DC-9E8C-A92419EFF774.jpegThis photo, now in the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago, hung on my office wall was from the first launch.  Unfortunately, like several other designer photos, the salutation has faded into oblivion over the years.

In M. Givenchy received the Designer of Excellence Award from the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum at a sold-out black-tie gala held in the Museum in 1995 sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue. The front and inside cover of the evening’s invitation, the evening was planned with the direction of M. Givenchy’s dear friend, Victor Skrebneski (holding my hand) who took the photo on the invitation and is seen here with M. Givenchy and Bonnie Deutsch, the President of the Costume Council at that time.  The evening was a roaring success monetarily and prestigiously   It was the talk of the town. All the guests were given a small ivory silk pocket square with the Givenchy signature and rolled hem in grey. All three images courtesy of the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago.

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A close up of another Skrebneski photo of one of my favorite Givenchy dresses….you by now know my love of lily of the valley…what could be more divine!!!!!  Photog found on Pinterest.

We all know of the deep friendship between Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn from the time she chose her garments for Sabrina through most of her many films, as well as her personal wardrobe.  One of my most favorite garments are in Charade, loved the film (what’s not to like) and the clothes are to die for…she seems to have a new outfit in every frame…each better than the last.

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My favorite Skrebneski photograph of a Givenchy gown. Everything is perfection….the composition, the lighting the incredible staircase, the floor and of course the gown…oh my the gown!!!!  Found on Pinterest.

Of course, a few suggestions for your fashion book library….

I have very fortunate to have worked with the creme de la creme of the fashion world….lucky, lucky me!!

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: BES-BEN CHICAGO’S MAD HATTER

I had to share this very special event with you….March seems to be Nena in conversation with authors….beyond excited. Please join me.

The first 40 registrants will receive a FREE set of Bes-Ben Magnets!The Costume Council of The Chicago History Museum and
nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club invite you and your guests to attend a special virtual program featuring:

BES-BEN: CHICAGO’S MAD HATTER

With author Elizabeth Jachimowicz
former Costume Curator of the Chicago History Museum (1974-1989)
In Conversation with Nena Ivon of nenasnotes


Pages from Bes-Ben: Chicago’s Mad Hatter courtesy of Elizabeth JachimowiczTUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2021 

5:30pm to 7:00pm Central

 via Zoom Conference

(Link to follow)

$50 / Zoom Event Only

$150 / Event plus Signed BookPlease register online by clicking the button below:RegisterZoom link will be sent prior to program

Book orders must be received by 3/14/21
Available for pick-up ONLY at the Museum during March 16-23
No shipping available

If the images above do not display, please register by clicking here
Copyright © Chicago History Museum, All rights reserved.

JOFFREY BALLET WORLD PREMIERE TONIGHT!!!!!

I am so excited for this extraordinary gift that my beloved Joffrey Ballet Chicago is giving us tonight, Friday, February 26th at 7. It is free to view….I encourage you to make a donation to one of the jewels in our wonderful Chicago’s crown. It’s the least we can do. What a wonderful way to keep us engaged until we can all be together in person at their new home, the Lyric!

FOOD…FOOD…FOOD: LET’S TALK WOMXN OF CHICAGO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Chicago has an incredible restaurant scene and many of these restaurants are female owned and/or have female chefs, this tradition can be traced back to the late 1890’s when Bertha Palmer introduced Brownies at The Palmer House and Mrs. Hering’s 1890 Chicken Pot Pie launched Marshall Field’s Food Service and the Walnut Room Restaurant, it continues to be served to this day! When my friend, Clodagh Lawless, Proprietor of The Dearborn, brought an amazingly exciting event to my attention I knew I had to share it with you.

Clodagh Lawless

The Dearborn has been one of my go to restaurants from the week they opened. I am obsessed with the decor, obviously the fabulous food but most of all THE staff who welcome everyone like they are family….love it there and am happy to announce they will be reopening on March 10th! We all know the restaurant industry has suffered tremendously during the pandemic….each of us need to support our wonderful restaurant community…here is an easy way to do so and celebrate International Woman’s Day on March 8th. All of us MUST support women’s businesses.

I feel so strongly about this initiative I am copying the Let’s Talk press lease in its entirety. There is a lot of information…the bottom line is…the event is March 8th, pre-order by March 4th go to…

https://www.exploretock.com/letstalkdinetogetherchicago

Let’s all do this…sounds like a great fun delicious way to support our beloved restaurant industry.


Here are more details from the Let’s Talk press release…

Let’s Talk is a business initiative – women restaurateurs who are
battling jointly to survive this crisis. It is centered on dining and restaurants, an industry the country loves and that is hit hard, and it is a women’s story – one of collaboration, hope and battle, amidst doom.”

Let’s Talk Womxn was started in July 2020 in Chicago with 15 members. It was created as a forum for women restaurateurs to talk to each other and share resources. It has rapidly evolved to these entrepreneurs undertaking joint initiatives and combining their voice for actions to save their businesses. It is founded and led by Rohini Dey, Ph.D., owner of Vermilion restaurant (Chicago), a former trustee and founder/chair of the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program and former McKinsey & Co. consultant and World Bank economist. Let’s Talk has expanded to 350+ members across 12 cities including Washington DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati, the Bay Area/San Francisco, Phoenix, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle. The objective of Let’s Talk is to increase visibility, funds and combine economic power for women restaurateurs through this crisis and beyond.”

To celebrate this momentum and women’s positive collaboration, Let’s Talk is delighted to announce its official nationwide debut event on International Women’s Day. Nearly 100 women restaurateurs across nine of its cities invite all to join them for “Dine Together & Let’s Talk” on March 8, 2021. This evening features collaborative, surprise multi-restaurant dining experiences for takeout by the women of Let’s Talk. These dinners span four to ten-course menus priced $45-$150 for order by March 4th, such as at https://www.exploretock.com/letstalkdinetogetherchicago. Guests are invited to Dine Together as one city and join in a Zoom conversation from 7-8pm with the Let’s Talk women. Expect candor and a provocative discourse moderated by marquee names, including Congresswoman Marie Newman and bestselling author/TED speaker Angela Duckworth. Let’s Talk invites you share this event with colleagues, friends, daughters and sons to change the dialogue. They emphasize parity is NOT solely a women’s cause.”


“Restaurants are the hardest hit sector,” says Dey. “And women entrepreneurs within this segment are hit hardest. Our restaurants are smaller in scale and often undercapitalized. Women shoulder the inevitable extra home workload, and they are isolated as business owners. Let’s Talk is not an organization, it is not an entity, or an association – from whom we women restaurateurs have received a deluge of webinars, guidelines and manuals – it is an action movement by us.”

More About Let’s Talk: The commitment of each Let’s Talk member is voluntary and out-of-hide. Every Let’s Talk city is cohosted by two to four leading women restaurateurs. Learnings are actively cross-pollinated across cities. On-the-ground city initiatives so far have included Women’s Restaurant Weeks, collaborative tasting menus, food fairs, farmers markets, meal kits, subscriptions, cross-promotions, gift baskets, mentorship and more. Members have pooled voices to apply for grants, meet with governors and city officials, write op-eds and participate on panels to showcase the Let’s Talk model of positive action-oriented collaboration.”

“Partners of “Dine Together & Let’s Talk” include Beam Suntory, the Network of Executive Women, state restaurant associations (IRA, MRA, WHA) and Choose Chicago. For more information, please follow on Instagram @LetsTalkWomxn and check back at http://www.letstalkwomxn.com as the website is developed.”

Additional details on city participants can be found below. Every city offers a moderated Zoom conversation from 7-8pm. Dinner order links will follow on the Let’s Talk website in the coming weeks ahead.”


CHICAGO
• “Participants: Beverly Kim (Parachute and Wherewithall), Julia Momose (Kumiko), Clodagh Lawless (The Dearborn), Rohini Dey (Vermilion), Christine Cikowski (Honey Butter Fried Chicken), Deann Bayless (Frontera Group), Amy Morton (Found Kitchen, Social House), Tigist Reda (Demera), Mary Aregoni (Saigon Sisters), Genie Kwon (Kasama), Sophie Evanoff (Vanille Pâtisserie), Sandra Holl (Floriole), Mindy Gohr (Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe), Julia Shell (The Dandy Crown), Agnes Rapacz (TeeGschwendner), Sarah Stegner (Prairie Grass Café), Laurence Noguier (Bistronomic)
Offering: Surprise multi-restaurant four-course ($85) or eight-course ($160) for two.”

BOOKS…BOOKS…BOOKS: ELIZABETH & MARGARET: THE INTIMATE WORLD OF THE WINDSOR SISTERS

I am beyond excited to share my news with you….I have been invited by The Book Stall, my Independent Bookseller of choice, to be in conversation with author Andrew Morton to discuss his brand new book ELIZABETH & MARGARET: THE INTIMATE WORLD OF THE WINDSOR SISTERS. I happen to be obsessed with the Royals and am a devoted Anglophile, I’m sure I’ve mentioned that in many posts over the years, so it even more special for me

Here are all the details about the event….I do hope you can join us…it will be so much fun and, I know, very revealing about these close and yet distant sisters. Our conversation will be on the date of the book’s publication, March 30th. To attend please use link at the bottom of this post.

From The Book Stall….

An evening with best-selling author Andrew Morton discussing his new dual biography of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret

About this Event

Join us for an online conversation with famed biographer Andrew Morton, talking about his new book, Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters. Mr. Morton will be in conversation with Nena Ivon, Book Group Leader, former Fashion and Special Events Director at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago, and active blogger at nenasnotes.com. This is a ticketed event, and all ticket holders will receive a copy of Elizabeth & Margaret and an exclusive link to our live Crowdcast event.

“Thoroughly researched and well written, the most comprehensive account of the complex relationship between the Queen and Princess Margaret to date. Fascinating and enjoyable.”– Sarah Bradford, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth

About the Book: Perfect for fans of “The Crown,” this captivating biography from a New York Timesbestselling author follows Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Margaret as they navigate life in the royal spotlight.

They were the closest of sisters and the best of friends. But when their uncle Edward Vlll decided to abdicate the throne, the dynamic between Elizabeth and Margaret was dramatically altered. Forever more Margaret would have to curtsey to the sister she called “Lillibet.” And bow to her wishes.

Elizabeth would always look upon her younger sister’s antics with a kind of stoical amusement, but Margaret’s struggle to find a place and position inside the royal system–and her fraught relationship with its expectations–was often a source of tension. Famously, the Queen had to inform Margaret that the Church and government would not countenance her marrying a divorcee, Group Captain Peter Townsend, forcing Margaret to choose between keeping her title and royal allowances or her divorcee lover.

From the idyll of their cloistered early life, through their hidden war-time lives, into the divergent paths they took following their father’s death and Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne, this book explores their relationship over the years. Andrew Morton’s latest biography offers unique insight into these two drastically different sisters–one resigned to duty and responsibility, the other resistant to it–and the lasting impact they have had on the Crown, the royal family, and the ways it adapted to the changing mores of the 20th century.

About the Author: Andrew Morton studied history at the University of Sussex, England, with a focus on aristocracy and the 1930s. Morton has written extensively on celebrity including biographies of Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, and Madonna, as well as the British royal family. He has written bestselling biographies of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Prince Andrew, and Meghan Markle. His #1 New York Times bestselling biography Diana: Her True Storywon international acclaim, described by critics as a “modern classic” and “the closest we will ever come to her autobiography.”

We offer two ticket options:

1. Distant Attendee. ($32.45)This ticket admits one household to the event and includes a copy of Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters at 10% off the cover price. This ticket also includes US domestic shipping. Your book will be shipped on or just after 3/30/21.

2. Local Attendee. ($27.45)This ticket admits one household and includes a copy of Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters at 10% off the cover price. Ticketholders must pick up their copy from at The Book Stall, and can do so any time after 3/30/21 during our normal hours, 10 AM to 5 PM, Monday – Saturday. Pick-up must be within 20 days of the event.

To register use this link:

https://andrewmortoneventthebookstall.eventbrite.com

FASHION NOW: NORMA KAMALI

When two powerhouse fashion icons come together, what can they produce, a spectacular event, that’s what! The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, the support group of the world renowned Costume Collection housed at CHM, is teaming up with the “invincible” designer and wellness guru, Norma Kamali to present a fascinating evening event exploring the lifestyle that Kamali has described in her just published book, Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible.

As I have mentioned in several nenasnotes blog posts, I have been involved with the Costume Council since its inception, have held various positions over the years, chaired events, given lectures, have donated garments to the Collection and continue to be an active participant in its programming, that is why I am sharing this extra-special event with you.

I don’t know about you but I need a diversion from politics, the pandemic, crime, the Polar Vortex, isolation, quite frankly the continuing upsetting world we live in today….what better way than to hear how we can take care of ourselves, learn more about a successful decades long career in the always fascinating world of fashion and engage with a legend. And as a bonus, when you subscribe for the entire event you will receive not only a signed copy of the book but a “swag box” chucked full of goodies. Your contribution helps preserve the Costume Collection. How could we have survived this past year of changes without communicating via Zoom, I know it has been a lifeline to me, this evening will be presented via Zoom.

From the February 2nd New York Times, “The fashion designer Norma Kamali stays young in looks and spirit, but not for lack of effort. Ms. Kamali, who is best known for the archetypal sleeping-bag coat that debuted in the mid-1970s, is serious about her skin care — her wellness line, Normalife, was introduced last year — and, perhaps more important, about her diet and fitness regimen. She details her philosophy of “aging with power” in her new wellness book, “I Am Invincible”.

The Costume Collection of the Chicago History Museum with more than 50,000 costumes and textiles dating from the eighteenth century to the present, the Museum’s world-renowned Costume and Textiles collection is noted for both its size and the quality of its holdings.

Costume materials include work by distinguished designers such as Norma Kamali. The pieces picture are from the Collection…

Swimsuit ensemble, circa 1980. OMO/Norma Kamali. Gift of Mrs. Michael Leventhal. Chicago History Museum.
Norma Kamali first became well known for her swimwear after creating the red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah Fawcett in the iconic 1976 poster.
Dress, circa 1981. Norma Kamali. Gift of Mrs. Ralph J. Mills Jr., Chicago History Museum.
She debuted her “sweats” collection in 1980, a line of stylish day wear made of fleece-backed cotton knit (sweatshirt material). The collection featured cheerleader skirts, dropped waists, peplums and large shoulder pads. It was an immediate success and was widely copied.
Dress, circa 1981. Norma Kamali. Gift of Mrs. Ralph J. Mills Jr.. Chicago History Museum.
Evening dress, circa 1983. OMO/Norma Kamali. Gift of Mrs. Ralph J. Mills Jr. Chicago History Museum.
In 1977, Norma Kamali opened her OMO Norma Kamaliboutique (On My Own) in NYC. She gained recognition quickly by creating innovative 1940’s inspired evening ensembles from comfortable fabrics with large shoulder pads and cinched waists.

THE FOUR IMAGES ABOVE COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM COSTUME COLLECTION.

The iconic André Leon Talley wearing the iconic Kamali Sleeping Bag Coat (we need someone to donate one to the Collection….just a thought!). Image found on Pinterest, featured in The New York Times, date and photographer not known

Here is everything you need to know on how to register for this not to be missed event…the deadline is fast approaching and I wanted to get your attention before Super Bowl Sunday….sign up now! Will I see you there, I hope so!!!!

HOW TO PURCHASE: www.chicagohistory.org/normakamali




WOW!!!!!!!