Chicago has had lots of great store opening parties, but I can’t remember one being as well publicized and exciting as Victoria’s Secret grand opening. First of all, the ads alone would make any guy have a car accident upon seeing them for the first time—the tag line is “What’s sexy now, Chicago?” and includes a very sultry model in, what else, a Victoria’s Secret black lace bra and panties. And besides the ads, there are Lucite display cases all up and down Michigan Avenue with all manner of Angel wings which were worn in past Victoria’s Secret fashion shows inside. People can step up onto a little platform for a photo of themselves “wearing” the wings. Then there are instructions below where you can e-mail the pic and compete to be an Angel….oh yeah, I’m sure they will find a lot of Angels from this promotion but it is a very clever idea and as I walked along the street earlier in the day, it seemed EVERYONE was climbing up onto the little platform and then sheepishly asking passer-bys to snap a pic for them. It was very cute and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t only women doing this either! In any case, I was very much looking forward to the party which was, obviously, publicized to perfection by JKLS PR (Jill Katz and Lara Shipp). You could see the store at 734 N. Michigan Ave. from a mile away since it was lit up like a Roman candle! The pink carpet out front was jam packed with banks of photographers, many of them famous in their own right like Kelli Zink, Steve Starr, Melissa and Henrique Kerch (Factio Magazine) and Sally and Kerry Shorr with Miranda Wirth (Luxe Life Chicago). Even I had a Hollywood moment when I was asked to walk the pink carpet! It was a real thrill! Inside the party was less crowded than I expected but it was so refreshing. Most event organizers think the more the merrier but I don’t agree....madhouses are never good! The party was by invitation only and the invites were non-transferable. I know PR people usually try to snag some high-profile sports stars for their parties and, in this case, I don’t think they had to do much arm-twisting. Happily mingling with fans were Bears star linebacker Lance Briggs, Chicago Bulls Taj Gibson (there with his brother Floyd) and Derrick Rose, White Sox second baseman Chris Getz and former Bear Jerry Azumah. When the stars of the evening – VS Angels Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes and Marisa Miller – made their entrances, the room came alive. Upon seeing how gorgeous they all were in person, a friend said, “Well, that throws my air-brushing theory right out the window!” The store itself is gorgeous too! The front room is glamorous, dark and dramatic with shocking pink touches while the second floor houses the Pink Collection in a 5,000-square-foot space which caters to the younger VS set. This Chicago location, besides having the largest swimwear collection, is also the only store in Illinois to carry it year-round. They have VIP fit rooms as well as a Body Match Scanner that utilizes white light technology to capture body images for a perfect bra fit! The days of ill-fitting bras seem to be coming to an end! There is also ongoing open casting events in NY, Miami, LA and Chicago to find the next Runway Angel to join the supermodels as they walk in the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to be broadcast Tuesday, December 1st (10:00 p.m. EST). Other lucky guests seen sipping Limelight Catering’s signature drink of the night – the Magnificent Mile Martini – were Jerry Kleiner, Marisa Molinaro, Steve Traxler, Lee Ellison, Rebecca and Charlie Besser, Richard Roeper, The Bachlorette’s Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski, Trevian Kutti, Rich Foreside, Tonya Adamson, Billy Dec, Dan Uslen, Diane McGrath, Cat and Joe D’Orio, Kimberly Murray, Chris Norman, Chad and Adam Kramer, Brooks Rogalski, Elizavetta Efimova, Bracken Zimmerman, Jennifer Lane, Lou Canellis, Jessica Girdwain, Alec and Jeanette Ross, Paul Lee, Schae Lewis, Aeron Lancero, John Walcher, Jennifer Wirth, Sally and Kerry Shorr, Melissa and Henrique Kerch, Steve Starr and Kelli Zink. (Additional pics by Steve Starr and Luxe Life Chicago.) Click here to view more photos!
On this same evening, the street was alive with parties! Prior to the VS party, Tod’s at 121 E. Oak St. hosted an event introducing their new limited-edition book, Italian Touch, celebrating the Italian lifestyle. And, of course, their darling CEO, Marco Giacometti, was on hand to meet and greet the happy guests. Hosts for the evening included Laura and Matthew Anderson, Astra and Tom Gamsjaeger, Kerrie and Kevin Mudd, and Kate Templin and Ben Stahl. A portion of the evening’s proceeds benefitted the Joffrey Ballet Women’s Board and was also a kick-off for their 2009 Nutcracker Family dinner which will be held on December 12th. The store was aglow and full of smiling faces which included Harriet and Irwin Ross with their two handsome sons, Artistic Director Ashley Wheater, Christopher Conway, PR whiz Monique Jones (who planned this wonderful party), Margie Habermann, Ann Waters, Liz Sharp, Dorothy Bousseau, WB Prez Christine Ott, Rhonda Brown, Liz Adams, Margaret O’Connor, Lisa Malkin and crack staff members Julia Jankowski and Jen Hardin. View more photos here!
Fashion Focus started off with a bang in Millenium Park Thursday night when Macy’s presented the Designers of Chicago. Close to 1000 supporters showed up in a cold, driving rainstorm to cheer on their favorites which included Lara Miller, Blake Standard, 5p1t, Tennille White, Lauren Lein, Lee Allison, The Tiebar, Jermikko, Anna Hovet, Furio, Nora Del Busto, Cynthia Ryba and Audrey. These designers were nominated by the Mayor’s Fashion Council and are considered to be some of the best in the city. Tennille White drew the biggest applause: She creates great designs but she is also one of the very few designers who cater to the larger female figure. She had all beautiful models but one in particular caught my eye—Latesha Lipscomb. Not only is she full figured but she’s proud of it and full of attitude. The audience went crazy for her and in an e-mail to me, here’s what she had to say. “I’m a big girl doing big things and I really want to draw more attention to the struggles full-figured models and designers have in the industry.” After recently witnessing the Ralph Lauren fiasco where they had Photoshopped a photo of model Filippa Hamilton down to such a small size it appeared she had no room for her organs, this is a refreshing antidote. Winners for “Macy’s Distinction in Design” award, announced prior to the show, included jewelry designer Aya of Haji Couture who was wearing stunning earrings created entirely of feathers. Fashion czarina Melissa Gamble and Macy’s Andrea Schwartz teamed up to create this extravaganza and even though backstage flooding wreaked havoc on some of the clothes, Andrea joked, “This wet-look may start a new trend!” They also had the best DJ I’ve ever heard...DJ CY (pronounced "sigh). More images here! (Editorial photography by Jack Perno.)
And speaking of fashion, Latino Fashion Week begins on Monday, November 2nd with the Hair and Make-up Wars competition at Green Dolphin Street (2200 N. Ashland Ave.) from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. There are lots of fun events scheduled for this week of activities culminating with the Chicago Designers Award Presentation on Sunday, November 8th at V-Live (2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.) with the VIP reception starting at 5 p.m., fashion show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the trade show is from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. We need to support ALL of the fabulous designers in our community and help put Chicago on the fashion map so I hope you can join me! For more info and to purchase tickets, please click here.
As I mentioned to you last week, Bunky Cushing, hosted his wonderful “Handbags and Halos” luncheon at the Palmer House for 200 of his closest friends to benefit the Howard Brown Health Center. The exclusive, invite-only event raised more than $50,000 through its famous handbag raffle. Stanley Paul tickled the ivories and then David Easton – one of the world’s most sought-after interior designers – gave the keynote address. His eclectic design approach has transformed the residences of Carroll Petrie, Patricia Kluge and many leading industrialists. David shared a fascinating slide presentation about the evolution of design, from David Adler to his predictions for the pared down homes of tomorrow (since they aren’t traditional, I won’t be living in them). When I asked him what one would do with their beloved knickknacks, he said, “The only things you need to keep are your friends and books.” I sure can’t invite him over for tea since, as Chuck says, I have everything I’ve ever touched! Twelve lucky guests won handbags including MOI! I won a gorgeous Escada evening bag presented to me by the ever glamorous Ann Wallace. Other handbag donors included Ralph Lauren, Prada, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, 28 Shop at Macy’s and Brian Atwood among others. These bags will all go on sale at the Brown Elephant Resale Shop on November 14th. Besides Howard Brown, Bunky has supported the fundraising efforts of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, English-Speaking Union, Chicago Historical Society and the American Friends of Versailles. Look for Bunky’s next popular Early Birds and Book Worms breakfast party at RL after David Easton’s new design book comes out November 2010. (Pics by Dan Rest.) Click here for more photos!
Step Up Women's Network is an organization that every woman should know about. It’s a national non-profit women’s network dedicated to strengthening community resources for women and girls with chapters in New York City, LA and Chicago. Through teen empowerment programs for underserved girls, women’s health education and advocacy, professional mentorship, and social networking opportunities, they educate their members to ensure that women and girls have the tools they need to create a better future. Their largest event of the year will be at the Hotel Sax (333 N. Dearborn) on Thursday, November 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The goal is to attract new members to this worthy cause. There will be an inspiring keynote address, networking opportunities, drinks and hors d’oeuvres but more importantly, you will have the opportunity to help someone in need. Please join me….tickets are only $35 and maybe you can join and change a life. For more info and to buy tickets, please click here and check out their web site at SUWN.org.
Just when you think the world is moving too fast and you start to long for simpler times, the Old Town Triangle hosts its annual Fall Hoe Down party and Chili Cook-Off. It was a true “family affair” organized by the “Mayor” of Old Town, Shirley Baugher, and Michael Warnick. Everyone contributed something—a plate full of homemade cupcakes, various types of cole slaw, cornbread, pumpkin cookies AND the star of the night—CHILI! There were 16 different types of chili, to be exact, all vying for the top title. Judging was led by Perennial’s Chef Ryan Poli and it was a “hotly” contested race to be sure but in the end two winners emerged victorious. Lucy Baldwin won in the “Best New & Different” category (recipe follows) and Lucy Wojis won for her “Best Traditional & Classic” recipe. There was Bluegrass music by the Whiskey Hollow Band, a moonwalk and balloon artists for the kids and lots of mixing and mingling. Partygoers included Alice and Judge John Huff, Monika Betts, Norman Baugher, Dan Baldwin, Alderman Vi Daley, Shannon and John Waterfied with Berit and Scotty, Deborah and Ed Howlett, Rob Katz, Carolyn Armenita David, Karen Stephenson, Sharon O’Brien, Chris Lon, Mary Martel, Tom and Tessa Bracken and Linda Short. Click here for more photos but simply scroll down for Lucy Baldwin's winning recipe:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare chili whatever way is your family’s favorite.
3. Place chili mixture in a Pyrex dish and top with Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix (prepare as directed).
4. Bake for 40 minutes and top with shredded Chihuahua cheese when finished.
And last but certainly not least, I want to congratulate friends Greg Hyder, Tom Kehoe and Emmanuel Nony on their upcoming profiles in Chicago magazine. We all know they are the “ones to watch!” As a matter of fact, just today, Tom Kehoe was tapped by the White House to do the Obamas’ Halloween celebration with 2,000 children. Tim Burton will be supplying some props to make the party perfect!! Congrats guys…you ALL deserve it!
I love the wonders of the seasons changing and I especially love seeing the little kids dressed up for Halloween! Please be kind and welcome your neighborhood children to your homes for this very special and memorable time in their lives and have a great week! :)
P.S. Don’t forget tonight’s preview party at the Joffrey Tower at 10 E. Randolph from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is just $20, well worth it for the first ever look into the Joffrey Costume Vault featuring more than 200 one-of-a-kind Joffrey costumes plus vintage clothing and accessories for sale from some of the city’s top fashionistas! The event continues on Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Co-chairs for this unique event are Corinne Melchior, Gretchen Klotz and Nico Rodriguez.