Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

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Five Films Featuring Fantastic Felines


Recently I wrote an article about movies with canine protagonists. This got me into trouble at home, where I am ruled by two tyrannical rescue kitties who were very displeased about my specie-est attitude. In order to smooth things over, then I’ve decided to give cinematic cats their proper due.

That Darn Cat! (1965) Based on the 1963 novel Undercover Cat, this comedy caper film stars mischievous Siamese DC (Darn Cat) who lives with two sisters, Inkie (Dorothy Provine) and Patti (Hayley Mills).  One night when out on the prowl, DC follows a bank robber home where he and his partner are holding a bank employee hostage. The hostage manages to replace DC’s collar with her watch and a partial inscription calling for Help. DC makes it home, Patti discovers the watch, and FBI agent Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones) is called in.  Wacky hijinks and romantic complications ensue. It was nominated by the Writers Guild of America for Best Written American Comedy, the cat playing DC received a rave review in the New York Times, and there was a remake made in 1997.

The AristoCats (1970) In this animated Disney classic, a feline family consisting of the elegant and refined Duchess (voiced by Eva Gabor)  along with her three beautiful and talented kittens are set to inherit a fortune from their doting owner. But evil butler Edgar intent on getting the money for himself, drugs and kidnaps them. It is only with the help of street wise stray Tom O’Malley (voiced by Phil Harris) that these pampered pets can find their way back to their posh Parisian home, but Edgar has other ideas. Matters are further complicated by the growing romance between Duchess and Tom.

The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986) In this Japanese adventure-comedy-drama orange tabby kitten Milo (who’s a little curious for his own good) befriends pug Otis. One day Milo plays in a box on the river and is washed downstream and Otis runs after him. Along the way Milo has many escapades and meets such persons as Bear, Fox, Pig, Owl, and more. It was the highest grossing Japanese film produced that year and the third highest of all time, which prompted Columbia Pictures to release a shortened English language version narrated by Dudley Moore.

Puss in Boots (2011) In this spin-off sequel to the Shrek franchise, Antonio Banderas reprises his signature role as the dashing tomcat adventurer Boots. Having learned that outlaw couple Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) have acquired the magic beans to access the giant’s castle with golden goose eggs, he hatches a plot to steal them with the aid of criminal mastermind and Puss’s former friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) and street savvy Tuxedo cat Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).  Needless to say things don’t all go according to plan. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a fresh rating of 84% and it grossed over a half billion at the Box Office.

African Cats (2011) This nature documentary film chronicles the dual narratives of a pride of lions and a family of cheetahs trying to survive on the African Savannah. Besides the incredible beauty, charisma, and magnetism of its subjects it also showcases some pretty majestic views of the surrounding countryside as well.

Top photo from Bigstock.

My Career Choice: Jackie Rogers – Fashion Legend


Jackie Rogers bought her first Chanel suit  for “around $600.” As she stood for the first fitting found herself thinking, “It would be nice to work here.” Upon hearing that Chanel needed models, she quickly lined up an interview, “Chanel liked me, hired me on the spot and paid me top dollar,” she said. “I’m the only designer today who ever worked with the great Coco Chanel. From her I learned that fashion doesn’t start with design. Everything comes from fabrication.”

Jackie Rogers, a timeless legend in the fashion world, is one of the last remaining designers to craft custom clothing for individual clients across the country from her atelier in New York City. Rogers likes to say, “I don’t believe in fashion, I believe in style.” That motto is reflected throughout her latest collection, which is made with the timeless elegance that is the signature of the Jackie Rogers brand.

Jackie’s clientele includes Patti LuPone, Christine Baranski, Julianne Moore, Condoleezza Rice, Roberta Flack, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Courtney Love, and more. Her favorite star studded moment? Jackie Onassis. The best moment was when Jackies she asked her to design seven outfits, one for each day of the week. “I will put a number on it so I don’t have to worry about what to wear,” she said.

Jackie Rogers is designed and manufactured entirely in New York City in its midtown showroom with her collection sold from there (by appointment only),  in Palm Beach, Florida boutiques, at select Lord & Taylor retailers across the country and from her website.

Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?  
Meeting Chanel. Before I was just carrying on as an actress and model. We loved her, all of the models. There were 12 of us. I went there strictly for a couple of months do to the show and wound up staying for 2 years until I quit. I think Chanel influenced me to become a designer because I would work with her late into the night. She never had one assistant. She was there alone. I came as close to it as anybody else.

What about the fashion industry did you find most appealing? 
I love what I do. I love designing clothes. This is what I live for, to design every day. I’m always thinking about it. That’s what makes me happy. What’s unfortunate now is that it is all about money and advertising, and that clothes are being chosen for celebrities without any aesthetic or unique taste.

What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
None. I never studied it or anything. The only thing I studied were men, darling. That’s how I became a menswear designer. Chanel told me not to design for women, I’d go crazy. Just do men’s clothing. So I became a menswear designer. And then finally Bill Blass said you gotta do womenswear, you’re not gonna make a name for yourself unless you do women’s clothing. So, I had to switch to women. When I was a menswear designer, I dressed all of the famous actors like Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Jones, and all the singers. I dressed the Beegies, everybody. They all came to me to get their clothing. It was a hot time.

Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
No, very encouraging. I was very fortunate. Francesco Scavullo was a great photographer and he gave me Time Magazine on the cover with Meryl Streep in my clothes. That was when she was coming up in the 70s.

Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?

When did your career reach a tipping point?
That will never be reached. I think you have to keep moving and going. I don’t want to stop. I will never stop. I love designing.

Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
Insecurity. Thinking I wasn’t good enough. I have often questioned myself and then when I see the results I know I did the right thing.

What single skill has proven to be most useful?
Draping. I don’t sketch I drape and I form shapes with my hand on a mannequin.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
Staying in business through thick and thin, by myself with no outside financing. It’s a miracle.

Any advice for others entering your profession?
They have to not be influenced by anybody else and to go back into the 30s and 40s and see what the great designers did, like, Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga. It’s all about line.