The premier “Who Is Chicago” contest was held at Cuvee this week. I had never been to this club before and it reminded me of my disco days at Faces on Rush Street…lots of slinky lounges and low lighting. In other words, I felt right at home!! This event was hosted by CS Magazine and the dynamic duo of CeCe & Melinda (that is Cece Gonzales and Melinda Joseph) who together have created Raymi Productions (raymi means “event” in Cece’s native language, Peruvian). Between the two of them, they bring a wealth of knowledge to their event planning. Cece has over 10 years of sales, marketing and business development experience while Melinda graduated as valedictorian of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in marketing communications. For this event, they polled various high profile business and social professionals around town and came up with 10 honorees. These honorees cover the philanthropic map in Chicago and include Paula Fasseas (PAWS founder), Juell Kadet (owner and executive vice president of Rogers & Hollands Jewelers, a board member of Ingalls Memorial Hospital Foundation and Fashion Group International, and founder of the Kadet Cancer Research Foundation), Anida “Cookie” Cohen (founding member of Brookfield Zoo Women’s Board, board member of the Chicago Academy for the Arts, Service Club of Chicago and the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind), Rhett Lindsay (associate director of special events and communication for the Test Positive Aware Network), Justin Jacobson (CEO of Platinum Events and board member for the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation), Reverend Stan Sloan (CEO of the Chicago House and Social Service Agency and Sweet Miss Giving’s NFP), William Goldstein (chairman of Lodestar Investment Counsel LLC and the Night Ministry and trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Molly Riley (executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Greater Illinois), Celena Roldan (executive director at Erie Neighborhood House) and moi! There was wonderful food courtesy of Japonais and decadent cupcakes from Swirlz. Everyone gave very heartfelt speeches and it was wonderful to see so many people committed to so many good causes for our great city! Congrats to all of the honorees! (To see ALL of the event photos and video, please click here.) Additional pics by Caitlin Saville.
Designer Elda de la Rosa’s Fall/Winter 2010 fashion show was SRO at the historical “pink palace” – Edgewater Beach Apartments – this week. Elda is one of my favorite Chicago designers and I wear many of her dazzling creations (two of my cocktail dresses were shown in style features this month for both TCW and Shore Magazine). The collection embraced Parisian fashion classics for today’s modern woman. It featured rich wool fabrics, natural fur embellishments, interesting jacket shapes and luxury silks combined with classic satins and taffetas. Elda also unveiled her new ready-to-wear line, “El,” for professional women on the go which also includes the couture touch with exceptional fabrics and detailing priced from $125 to $200. In other words, there was something for EVERYONE! Elda had this to say, “I’m delighted to share my vision for the fall and holiday season, with the emphasis on classic Parisian style and elegance, my inspiration for the collection. I’m also including a lot of jackets and accessories. In addition to my full length gowns, many of the mid-calf creations feature skirts and dresses that become quite elegant for evening without the jacket.” Paoola Sefir also introduced her unique jewelry collection to rave reviews and Tracey Tarantino of ZZazz Productions produced the show to perfection. Long may you reign, Elda! (To see ALL of the event pics, please click here. Additional pics by Steve Starr and Mark Rashid.)
The Joffrey Ballet’s Couture & Cocktails reception featured the incredibly handsome Nigel Barker, “America’s Next Top Model” judge and world famous photographer, signing copies of his new book for a very appreciative crowd at Neiman Marcus! The book is called “Nigel Barker’s Beauty Equation” and, from the reviews I’ve read, will be a smash hit! There are loads of great pics of past ANTM models including crowd favorite, Shandi. One of the reviewers had this to say: “This is not a fashion and stylist book, but an overall beauty book.” Nigel writes with a “friendly voice” and includes anecdotes and a look at his life experiences that are “funny, sometimes touching and always interesting.” There is also a chapter on photography and lighting and how to always look great in photos. This chapter alone is reason enough to buy the book! This 38-year-old former model is one of the most gracious celebs I’ve met. He took pics with almost everyone in the room and always with a smile on his face. He lives in NY with his wife, Cover Girl model Cristen, and their two children. It’s wonderful to see someone so nice be so successful and I guess his looks don’t hurt him either!!! Good luck Nigel…we’ll be watching! Couture & Cocktails was the following night at the W City Center and was a blow-out! Wait till you see the pics next week! (To purchase Nigel’s book, please click here.)
Steve Starr is hosting a party and everyone wants to come but, sadly, it will be by invitation only!! The party will be on October 10 (10/10/10) at Rumba, 351 W. Hubbard, to introduce his new book, “Starrlight: Glamorous Latin Movie Stars of Early Hollywood.” This book includes amazing photos and colorful biographical accounts of cinema stars Maria Montez, Rita Hayworth, Lupe Velez, Carmen Miranda and Dolores Del Rio. Steve is also the author of “Picture Perfect—Art Deco Photo Frames 1926-1946” published by Rizzoli International. If anyone remembers his incredible store on Clark Street – Steve Starr Studios – then you know how creative he is! His eye for photography and art is unparalleled and he is one of the most coveted event photographers around town. Steve’s photography, Starrlight, appears in various publications including IMAGE Chicago Magazine, Entertainment Magazine, CS Magazine, Red Carpet Concierge, VIA Times, Hoy, Michigan Avenue, Skyline and, I am proud to say, Candid Candace, as well as many other publications and websites. There will be entertainment by Argentine Tango (Daniel Noce and Ramona Nita) and the hostesses for the party include Dori Wilson, Arabel Rosales, Telemundo’s Tsi-Tsi-Ki Felix and moi. Diana Palomar Scott will emcee. Congrats to the hardest working man in showbiz, Steve Starr! Can’t wait to celebrate with him and share the party photos with YOU! (To purchase Steve’s book, please call 773-252-5171 or e-mail SSStarrlight@gmail.com.)
Sports stars are giving back thanks to a unique idea by Scott Norton, prez and founder of Norton Sports Management. Scott is using his influence as an NHL player agent for the last 17 years to encourage his athletes to participate in “Make My Day Mondays.” Scott hopes every Monday, they and their fans will make an effort to help someone in need. The difference in their plan is not to focus on a dollar amount but rather on doing a good deed for someone less fortunate be it buying them a hot meal or donating something they need like a warm winter coat. Scott explains, “People feel they can’t give enough, so they don’t give at all.” Norton utilizes Twitter to broaden the concept through his athletes. Fans can follow L.A. Kings captain Dustin Brown (@DustinBrown23) and St. Louis Blues tough guy Cam Janssen (@CamJanssen55) each Monday to see their good deeds and add your own. It’s a lot like the “pay it forward” concept and I wish Scott all the best on this goodwill endeavor! For more info, please call Scott at 312-330-0329 or contact him via his Twitter handle, @NortonSports.
The “Blissful Wishes Ball” will be on Monday, November 1st, at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel with proceeds benefitting a remarkable organization called Wish Upon a Wedding. This nonprofit is the first wish-granting organization that provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances regardless of sexual orientation. By celebrating the courage and spirit of these couples, Wish Upon a Wedding helps them create lasting memories when they need it the most. Their event will begin at 6 p.m. with tickets priced at $100. The evening will include a three-course sit down dinner and open bar with music by the Larry King Orchestra. For tickets and more info, please visit www.wishuponaweddingchicago.eventbrite.com.
I am so proud and thrilled to report yet another magazine accolade for noted makeup artist, brow shaper and all-around super cool lady, Nicole Jacob. Allure calls Nicole “the Second City’s first lady of eyebrows” and I couldn’t agree more! She is featured in their “Best of the Best” article and everyone I know who has been to visit her at the Paul Rehder Salon comes away raving, not only about her incredible skills but also about her uplifting and positive outlook on life. Her infectious laughter can be heard as soon as you enter the Paul Rehder Salon where she works and also sells her own makeup line. She is one-of-a-kind and was also featured in W Magazine last year. The hits just keep on comin’ for the First Lady of Makeup! Congrats and love to you, Nicole!
We went to Viaggio Restaurant at 1330 W. Madison for the first time last week and it is one of the best Italian restaurants in Chicago…or anywhere! I felt like I was eating in someone’s home, the welcome was so warm. And the food? Fuggedabout! It was beyond delicious! Executive Chef Victor Perdue, formerly the exec chef at Giannotti’s, creates Southern Italian dishes such as al dente pastas and handmade sausage that will make you feel like you’ve left the country. They were filming a segment of “Check Please!” while we were there celebrating our friend Nadine Epstein’s birthday and we will most certainly be returning! The owner, Sam Villardito, visited every table and seemed to know everyone in the room. And how many restaurant owners do you know who has their cell phone on their card??!!! It was a four-star experience from beginning to end. Happy Birthday, Nadine and Ali!! See more pics from this excellent evening here!
Until next week…
P.S. September has been verrry, verrrry good to me! I was thrilled to be featured in three magazines for their fashion features: TCW for their “Trendsetters” feature (wearing Elda de la Rosa), Shore Magazine for their “Style Icons” feature (wearing Elda de la Rosa) and ME: In Focus Magazine for their “Influencers” feature (wearing Lanvin). Thanks to ALL for these wonderful honors!