It’s April! Just a little vignette Chez Moi…featuring a vintage glass vase sourced at our wonderful Randolph Street Market filled with fresh hyacinths from my dear friend, Pamella! Join the 20th Anniversary Randolph Street Market for its first weekend of 2023, May 27th and 28th.


A peek at a small sampling of my fashion books.

I have been collecting fashion books since high school so needless to say a very long time! I followed fashion magazines long before that…I come from a family of magazine lovers, as well as major bibliophiles! so no surprise. This is the first fashion book I got, I decided to go downtown after school, actually Michigan Avenue, to my favorite bookseller at the time, Main Street Book Store, mid-1950’s, to get the book. I talked Mom into joining me and we could then meet Daddy for supper at one of our favorite restaurants, A Bit Of Sweden….their smorgasbord was perfection….loved it.

Since that time, both establishments are long gone, my fashion library has grown to around 1000 tomes! I have most of them listed on the fabulous site, LibraryThing http://www.librarything.com they also have an app. I still have many more to add. It’s truly a full time job! As you know I have hosted a monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club since 2018, you do the math as to how many I’ve added in 5 1/2 years! I do add those as I get them and have them all together. Just a note on how I house these books…I have them either by designer…think Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent…or by theme such as Hollywood Costumes, French Designers, American Designers, Monographs, Novels, Biographies, Autobiographies, Anthologies…you get the idea. I have many first editions, many signed and many personalized. One of my treasures is a Godey’s Lady’s Book given to me by a dear friend…I found it in a vintage bookstore in Stratford, Canada.

Everywhere I go I seek out bookstores or antique shops and have found lots of treasures. I have also found several at our own Randolph Street Market (it’s celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year at its season opening May 27th and 28th). https://www.randolphstreetmarket.com

I’m hoping to house the collection at the Chicago History Museum in their research center. I want to leave it as a collection…if I find they aren’t interested I’ll seek another institution. Perhaps a fashion school. Need to do more research on that.

Now let’s look at what’s ahead for nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club…as usual, for most months, I’ll be in conversation with the authors. All via zoom.

APRIL 2023

MAY 2023

JUNE 2023


Met Museum Exhibition Book


All the nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club selections are available at my partner Independent Bookseller https://www.thebookstall.com I’m always open to book suggestions and be sure to stay tuned for upcoming reviews on these selections….happy fashionable reading!!!!!


And just like that the uber popular and dearly missed RANDOLPH STREET MARKET is back and so are the monthly nenasnotes exclusive posts for their blog, https://www.randolphstreetmarket.com!

What can you expect from my posts, well I’ll give you some hints….I’ll feature some thoughts on fashion and why sustainability is so important..what better way to shop responsibly that by adding vintage to your wardrobe…we all like to look unique, ✔️the wonderful finds…from designer names to logo tees and, of course, every fabulous accessory you can think of can be found at these extraordinary phenomenal events!!!

My first post is on the RSM blog as I write this…what is its theme you might ask….BARBIE!!!!! This photo found on Pinterest photo credit unknown.

Here I am in a fabulous beaded necklace and my exquisite vintage embroidered quilted kimono at a Market!

Always exciting jewelry finds…..

We will explore the return of vinyl….for the nostalgic it never went away for others it’s a new collectible. I’m also thrilled that young people are now craving their grannies china, silver, glassware…it’s about time.

Thinking mid-century modern furniture, objects, ✔️they are there…no need to fret! Many other furniture styles await your perusal….

Textiles…most certainly…I have found so many one of a kind pieces from paisley pieces to needlework to quilts, both old and new…I have dibs on any crazy quilts you spot! A rug, why not, all sizes on display!

You will find ANYTHING you are looking for or had no idea you wanted. I’ll hopefully inspire you to find new collectibles, items to spice up your wardrobe, furniture, art, even vintage tools….the possibilities are endless. Here we go…..enjoy the ride!!!!

Sally Schwartz, the incredible entrepreneur and founder of RSM, et Moi together again and always!!!!!! This photo taken by the late, great Steve Starr at our first RSM together.

All photos taken by me for nenasnotes at past Randolph Street Markets, unless otherwise noted.


Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Fall/Winter 2020/2021 ready to wear collections

Fashion Trend Report by Nena Ivon, nenasnotes, Originally published exclusively for Randolph Street Market. Updated and edited post republished with permission of Sally Schwartz.

During the confinement for our Pandemic I have been pondering, along with others in the industry, the future of fashion, retail and, in particular, fashion shows. How will the industry pivot to be not only relevant but how to present fashion…virtually…in person…both or….! ?Many of the “big” names will sit out this week’s New York Fashion Week as well as the upcoming London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. I’ll be glued to all sites to see what our creative minds have up their sleeves. Time for change, time for reinvention, time for major creativity in a time like no other. I can’t wait to see how technology will play into the scheme of things. In a world, (fashion), of self expression individuality and newness….what a once in a lifetime opportunity to make things exciting! I, for one, can not wait to see our new world through the eyes of the creative fashion powers that be! Stay tuned for my impressions of Spring 2021.

Now let’s talk about the durability of plaid as a classic pattern…one that we see year in and year out and always says Fall to me.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

I asked, Jeffrey Banks, a true Renaissance Man…designer, lecturer, fashion historian, and esteemed author of several books, most recently NORELL: MASTER OF AMERICAN FASHION, the first monograph on the iconic designer, to share a paragraph on the pattern. I encourage you to get his book TARTAN: Romancing the Plaid, to further explore its fashion story.

“TARTAN is one of two perennial patterns that seemingly never goes out of Fashion. The other perennial is animal prints. They are both all-time classics. And although some seasons they are more dominate a theme than others they are never more than a season or two out of the limelight. Because tartan is classic, romantic, subversive, and even sometimes ironic, its appeal never fails to fascinate. And it is the one pattern that even print shy men seem to always embrace!” Jeffrey Banks.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Tartan is often misused for all plaid it is by definition, “A woolen cloth woven in one of several patterns of plaid, especially of a design associated with a particular Scottish clan.” There are over 4000 tartan plaids.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Of course, the first brand we think of is Burberry, established in 1879 by Thomas Burberry. They trench coat “Its name derived from the trenches where military personnel were stationed in WW1, the original Burberry trench coat was designed in 1912 by Thomas Burberry to keep officers protected against wind and rain.”

“Initially developed for the military, each feature on a trench coat has been specifically designed for a reason. The epaulettes were added to display the rank of the officers while the storm shield, found on the upper back, enabled water to run off the coat and keep the wearer dry. A pleat was also featured on the back which allowed for ease of movement when running or on horseback.”

*The distinctive plaid lining was added in 1920.

I’m sure, just as Levi Strauss would be in awe at how his denim, originally for workman’s overalls, has evolved into classic fashion, Thomas Burberry could not have predicted the International success a military coat would have!

No plaid, to my mind’s eye, is more recognized. It hasn’t changed until recently….let’s look at the traditional and some newer versions.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

The Chicago flagship store on Michigan Avenue…..who knew, plaid architecture, brilliant marketing and a stunning addition to what is arguably the most diverse architectural city, Chicago, where modern architecture was born!

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

A book, of course…

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

From Alexander McQueen

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen wearing the official McQueen tartan at the Met’s Costume Institute gala for “Savage Beauty”.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Vivianne Westwood

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Yves Saint Laurent Couture

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Jean Paul Gaultier

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Want more…

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

To me plaid is always “in” as an accent, as an accessory, or as a complete outfit. It can be a traditional tartan or a new version of the classic Burberry plaid. It can be whimsical, think McQueen and Westwood, or line the classic trench coat that knows no gender. This season try it with a bit of leopard and what the heck a dash of a floral print, the point be confident in dressing and most of all have fun with your wardrobe styling!!!!

All photos from Pinterest photo credits unknown.
*Burberry quote from a Harrods editorial.


I have always loved maps and globes, the two maps you see in the above photo hung in my Father’s art studio for many years. This space had either charcoal gray or bitter chocolate brown walls with drapery and Paul McCobb furniture covered in Ben Rose Mid-Century modern textiles. They now hang in the “smoking” room in a Michigan country estate.

In today’s age of GPS (and recalculating), waze, GOOGLE maps, images of Earth and other planets from outer space we have lost the joy of just getting lost on our own to discover new adventures while trying to figure out a paper map sitting on our laps while playing navigator.

Globes and maps, in my opinion, make superb collections and you will find many examples at the Randolph Street Market this weekend, February 24 and 25 from 10 to 5. Check their website for the 2017 schedule.

Here are some pieces I have captured at past markets.

There are so many books and atlases to be studied on the subject which has fascinated humanity since Antiquity. Maps done with mysterious sea creatures or showing vast emptiness or the Earth being flat, which, believe it or not, is still being discussed today! Here are a few that look interesting to me and I have put on my to be read list. Here are some more globes and maps I found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.

I am obsessed with Instagram….admit it you are too….and follow at least a zillion fascinating posts. I have made “friends” with other “grammars” and often ask if I can use their images. Below you will see an example of a vignette using small souvenir globes courtesy of Renee Lafontaine of 21st Century Flea Market. Follow her you won’t be sorry….One of the first bloggers I met, back in the day, was Nikia Jefferson she, along with her amazing husband, have exposed their young son, Melvin Jefferson III aka “MJ” to the world of collectibles. This genius child can name all the countries on this map on his newly decorated bedroom. It is actually a decal, love it!!! You can view MJ on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/.channel/.UCTG1yB2VOGRcolWkfYxreoQ (since I am now blogging on my iPad some of the links I am giving you don’t go directly to the link. Sorry.)

Join this “Super Cool Dude” as he learns more about the world we live in. Share his pride in joy of experiencing new adventures.