Part 2: A Tale of Two Women
Using my husband’s and my 50th wedding anniversary as the basis for this short series of articles, I want to talk about two very talented friends of mine that you should know. They are both smart, savvy business owners with a terrific sense of style, wonderful taste, and a demonstrable flair when it comes to fashion.
These friends happen to both be beautiful blondes who have risen to the top of their respective fields in different ways, but the pair are alike in that they employed lots of hard work, excellent people skills, and an unerring eye for what will look good on their clients as components in their formulas for success. Each one added immeasurably to my personal enjoyment of our anniversary celebration’s Saturday evening formal event discussed last time.
The first friend is Judy Ninman, primewomen.com’s former fashion editor, a couturier, and partner in one of the country’s most successful wardrobe consultancies, Worth New York Agency. Worth has a wonderful line of clothing for all aspects of the executive woman’s life. If you are not familiar with it, just get in touch with Judy at our magazine, and she will get you information about it.
The second friend is Camilla Dietz-Bergeron, a recognized authority in estate, antique, and period jewelry, as well as the owner/partner/founder of a very chic Madison Ave. jewelry salon called Camilla Dietz-Bergeron, Ltd. at 818 Madison Ave, N.Y., N.Y. 10065, 212.794.9100. More information on how to contact her follows in the article.
Judy Ninman’s Story and Her Design for my Anniversary Outfit
Judy is well-known to our magazine’s readers and to me personally. Judy and I have known each other since the early 1990’s through the organization NAWBO or the National Association of Women Business Owners. We were both very active in the Dallas chapter, and it was there that I first became aware of Judy’s keen fashion sense and considerable personal style.
I have enjoyed her appearances on television in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for years on outlets such as Fox 4 and Good Day Dallas. Plus, I am a faithful reader of her regular column in this magazine. When the time came to consider the very special outfit that I wanted for the evening of October 17, 2015’s cocktail party/seated dinner/dance, Judy’s name came immediately to mind. I contacted her to see if she would be willing to take this project on, and she said yes. I was very pleased and relieved because I wouldn’t have to go through the torture of shopping for just the right gown and wrap.
Thinking about what I wanted this dress and jacket to look like brought to mind what I had worn when Don and I eloped back on July 31, 1965. I remember clearly the simple white linen suit with the A-line double skirt. It had been made by a local seamstress from a Vogue pattern for a graduation tea and was actually what I wore under my traditional cap and gown the previous May. Here is a photo of it on our wedding day.
For the major milestone being celebrated in 2015, I wanted to have, for the first time in my life, a designer ensemble made just for me. I had an image of what I visualized and sent sketches to Judy to make sure that we were on the same page. At our first meeting, she had taken my drawings and had improved on them about a 1000%! All the elements were the same, but my, oh my, had she added flair and a stylishness entirely lacking from my humble suggestions! I loved her design and told her so immediately. Here is a copy of her original drawings of my formal outfit.
We then set about selecting an appropriate fabric in a range of colors that I knew worked for me. After looking at half a dozen choices, just the right one became evident. It was a copper-colored “slubby” silk with a medium to French blue iridescence to it. There was nothing shiny or flashy about the selection, but the colors were flattering to my fair, freckled skin, auburn hair, and blue eyes.
The next step was fascinating to me. After measurements were taken and the pattern made, a first version of the long dress with a slight train and jacket with an exquisite collar unlike any that I’ve seen, was made in muslin. This was fitted and adjustments to the design made before scissors were ever set to the silk. After that, a very loose version of both the dress and jacket were produced in the chosen silk fabric. Then, a series of fine fittings began that yielded a tailor-made and quite stunning ensemble. Here is a shot of Judy and me at one of the final sessions, and the one that follows is one of my husband and me on the big night.
I absolutely love the results. If you have a similar need, I recommend Judy’s services wholeheartedly. Thank you so much, Judy!
Camilla Dietz-Bergeron and Beautiful Jewelry
The second businesswoman and friend that I relied on to help me look my best on October 17 was entrepreneur, Camilla Dietz-Bergeron. I had met her as a new member of the Committee of 200 at the 10th Anniversary meeting in 1992 in NYC. Camilla had hosted my first dine-around with the organization. She bowled me over with her Southern charm, easy Georgia drawl, elegant taste in clothing, jewelry, home decor, and art. Everything about her home and appearance was graceful, warm, and very chic.
Later when I heard her personal story, I was even more impressed. Camilla and her partner, Gus Davis, have a beautiful jewelry salon on Madison Avenue, but Camilla had arrived on this famous shopping street by a little different route than most merchants take. She came by way of Wall St.
Camilla had been a founding partner of Furman, Selz, Mager, Dietz and Birney, Inc. an investment banking and financial services firm. When it was sold in the late 1980’s, Camilla made a decided career change. She elected to follow a passion for well made and gorgeously designed jewelry.
She specializes in diamonds and important cuts like aschers, cushions and old European varieties. Camilla also loves pieces from the late 19th and 20th centuries with an emphasis on Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro Periods while her partner, Gus, is an expert in colored stones such as Burma rubies, sapphires and Columbian emeralds.
We all know that accessories can make or break an outfit, and I had the perfect jewelry on our special night to compliment Judy Ninman’s beautifully designed gown and jacket because Camilla had discovered it. She had offered the handsome suite of lapis lazuli, diamond and yellow gold earrings and brooch in her July, 2015 newsletter. The online monthly publication lists her new jewelry finds that are on offer and also has very helpful recommendations on everything from what books and movies are worth your time to great spots to eat in NYC. You can subscribe to this free of charge newsletter by visiting her website and clicking on “Camilla’s Newsletter.” It is well worth the effort.
When I saw this image, I knew that I had found exactly what I was looking for to finish the look of the formal outfit. I held my breath while we inquired about its availability. I have been disappointed several times because I wasn’t quick enough to call Camilla about her one-of-a-kind selections. Word to the wise, “if you see something” you like in her newsletter, “say something!” Phone her immediately and buy it, or it will be too late.
This comment is to give a lighter spin to the police caution frequently seen on NYC subways, “If you see something, say something.” Meaning if you see an unattended package in a subway station or on a train or observe suspicious activities, call the police or tell the conductor immediately!
Here I am happily wearing the three pieces with Judy’s outfit. Together Judy and Camilla did an outstanding job, and my husband was glad to tell them so at the October 17th event. Camilla’s earrings and brooch provided Don with an easy choice for an anniversary present. He loves convenience when it comes to shopping for gifts, and I love jewelry!