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.

3623C97A-7AD0-4A2C-A9E7-D1D8AA59E6CB.jpeg03FD557A-1F4A-434E-A222-725670BDF860.jpeg

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!!

DANCE…DANCE…DANCE: CELEBRATING GERALD ARPINO AND HIS LEGACY!

GERALD ARPINO

By now you think I am totally obsessed with the Joffrey and guess what you would be correct. My love for them began when they made their first visit to Chicago when they were still new and based in New York. I was lucky to tag along with my BFF, Barbara Varro, who at the time was fashion editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and was given the assignment to see a performance and interview Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino backstage after the performance! What a thrill!! I have loved ballet since I was a little girl sitting on my father’s lap watching all the wonder of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo…wow, I am really dating myself. Fast forward to me at Saks when I had the opportunity to work with the Joffrey for many special events benefiting the organization. Mr. Arpino graciously always attended and I was able to chat with him about his incredible productions…again What A Thrill! Fast forward even further when I became fast friends with the current outstanding team that is the Joffrey today, Ashley Wheater, Greg Cameron and Brian Smith… as well as another bestie, a Joffrey alum, Michael Anderson, again lucky me! It is, therefore, my privilege to share the advanced information on the Gerald Arpino Centennial Celebration on September 23 and 24 at the Auditorium Theater. Tickets go on sale in March….mark your calendar now, this is obviously a once in a lifetime opportunity to see so many outstanding Arpino ballets performed by so many diverse companies…who knows this might be the catalyst to end my seclusion!

ARPINO FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES
BALLET COMPANIES FROM ACROSS THE U.S.
FOR CHICAGO CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
SEPT. 23–24 AT THE AUDITORIUM THEATRE


The Arpino Chicago Centennial Celebration takes place September 23 and 24, 2023 at the historic Auditorium Theatre. Video courtesy of HMS.

January 14, 2023 marked the 100th birthday of Gerald Arpino, one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. As the culminating event in a multiyear salute to this extraordinary choreographer and co-founder/director of The Joffrey Ballet, The Gerald Arpino Foundationannounces the Chicago Centennial Celebration featuring ballet companies from around the country performing the choreographer’s work on one stage. Performances take place September 23 and 24, 2023 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago. Tickets go on sale in March 2023 at auditoriumtheatre.org.

The participating companies and the works they are performing are as follows:

Saturday, September 23, 7:30 p.m.
American Ballet Theatre (New York): Sea Shadow
Ballet West (Utah): RUTH, Ricordi per Due
The Joffrey Ballet (Illinois): Suite Saint-Saëns
Oklahoma City Ballet (Oklahoma): Birthday Variations
San Francisco Ballet (California): L’Air D’Esprit

Sunday, September 24, 2:00 p.m.
Ballet West (Utah): Light Rain
Complexions Contemporary Ballet (New York): Valentine
Eugene Ballet (Oregon): Reflections
The Joffrey Ballet (Illinois): Round of Angels
San Francisco Ballet (California): L’Air D’Esprit

Updates will be available on the Foundation’s website, arpinofoundation.org. All programming is subject to change.

Gerald Arpino (1923–2008) was a visionary choreographer who, along with Robert Joffrey, created a ballet company and a body of work that has made a singular and enduring impact on American ballet. Throughout his 50-year career, Arpino created nearly 50 ballets for The Joffrey Ballet. From landmark works like Trinity and Round of Angels to Suite Saint-Saëns and Light Rain, Arpino was a masterful artist and entertainer whose work brought audiences to their feet time and again.

The Gerald Arpino Foundation is committed to preserving and promoting the choreographic works of Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey while maintaining the integrity of their works through the highest level of artistic excellence. The Foundation allows qualified organizations the right to license Arpino’s and Joffrey’s choreographic works and offers repertory workshops, lectures, and master classes to teach a new generation of dancers the choreography and style of Joffrey and Arpino.



For more information, visit arpinofoundation.org.

Still photos top to bottom:
The Joffrey Ballet in Suite Saint-Saëns, photo by Cheryl Mann
Former Ballet West artists Arolyn Williams and Christopher Ruud in RUTH, Ricordi per Due, photo by Beau Pearson
Gerald Arpino, photo by Herbert Migdoll

BOOKS…BOOKS…BOOKS : A REMINDER OF A NOT TO BE MISSED EVENT….

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:

STARSTRUCK: How I Magically Transformed Chicago into Hollywood for More Than Fifty Years with author Michael Kutza in Conversation with Nena Ivon of nenasnotes, TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. via Zoom Conference( link to follow), tickets are $45.00 per person.

Please register online by clicking the button below:Purchase Tickets

To order the book, click here:Purchase the Book

Long before there was SUNDANCE, TRIBECA, and TORONTO, there was CHICAGO and a young kid from Chicago’s West Side named Michael Kutza. He decided that his city needed to see what it was missing around the world in international cinema and the glamor of Hollywood. So he founded the Chicago International Film Festival in 1964, with the help of silent screen star Colleen Moore and legendary film director King Vidor.

Join the Costume Council and nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club for a special virtual event featuring Michael Kutza in conversation with Nena Ivon. We’ll hear about a roller-coaster ride that lasted for better than half a century, with Kutza presiding over a gathering that throughout the decades hosted a veritable Who’s Who of the film world – from Harold Lloyd to Clint Eastwood, Bette Davis to Viola Davis, Steven Spielberg to Spike Lee, Guillermo del Toro to Jodie Foster, Lauren Bacall to Al Pacino.

Starstruck: How I Magically Transformed Chicago into Hollywood for More Than Fifty Years is Kutza’s rollicking, provocative, racy, colorful, irreverent show business memoir culled from his decades rubbing elbows with the giants of film at both the Chicago Festival and numerous other festivals around the globe.

Michael Kutza is a graphic designer, filmmaker, film critic and podcast co-host who founded the Chicago International Film Festival in the mid-1960s. He ran the festival and served as its artistic director until stepping down in 2018.Kutza remains CEO Emeritus of Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival.

Zoom link will be sent prior to program.
If you have already registered through nenasnotes Fashion Book Club,
no need to re-register; you will be sent the Zoom link.

Questions? Please contact Nell McKeown at mckeown@chicagohistory.org or (312) 799-2112.

Copyright © Chicago History Museum, All rights reserved.

Chicago History Museum
1601 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614

NENASNOTES THE FASHION BOOK AND FILM CLUBS PITCH!!!!!

A portion of my fashion library in my reading nook!!!!

Have you resolved to learn more about subjects that interest you….My resolution is to make the nenasnotes The Fashion Book and Film Clubs as well as nenasnotes The Fashion Master Class open to more attendees. The following is what I have prepared. I know many of you already attend the monthly events but many of you don’t…if not interested, perhaps you know someone who might enjoy our conversations.

Here we go…….As we begin a new year it’s time to learn new things and since the subject of fashion is interesting to so many and has so much diversity why not think about monthly get- togethers to learn more about this fascinating world of FASHION! You can do exactly that by joining nenasnotes fashion series of events.

A bit about me….Nena Ivon, upon retirement from a 50+ year career at Saks Fifth Avenue as Fashion and Public Relations Director in the Chicago store, began a new career as a lifestyle blogger with her nenasnotes blog, and also does freelance writing, and hosts monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club where she is in conversation with the authors of fashion and lifestyle books and The Fashion Film Club as well as a monthly The Fashion Master Class where she discusses the history of the fashion industry. She also writes two monthly posts for the Randolph Street Market blog. (My regular readers know these details!!)

That is a very brief paragraph of my past and what I am doing now….here is more detailed information on the events I host.

nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club…Meets the Fourth Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 7:00 Central Time via zoom. The fee $25.00 per month payable via PayPal. I’m usually in conversation with the authors of fashion and lifestyle books for the first hour allowing a half an hour for Q & A. YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO READ THE BOOK…IT IS NOT A PREREQUISITE! YOU WILL GATHER INFORMATION FROM THE CONVERSATION WITH THE AUTHORS. I ALWAYS RECOMMEND USING MY INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER OF CHOICE THE BOOK STALL. https://www.thebookstall.com

We will start year six of The Book Club in June and have done over 50 books from fashion monographs, to lifestyle books, to novels, to anthologies….and even a bit of Proust!!

With Stephanie Lake discussing her superb monograph on the extraordinary Bonnie Cashin. This was one of my first Book Club events.
With the brilliant designer and author, Jeffrey Banks, who has not only been in conversation with two of his books, NORELL and TARTAN (he will join me in conversation in June when we chat about his book PERRY ELLIS!) but he is a regular attendee of both Clubs! He is a super raconteur.

nenasnotes The Fashion Film Club meets the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 7:00 Central Time via zoom. Fee $25.00 per month via PayPal. The films coordinate with the month’s book selection. Attendees discuss how the actors costuming is relevant to the storyline of the film AGAIN, NOT A PREREQUISITE TO VIEW THE FILM, ENOUGH DO SO YOU CAN LEARN JUST BY ATTENDING!

One of our first films and one of the best, in my opinion, identifying the characters through their garments ADRIAN is at the top of his form….we start year four in March….lots and lots of documentaries, trend setting fashion films, during the past three years and lots more to discover and uncover!!

nenasnotes The Fashion Master Class Series 6 meets the third Wednesday of each month from 5:30 to 7:00 Central Time via zoom. Fee $50.00 per month payable via PayPal. Each month’s presentation deals with a fashion topic with PowerPoint presentation and offers insight into my personal stories of working in the fashion industry. Topics in 2023 will include: Fashion Editors as Style Arbiters from the 1800’s to today; The Story of Pearls; The History of The Little Black Dress; Late 20th Century and early 21st Century Designers such as Adolfo, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors; Couture Millinery; Bespoke Men’s Wear; Couture in Dance, Opera, Theater; Flowers in Couture Fashion; etc. This is probably my favorite of the presentations….I get to, in many instances, delve into my experiences with some of the over 200 fashion designers and other creators that I have worked with over the years

I hope I’ve stirred your thoughts of fashion and you will consider joining my journey into the fascinating world of style!!!!! For further details please contact me at nenasnotes1@gmail.com.

HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES…..CHRISTMAS IN BLUE ISLAND

I love the Holidays….don’t you! And after stuffing ourselves at the feast that is Thanksgiving it’s time to think about Christmas and what better time to do that is to take a short trip to a wonderful small town middle America old fashion day of holiday cheer ending in a lights parade….I can think of nowhere else that exemplifies that feeling than Blue Island, Illinois.

This town, established in 1835, is a hop, skip and jump from downtown Chicago and it’s claim to fame (actually it has many claims to fame…I’ll save more for a future post!) was back in the 1850’s when it became the brick making capital of the world and in 1883 when it became the hub of the car shops of The Rock Island Railroad. It prospered with the growth of the railroads as did other small towns such as Michigan City and LaPorte, Indiana (I’ll save the railroad story for yet another post!) Blue Island has such a variety of homes from vintage Victorian to bungalows to Mid-Century Modern that it is worth your while when you visit to drive around town…it’s extraordinary!

The events are all FREE (except when you find a treasure at The Kringle Mart!). This is made possible by year round fund raisers. This year only needed one to raise the necessary funds, the reopening of the beloved The Lyric Theater. The long awaited totally renovated building can hold up to 400 for special events as well as screens for movies.

Now back to the purpose of this post…Christmas in Blue Island! On Saturday, December 3rd a day filled with so many activities you will need to take a break at one of the many pubs and local restaurants before the evening’s Light Parade. A truly traditional day of family fun in small town America.

From last year’s Kringle Mart.
An elf ice sculpture….
A perfect photo op…I remember having one of Santa, aka my Daddy, and me a treasured memory!
One of the most popular attractions….the pony rides….another of my favorite memories as a child!

Forget about New York’s Macy’s Parade…give me a local heartfelt parade anytime of the year! Let’s look at some highlights from last year’s event…

This composite courtesy of Cas Ltd Photography
A beautifully restored 1940 Packard dressed up for the occasion.
The Blue Island Eisenhower High School Marching Band…obviously inspired by Professor Harold Hill of The Music Man fame and his Seventy-Six Trombones!
Mr. and Mrs. Claus arriving in style!
To the joy of this child’s face and mittened wave…..after all…that is what the day is all about!!!!

All photos provided by my BFF’s Tom Hawley and Tom Mantel.

BOOKS…BOOKS…BOOKS: STARSTRUCK

It isn’t often that a book hits a cord or in this case many cords with me….and that is exactly what Michael Kutza’s STARSTRUCK does!!!! It’s a memoir, it’s an insight into the birth of an entrepreneur, it’s a 50+ year history of a City plus much much more! It’s a deep dive into the movie industry with lots of intimate inside stories told with humor, honesty and a bit of sass, okay, a lot of sass!

It all started in 1964 when Chicago columnist, Irv Kupcinent introduced the 22 year old Kutza to the retired film star, Colleen Moore. Moore was a mega star in the 1920’s, was the first to bob her hair (which became her trademark) was the original “flapper“ and appeared in over 60 silent films. And by the way, you can see her magical fairy castle at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. It is amazing…perhaps I do a nenasnotes blog post on the unique artifact in the near future!

COLLEEN MOORE In the 1920’s
The Fairy Castle

Let me let Michael tell you the story of their meeting….

”So I met this wonderful lady named Colleen Moore. She was a silent film comedian just like Mary Pickford but she retired here and married a man named [Homer] Hargrave, who was the president of Merrill Lynch. He had just died so suddenly I’ve got this film star widow with nothing to do and when Irv Kupcinet introduced me to her it was like magic. It was very much like a mother and son relationship, she helped me to do the whole thing. She knew all the movie stars in the old days so she got them all together to come to the first film festival.”

COLLEEN MOORE In 1964
The first Chicago International Film Festival 1965


Kutza a totally hands on entrepreneur! Photo from STARSTRUCK.

Michael, a native Chicagoan, gives us a history lesson on the birth of the film industry in which, Chicago played a major part. I particularly like his telling of the Chaplin story from the beginnings of the mega genius Charlie Chaplin to his daughter, the actress Geraldine Chaplin, to Robert Downey, Jr. brilliantly playing Chaplin in the movie Chaplin!

From the book’s Press Release…”As described in vivid detail in Starstruck, Kutza presided over an annual gathering that would over the next half-century host a veritable Who’s Who of the film world – from Harold Lloyd to Clint Eastwood, Bette Davis to Viola Davis, Steven Spielberg to Spike Lee, Guillermo del Toro to Jodie Foster, Lauren Bacall to Al Pacino. At the same time, the festival helped introduce a plethora of new talent that would go on to revolutionize the movie business, including Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Helen Mirren.”

The following photos are found in the book…

With Orson Welles
With Angela Lansbury
With Dustin Hoffman
Roger Ebert a huge supporter of the Festival

You will learn, as I did, the backstories of stars (major actors, directors, producers…many have become Kutza’s close friends) “real” personalities…many very nice…others not so much! Their demand’s, how about a private plane at a huge cost, some a bit more titillating…no detail is left out and I’m sure there are many more stories to fill a volume 2! Plus there is so much to absorb you will want to read it again and again!

Some of the major stars and directors through the years (they, in my opinion. are also stars!!!) Here are more photos from the book…

Jane Fonda
Jack Nicholson
Sidney Poitier
Oliver Stone
Ron Howard

Kutza’s dream as a very young man was to bring the best of film to his City which he describes in great detail…you get the good, the bad and often the ugly…the ups and downs of the process of working against all odds to produce an Internationally recognized and acclaimed Film Festival that predated, Sundance, Tribeca and Toronto. I’m thrilled to do this review for someone I’ve known for decades and you will throughly enjoy his journey…get the book you won’t be sorry!

A crowd hamming it up before a screening!

Kutza has a Podcast, Nose to Nose….here is a YouTube piece he did on the book…take a look it is fascinating! https://youtu.be/4INswIiePBs

I am so excited to tell you that I will be in conversation with Michael, via zoom, on Tuesday, January 24th when nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club joins the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum in a special event. Do join us when two native Chicagoans talk about two Chicago institutions The Chicago International Film Festival and The Costume Collection at the Chicago History Museum guaranteed to be a great time! Invitations will be out soon…to get on the list please contact Nell McKeown at 312.799.2112orMcKeown@ChicagoHistory.org

More images from the book…

Michael’s iconic “eyes” image, a composite of the silent film stars.

Most images are from STARSTRUCK all others found on Pinterest no photo credit available.

AN INVITATION TO SUPREME MODELS THE DOCUMENTARY!!!!

Join the fashionable crowd on Friday, November 4th for an excitingly unique experience, a screening of the new documentary based on Marcellas Reynolds first book SUPREME MODELS. I did a review on the book and a profile on Marcellas several years ago (check the nenasnotes archive), both are worth your viewing. I’m beyond thrilled for the success Marcellas has had with his two books, by the way…another is in the works!!!!! And now this long overdue film on the iconic black models.

Marcellas with his first book and his personal appearance at one of the monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club meetings.

The evening will include a panel featuring Chicago’s own icons along with the producer and the incredible super model, Veronica Webb….a not to be missed event!

I asked Marcellas for an exclusive quote, here are his thoughts…

“First, I love Chicago, my hometown. I love museums. So much of my work as a writer and now a documentarian is based on reverence for history. This documentary is a love letter to Black women, Black models, and everyone of every race who come together to create the dream of fashion. It’s also a love letter to the city of Chicago.

The panel is comprised of heavyweights in art, business, and fashion. The screening and discussion are a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of a global conversation about diversity and inclusion. I can not wait to hear from the members of this incredible group.

I ride hard for my hometown, and I’m always looking for a reason to come home and see my friends. And what better excuse than a glamorous fundraiser at the CHM? I’m looking forward to seeing Chicago turn up and turn it out. It’s going to be a party!”

Thank you Marcellas….here is the invitation….I know you will not want to miss this, get your tickets now!!!!!

THE COSTUME COUNCIL of the CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM

presents

SUPREME MODELS the DOCUMENTARY

MIDWEST PREMIERE

FASHION, GLAMOUR & HISTORY!

Friday, November 4th, 2022, 5:30 – 9:30 PM
Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL

5:30-6:30 PM: VIP champagne and caviar reception (limited tickets)
6:30-7:00 PM: Doors open for seating
7:00-8:30 PM: Screening and panel discussion start promptly at 7:00 PM
8:30-9:30 PM: Catered reception and viewing of Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection exhibitionSponsor or Purchase Tickets

You’re invited to the exclusive Midwest Premiere of Supreme Models, the documentary series based on Marcellas Reynolds’ bestselling book, Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion. Join Marcellas Reynolds, Supreme Model Veronica Webb, Chicago Fashion Icon Ikram Goldman, Fashion Fair Cosmetics CEO Desirée Rogers and DuSable Museum Director of Curatorial Services and Community Partnerships Danny Dunson for a screening, panel discussion, and reception. The series features Iman, Zendaya, Precious Lee, Olivier Rousteing, Joan Smalls, Anna Wintour and many more.

Costume Council Co-chairs Pam Capitanini and John Rogers

Thank You to our Sponsors!

Model Sponsors
Lee Blackwell Baur
Richard and Diane Weinberg

Host Committee
Pamella Capitanini
Princess Greenwood
Rosemary Kallas
John Rogers
Noren Ungaretti

Questions? Please contact Nell McKeown at mckeown@chicagohistory.org or (312) 799-2112.