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!!!!!!!

SATURDAY MUSINGS: MUSIC BOXES AND STRAUSS WALTZES

The Vienna New Year’s Day Concert.

Every year, for as long as PBS has broadcast them (since 1959) I have watched the New Year’s Day concert from Vienna. This year’s was, like everything else, quite different and somewhat strange due to the continuing pandemic. The Vienna Philharmonic played, exquisitely led by our own Riccardo Muti, in the glorious Wiener Musikverein.

Maestro Riccardo Muti

The difference was the orchestra played to an empty hall but had millions of us watching and listening to this annual tradition, now hosted by Hugh Bonneville, who was in the UK. The broadcast will be repeated, in Chicago on WTTW, this Sunday, January 3. It has just been announced that Daniel Barenboim will conduct the 2022 Concert.

Johann Strauss II

This years program was, as usual, mostly Strauss, some of my most favorite music. Why you might ask…from the time I was very young, actually I could say from birth, I was exposed to many types of music in my home. I have always liked classical music, as did my parents…you by now know my taste, in just about everything (including my brain!), is very eclectic that continues in my music choices. At an early age I became obsessed with music boxes and asked Santa for one that played a Strauss waltz. Santa always delivered my wishes and I got a quite charming Swiss music box playing the Strauss waltz, Tales From The Vienna Woods, composed in 1868. https://youtube.com/watch?v=Og3joyCntrI&feature=share

Here is the top of my very old music box which, by the way, still plays!!!! I played it every night to lull me to sleep after Daddy either read me a beloved story or told me his own stories….loved those most of all!!!! Through the ensuing years I always have sound on, when working, reading, doing nothing at all, and even all night. It is truly the background to my life.

The beginnings of music boxes can be traced to Switzerland in 1796 and were small enough to be carried in a pocket, like a watch and often contained a timepiece. The music box as we know it became extremely popular in the mid 1800’s.

A stunning music box

Also, Automatons became highly prized and are now quite collectible

Remember the Monkey Automaton in Phantom of the Opera, it was a pivotal part of the story. He plays the hauntingly beautiful “Masquerade”.

I have, obviously, just scratched the surface of this fascinating subject (perhaps more in-depth research and a second post is in order!) and have mixed several stories in one post….but as I said my thoughts take many, many different directions and I don’t see that changing in this New Year! Stay tuned to see what I’ll explore next!

You knew I’d leave you with a suggested book or two….

All images from Pinterest photo credits unknown. Image of my music box taken with my iPhone.

MONDAY MUSINGS: ROMANCE NOVELS

BRIDGERTON the new NETFLIX series.

First of all a confession, I have never, to my knowledge, read a Romance Novel. No Barbara Cartland, no Harlequin, and no Julia Quinn. That statement will, probably need some research, to see exactly what a romance novel really is. In my mind’s eye it is the bodice ripping damsels, shirtless rogues gracing the covers of said books, perhaps I’m wrong! For an example in other genres Louise Penny is often listed in Cozy Mystery round ups…I don’t think of her fabulous books as “cozy” but that’s just me!

Well you might ask why am I doing this post…the answer is I have become addicted to the newseries BRIDGERTON on NETFLIX (FYI this isn’t a sponsored post, I’m not fortunate enough to have sponsors, with the New Year approaching maybe that will change….I live in hope!). I must admit I am totally enjoying it.

Why, for several reasons which I will get into in a minute. Let me begin at the beginning with the first episode. I started watching because I am a major Anglophile and enjoy most English period pieces. The Regency period intrigues me with its manners, clothing, interiors, gardens, etc. again more later. We all know this has been an extremely challenging year and I wasn’t looking forward to Christmas which all of a sudden arrived. I usually go to a new movie on Christmas Day with friends, obviously this wasn’t happening this year but there were lots of choices to watch (read this as what to stream) and I choose BRIDGERTON. Almost immediately I said to myself, “this seems to be a live action romance novel and I seem to be enjoying it!” I needed something pretty to look at, I certainly found that and with “romance” thrown in. Is it a bit silly, sure, does it draw you in, yep, do you want to know how the characters evolve, absolutely. This isn’t WAR AND PEACE, it’s an escapist fantasy.

Now for some of the interiors, not necessary period authentic (think the Kristen Durst Marie Antoinette film, hardly correct but totally delightful).

The costumes identify the characters (that is the point after all!)….the socially established, understatement and soft colors and the nouveau riche, bold color and pattern.

Lots of feathers, fans, fluttering, flirty, fainting…manners, etiquette, duels, balls, court intrigue…marrying well (usually to improve the family’s fortune), gossip, lots of gossip, it has it all. It most certainly isn’t a documentary, just a fun interlude in our current very dismal year. Watch it for the fun of it and perhaps you too might become a Romance Novel convert!

Photos courtesy Pinterest photo credit unknown. Mostly still from NETFLIX.

FASHION FOREVER: VINTAGE DESIGNER SCARVES

Vintage Designer Scarves … Always Classic, Always New

An easy and highly collectible statement that is always in fashion….the vintage designer scarf! Of course, a new designer scarf is an accessory to add panache to one’s wardrobe, but we are for purposes here, talking vintage since this is a Randolph Street Market post (RSM IS ON HIATUS), after all! The knowledgeable dealers love to tell you the stories behind their wares, learn from them particularly when shopping designer labels. We seem to gravitate to European fashion houses but should also consider a very American brand VERA whose whimsical prints have been with us since 1947. The variety of designer brands, pattern, color, ways to wear the scarves and how to use them in home décor seems to grow in popularity rather than be a fading fad. Let’s take a look at the big names, how to style them and display them at home.

HERMÈS

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

“The scarf made its debut in 1937, exactly 100 years after Hermes was founded. The design of the very first scarf was based on a woodblock drawing by Robert Dumas, a member of the Hermes family. It was made with imported Chinese silk which made the scarf twice as strong than any of the scarves available at the time and, thus, became an immediate hit.”

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Le Carré (The Square) first appeared in 1937.

“Since 1937, Hermes has produced over two thousand silk scarves, all produced in an Hermes factory near Lyon, France. Given that Hermes always catered to the very rich, the scarf was quickly adopted by royalty and celebrities. It was (and still is) worn as a headscarf by Queen Elizabeth. Audrey Hepburn wore it in countless iconic photos and Grace Kelly famously used it as a sling for her broken arm.”

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Queen Elizabeth II in her signature headscarf.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Audrey and Grace both huge Hermès supporters.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

From my wardrobe purchased in the 1980’s….love wearing it like this tucked into a suit jacket.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

When not wearing them…..frame them!!!!!

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

GUCCI

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

1966 Floral Scarf created for Grace Kelly, I had it then….did you, or will you find one on your quest!

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Another Gucci floral print…stunning!

CHANEL

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Who doesn’t covet a Chanel anything….well I do and like to add the scarves to my wardrobe. Look for special editions in silk, challis and, in some instances, cotton.

LIBERTY

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Let’s cross the pond to England where we find wonderful collections of scarves from Liberty of London. Always a favorite “bring home” remembrance especially the peacock print. The one below, in challis, a favorite of mine brought back for me by a favorite friend!!

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Liberty Of London started producing light silk scarves that became extremely popular during the post-World War I years.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Vera Neumann was a very talented artist and produced over 7000 works of art in her lifetime. The book on her work is a fascinating study of this unique creator.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

The last photos of Marilyn Monroe, before her untimely death, have her behind a thin veil….a Vera scarf…

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

The material below, from a Google search, gives us a detailed timeline of the label. A perfect “bring with you” when seeking a Vera piece.

“Vera Neumann (1907-1993), primarily a scarf designer, was a wonderful colorist with great graphic style. She signed her textiles Vera. Her fabrics are also seen in blouses and dresses from the 1960s and 1970s, using silk as well as cotton. Vera also designed textiles for the home, such as napkins and tablecloths. The Vera label is seen starting about 1947.

Here is a timeline to help date Vera scarves using the signature printed on the scarf.

1947 to mid-1950s: The earliest scarves were signed vera in a very small print. All the letters were lower case.

Late 1950s- The Vera signature became capitalized.

Early 1960s: The ladybug symbol and © copyright symbol (registered 1959) were added to the Vera. The signature and the bug were about the same size.

Mid- to late-1960s: The ladybug was used less and less, and the signature got larger. The ladybug became much smaller than signature.

Early 1970s: The Vera signature continued to get larger and bolder. Usually no ladybug.

Mid-1970s: Bug sometimes present, but disappears totally after 1976.

Late 1970s: Signature started to slightly shrink.

1980s: Smaller signature with © copyright symbol.

Vera died in 1993. At that time her name was licensed. The post-1993 scarves have a small “vera” signature and the copyright symbol.”

Written by Lizzie Bramlett, fuzzylizzie.com

Books… always…

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

There are literally zillions of tutorials available (including one from Hermès) on how to wear scarves. I find a casual look works well for me. How about you…how will you wear your new Vintage Designer Scarf that you scored at RSM!!!!????

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

I have just touched the surface of the vast world of vintage designer scarves….what treasures will you find to add a bit of flare to your wardrobe!!!! The possibilities are endless…

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Richard Quinn Fall/Winter Fall 2018

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by Nena Ivon
www.nenasnotes.com
www.facebook.com/Nena Ivon
www.instagram.com/nenasnotes

All photos from Pinterest photo credits unknown.

ORGINALLY PUBLISHED FOR THE FASHION TREND REPORT EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION.

HOLIDAY COLLECTIBLES

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins: Always Classic….Always New

The trend of the “Ugly” Christmas Sweater started in the 1980’s on television and in movies, and more importantly were worn with pride by all genders and ages especially in the UK…in my opinion they weren’t that ugly as evidenced by those worn by Colin Firth, above, in Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001…but then what would look ugly on him….Seriously!!!!!

The truly amusing, over the top sweaters have become so trendy, in the States, that parties are thrown, awards given, major competitions held to see who can be more outrageous. Many are now homemade, light up, have themes, I think, in some ways more fun than Halloween costumes. Let’s look at some of my Pinterest finds (photo credits unavailable), they might give you some inspiration….ho, ho, ho!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Of course, A Christmas Story lives on and on…

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Rudolph has had too much egg nog, watch that you don’t over indulge when driving your sleigh.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Be your own tree, why not!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

More themes and, I must add, they need embellishing without question.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

To wear when seeing the new Grinch movie, watching the original at home or reading the original book, another classic.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Perhaps a food theme…pizza anyone!?

More possible theme and interests…start with these and make them your own. All genders and ages. No one left out!!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

What could be ugly with Santa on your shoulder.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Even Whoopi has gotten into the act with her own on-line collection, way too much fun…love them, love her!!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

How about a couple of rather pretty ones and to serve at the party, cookies, of course…

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Love this one worn with red or white skirt or jeans.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Perhaps hightops to finish your outfit.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

And, for our furry friends.

CHRISTMAS PINS..

My friend, Tommy, collects Christmas pins and displays them in a gilt frame. There seems to be room for more but I think a larger frame is in the future

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

A few that caught my eye to start my own collection or consider for gifts…could be a fun dinner table place gift, a tree ornament, when not adorning your Holiday outfit or tied to a special package.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Let’s consider a snowflake in diamonds, yes, please!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

A snowflake pendant, why not…

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Some suggestions on ways to display your collection of pins or collectible jewelry pieces. A great way to use broken or perhaps only one earring, dramatic, personal and most certainly, one of a kind. I think they are smashing.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Books for established or beginning collectors, you bet…

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION