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…. THE SOCIAL GRACES

I haven’t done a book review for quite awhile….I’ve found it difficult to concentrate on reading during COVID…strange but true. My TBR pile of hardcover books and a bulging Kindle keep staring at me. I have, of course, read my monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club features (and I must admit they have been excellent and I was in conversation with many of the authors, each throughly engaging!). I’m very happy to say I’m back to “pleasure” reading and first up, The Social Graces the new book by one of my favorite authors, Renée Rosen. I have enjoyed each of her books, her attention to detail and her extensive research is awesome! The book also happens to be my favorite genre, Historical Fiction and also a favorite period in American history, The Gilded Age….what’s not to like. Quite frankly, I liked it all.

Caroline Astor
Alva Vanderbilt

Although I thought I knew a lot about Mrs. William Backhouse Astor, Jr. (Caroline) and Mrs. William Kissam Vanderbilt (Alva) I learned so much more about these two grande dames of the New York social scene, their families, their homes, their parties, and most of all, their feuds. More importantly I realized how much has changed in society in the ensuing years and really how much has remained the same. Meaning everyone, in some way or another, wants to better themselves, be accepted, meaningfully contribute to one’s community, have a wonderful home(s), support the arts…the list goes on…and, of course, be recognized for all of it. Is it all about connections, of course it is, we call that networking today. Was it about marrying well, yes, but today’s woman has MUCH more flexibility to make her own life without the restrictions of so-called society. I do however wish we would get back to proper etiquette and proper attire, is that just me? I wonder.

The story is the tension of the established very wealthy and the brash nouveau riche. Can they learn to live with each other, will their competitive natures clash, you can bet they will. It is mainly about power. While this all seems quite trivial, wealth usually begets all manner of controversy, I have always thought of the good that can be done if money is of no object. Think of the staffs needed to maintain this lifestyle, the gorgeous residences, as well as the cultural institutions that are built, all that is involved by entertaining, going to the theater, opera, museums, patronizing couture and retail stores….all providing endless job opportunities.

I know you will enjoy this trip back in time when being the influencer rather than the influenced had a totally different connotation than it does today….or does it, some things never change. Get the book it’s fascinating.

Mrs. Astor receiving guests

Here is some timely news…on Wednesday, July 28 at 6:30 The Book Stall (by now you know that they are my Independent Bookseller of choice!) is hosting An Outdoor Live Event at Good Grapes, 821 Chestnut Court, Winnetka, with Renée Rosen. The Chicago author will discuss her new historical novel. This is a ticketed event. Click here to register.

This is not a sponsored post.

FASHION EVENT: THE SERVICE CLUB OF CHICAGO ANNUAL HAT LUNCHEON

My choice*for the annual must go to event….the Service Club of Chicago’s Spring Hat Luncheon on Friday, May 21st. I seem to be on a mission to get you out and about now that our year long restrictions are being eased. You know I have said during this lock down period that when we can go out again it will be with great style and a major desire to dress up. What a perfect event to do just that! This organization, led by President, Sherrill Bodine and the outstanding group of dedicated women, is one of the oldest in the City and continues to support so many causes. Always planning the next blockbuster event that everyone MUST attend!

So I say get your new chapeau ready, don your most festive attire and let’s party!!!!! *I found my perfect party hat on Pinterest photo credit unknown.

Here is everything you need to know and the guest speaker, Sandy Schreier is beyond fabulous, one you won’t want to miss. Co-Chairs, Michelle Baker, Cathy Bartholomay, and Annette Findling are looking forward to welcoming you.

Spring Hat Luncheon “Desperately Seeking Fashion”

May 21 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

$50 – $5000

Spring Hat Luncheon "Desperately Seeking Fashion"
SANDY SCHREIER

SANDY SCHREIER

Join us for the 2021 Spring Luncheon, THE Hat Luncheon in Chicago!

Our fabulous guest speaker is SANDY SCHREIER, fashion historian, collector, author and TV personality. The butterfly hat, pictured here, is by Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen and was part of her Metropolitan Museum exhibition IN PURSUIT OF FASHION: The Sandy Schreier Collection (November 2019-September 2020). Sandy’s presentation DESPERATELY SEEKING FASHION will highlight her magnificent millinery as well as many other pieces from her collection and highlights from her life and unusual career.

PICK OUT YOUR HATS AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS TODAY —

** MAXIMUM CAPACITY TODAY IS 150 GUESTS IN-PERSON – 50 PEOPLE PER ROOM.

WE WILL INCREASE THIS IF/WHEN REGULATIONS ALLOW.

ALL RESERVATIONS ARE ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SEATED BASIS. ALL SOCIAL DISTANCING PRACTICES WILL BE ENFORCED.

“What is a fashion historian? I’m afraid it doesn’t come from years of highfalutin’ study and degrees from Yale. It comes from Sandy Schreier’s lifelong obsession with collecting and researching fashion and Hollywood costuming. Sandy, herself, the great unsung movie star!”
-Isaac Mizrahi

BUY TICKETS — OR — MAKE A 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION


Raffle Prizes

The GRAND PRIZE

Dress It Up In Style. Saks Fifth Avenue provides an afternoon of fashion & fun for a group of 6 – including a private fashion/trend presentation with live models, lunch and each guest receives a beauty package & $50.00 store gift card! The host can sport their new stunning black cashmere cape with Mink border trim, from Maximilian Furs at Saks Fifth Avenue. Visit them at their new Saks location, 700 N. Michigan Avenue, 312-944-6500. Donation courtesy of Annette Findling & Saks Fifth Avenue
Value: $4,245.00

FIRST PRIZE

All That Glitters. Is indeed GOLD! The perfect accessory for the nights on the town we know are returning. From Chicago jeweler John Buechner, our First Prize Winner will go home sporting a gorgeous 14k
yellow gold Italian necklace, 16 inches long and weighing 30.85 grams. Courtesy of John Buechner, Inc., 8 S. Michigan Ave., 312-263-2226.
Value: $3,000.00

SECOND PRIZE

Look Better Than Ever. No matter what or who you wear… how good you look is often up to the camera lens and the artistry of the photographer. Famed photographer John Reilly provides you with an
in-studio photo session, along with a keepsake 20×24 Signature Portrait. Courtesy of John Reilly Photography, Chicago/Lake Forest. 312-266-2550.
Value: $1,300.00

THIRD PRIZE

Galas are Coming Back and you won’t want to miss ours! Enjoy two VIP tickets to The Service Club of Chicago Gala scheduled for Friday, November 5th, 2021 at The Four Seasons The black-tie event is always a must on the Fall schedule -this year celebrating CHICAGO and all the wonderful things that make us a world-class city. Donation courtesy of Michelle Baker.
Value: $1,300.00

SUMMER HAPPENINGS: RANDOLPH STREET MARKET ON THE MOVE

If you follow me you know I’ve been obsessed with the monthly Randolph Street Market since it’s inception and that like many of you bemoaned the fact that we didn’t have the pleasure of our monthly indulgence last year and the beginning of 2021…well that is about to change the end of May, yes, this month, when the illustrious Sally Schwartz takes her RSM on the road to Harbor Country and charming Three Oaks, Michigan! A 90 minute day trip needs to take its place on your summer calendar, May through September! Make a day of it after you have filled your trunk with great finds, explore Three Oaks…lots to see and do there as well. I’ve spent many a long weekend there and I can attest to the fun shops, delicious eateries, think Froehlichs and Staymaker at Journeymaker Distillery, the wonderful Vickers Movie House and on and on. Since you will be going each month you will be able to hit all the other wonderful towns in Harbor Country, it’s my favorite get away location. PS….this is not a paid post, none of my posts are underwritten (I would love them to be..hint…hint!), but rather my eagerness to share this exciting news and don’t we need something to look forward to and, in my opinion, a perfect way to spend a day in the country! Treat yourself, you are in for a real good time!

From Randolph Street Market…here are the details…..I for one, CAN NOT WAIT!!!!

“America’s world-renowned antique flea market takes a road-trip to Three Oaks Michigan, while our Chicago venue is undergoing renovation!!

Coming May, 2021 to Three Oaks Michigan. Tickets Now Available.

Forty chosen regional dealers, plus Los Angeles, Nashville and St. Louis bring curated displays of art and antiques, vintage and modern treasures,hand-crafted goods and more!

Enter Here For A Chance To Win 2 Free Tickets!

Entrance Fee is $5 per adult with children under twelve free. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance for guaranteed entrance. One dollar of every ticket purchased will support Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles-Buchanan, Michigan. Fernwood lies on the St. Joseph River on 105 acres of virgin forest, prairie, gardens, and walking trails.”

2021 Market Dates and Tickets

MAY 29+30 – BUY TICKETS

JUNE 19+20 – BUY TICKETS

JULY 3+4 – BUY TICKETS

AUGUST 7+8 – BUY TICKETS

SEPTEMBER 4+5 – BUY TICKETS

10am-6pm EST / 9am-5pm CST