To say it’s unusual for an independent specialty store to celebrate 100 years in business is truly an understatement….but that is exactly what the charming Lake Forest Shop is doing this month! What is their secret, in my minds eye several things, first it’s owner, the granddaughter of the founder of the business and the incredible personal service she and her staff give their clients. Remember I was in retail for my entire career so I definitely have an opinion on retail survival, wouldn’t you agree! She upholds the tradition of “giving the customer what she wants” in spades.
I had the privilege, upon my retirement, to work with Ellen and her team on several fashion events…they were incredible to work with, true professionals in every regard. Ellen fills her charming store with merchandise selected for her clients all of whom she knows intimately another key to the success of the store. I would suggest you go on line and read the story of the store as well see more photos, I’ve also included the press release information at the bottom of this post. https://www.lakeforestshop.com
The purpose of this post is to tell you about a very special event, yet another for the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, on Thursday, September 29th…I don’t know who is busier The Lake Forest Shop with their celebratory events or the CC with theirs!!!! By the way, the CC will be celebrating their own anniversary in 2024, their 50th! Stay tuned for all the special plans for that celebration. The Shop is known for its philanthropy and hosts many events annually. Here is the invitation for the CC event, for more information please contact Nell McKeown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the Costume Council members who will be modeling that evening…quite the bevy of beauties, I know you agree!
It’s always a treat to be able to get to know a designer better….such is the case with Peter Dundas. Peter is the 2022 recipient of the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum Designer of Excellence Award. More on the event celebrating him below. I wanted to ask Peter to do my usual Profile Questionnaire….instead I sent him special questions which he graciously took time from his Norwegian get away to answer for me.
When you think of the DUNDAS brand you immediately think celebrity dressing….let’s see what he has cooked up for next weeks Met Gala, I’m sure more showstoppers! Most recently, one of this year’s Super Bowl half time stars, Mary J. Blige wowed us not only with her performance but her incredible fashion…Dundas, of course!
Let’s hear from the creator….
Your garments are always showstoppers….how did you transition from ready to wear to designing for celebrities with custom pieces?
Thank you. Dressing celebrities came very naturally because they actually chose me. They started wearing pieces from my ready to wear collection and little by little the requests for custom looks started to come in. Custom pieces are not necessarily so different from ready to wear for me really. I want every person who wears my designs to look and feel amazing. I think fashion is about giving confidence and that appeals to everyone.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer, when did you discover your talent? Which of your time with other brands did you enjoy the most?
I always knew I loved fashion. It was partly a need because my widowed father had no clue how kids dressed and partly because of the pure love of color, the fantasy and later the sex appeal. I had my first manual sewing machine at 6 or 7 but coming from a family of mainly doctors I felt I needed to pursue something more serious for a profession. The decision that the love of this craft could not be ignored came when it was time for college. All of a sudden it appeared as the only path to take. The only path that would make me happy After art school I was incredibly lucky to land a top job in Paris at my then favourite designer; Jean-Paul Gaultier and I haven’t looked back since. I have had many incredible moments in many different places like Pucci in Italy, Lacroix and Ungaro in Paris, and at Cavalli twice, so it might be unfair to choose just one brand. Cavalli however was uniquely incredible because we were riding so high. Pucci was great too and we have had some amazing moments with DUNDAS.
Have you always done your own sketches…they are stunning.
Thank you. I sketch constantly. I always carry a pen. Today most of the sketches I publish are finished electronically mixing photorealism with my own illustration and for this I get a little help. Electronic illustrations facilitate communication, and for custom work it’s especially useful as you understand the garment better. Next is NFT’s which we started doing after the Super Bowl Halftime show with Mary J. Blige. Doing those and creating wearables accessible to anyone creates an even broader outreach that I think is very exciting and important for tomorrow.
How do you unwind, hard I’m sure with two little ones!
We are busier than ever but sometimes it’s about a change of pace or a change of scenery. My favourite time to unwind are summer breaks at our cottage on the Greek island of Naxos. It’s special because I built it; it has a huge fruit and vegetable garden where we make our own olive oil and can live off the fat of the land literally. It’s a healthy break from the urban existence. On a daily basis giving our son Alexios his evening bath is now probably one of my favourite moments and gets my mind off the business of dresses.
I’m obsessed with your personal style…tell me a little about how you have developed it.
I think I am a frustrated child of the 70’s. The mood-boards for my collections are always filled with images of rockstars from that era. Blondie, Pat Benatar, Keith Richards, Led Zeppelin and of course Cher. It’s my favorite era to be inspired by so naturally it trickles down to how I look and dress.
Last question…I always ask this question of people I’m profiling….tell me about your dream dinner party, who would be on our your guest list (living or dead) 10 to 12 people and what would you serve (my readers love celebrity recipes!)
Wow that’s a loaded question hmm. My guests would be:
-My partner Evangelo of course
-Yves Saint Laurent, both are my heros
-Melissa McCarthy for laughs
-Oprah because she is Oprah
-Bill Gates because he is an amazing entrepreneur who also cares about doing good
-Audrey Hepburn because she was a fashion icon when I was a kid watching old movies with my Dad
-The Dalai Lama for his wisdom
-Queen Elizabeth, I heard she is fun
-Rihanna as she is one of the most beautiful women I know and love to dress
-My mother because I didn’t really know her growing up
-At last God because she is of course always welcome
I would serve caviar on baked potato & champagne which is what I crave right this minute and then profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream!
Peter, thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions. They give all of us a wonderful glimpse into The World of Peter Dundas. May I offer my congratulations on receiving the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum 2022 Designer of Excellence Award.
PRESS RELEASE: THE COSTUME COUNCIL OF THE CHICAGO HISTORY MISEUM PRESENTS THE 2022 DESIGNER OF EXCELLENCE AWARD TO PETER DUNDAS ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 4th AT THE LANGHAM HOTEL
“The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum is pleased to announce an exciting evening honoring celebrity fashion designer Peter Dundas, as he receives our Designer of Excellence Award. His illustrious fashion career serving as Creative Director for Emmanuel Ungaro, Emilio Pucci, and Roberto Cavalli has shaped a global experience leading top fashion houses.
His eponymous brand, DUNDAS, launched in unconventional style debuting with Beyoncé Knowles at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Created in partnership with Evangelo Bousis, a Chicago native, DUNDAS continuously delivers notable, couture red carpet looks for celebrities: Shakira, Ciara, Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum, Mary J. Blige, H.E.R., Emily Ratajkowski and many more.”
Honorary Co-Chairs: Brian Atwood, Evangelo Bousis, and Nick Cave
“The Designer of Excellence Awards is a fundraiser to benefit the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum and has a rich history in our organization as an important pillar of designer recognition in Chicago. The Museum has more than 50,000 pieces of fashion in its archives and is one of the largest repositories in the world. Brian Atwood, Evangelo Bousis, and Nick Cave are this year’s honorary co-chairs. Over the years, the Awards have honored James Galanos, Geoffrey Beene, Christian Lacroix, Sonia Rykiel, Hubert de Givenchy, Bill Blass, Ralph Rucci, Bob Mackie, Carolina Herrera, and this year, we are thrilled to honor Peter Dundas. All proceeds benefit the Chicago History Museum for exhibition and curatorial needs to preserve the costume collection.”