And That’s PIZZAZZ

By Kathleen Mailliard Solmssen


Work Of Art By Laurence Longueville Geneva – Switzerland

New York City: a plethora of inescapable pleasures and pandemonium and the adrenalin rush on every corner that has a heart beating for more.

Just past the brown and white striped awning entrance at Henri Bendel, I experienced one of those “take your breath away” New York moments.  It was the drama of a Claes Oldenburg-sized, Baccarat-styled chandelier, placed high above an art deco, hexagon shaped jewelry case that had me nearly gasping for air.

This more than magnificent museum-quality masterpiece had been spray-painted matte black! My first thought was: “WHY?” My second thought was: “WHY NOT?” I loved it. I laughed out loud. I was charmed to death. Henri Bendel took chances. He was the first to introduce my heroine Coco Chanel to retail in the United States.

Henri Bendel had PIZZAZ.  He was ahead of his time!


We’ve all survived the airplane delayed/lost luggage experience.

Last spring, a glamorous gal-friend careened through this very nightmare with great flair and style.  Pushing her taxi driver to the limit, she arrived at her hotel in record time.  It was her son’s graduation and cocktails were in full swing in her ex-husband’s suite.

With C.Z. Guest-like “grace under pressure,” wearing only T-shirt and jeans, she shouldered her way through the “cocktailing crowd” towards her son.  A few hugs, kisses and toasts later, she greeted her ex with a survival plan in mind.  “You look terrific in that blazer and chinos; I thought you were going to wear your new Armani suit,” she said.  Taking a sip of chilled chardonnay, he replied: “I thought I’d play it more casual.”

With no time to waste, my glamorous friend strolled over to the closet, grabbed the Armani jacket by the scruff of its neck and lovingly begged her ex to let her wear it.  The only reply possible was, “Yes”.  Arm in arm with her two boys, sleeves rolled up, collar up and attitude in place, she headed towards the limo.

To this day, her sons call her “ R-mommie”.  Now that took PIZZAZ!


It was called “Sunday Evening Sanctuary” and if you made the cut, you felt quite privileged to get in to these Gertrude Stein-like salons held at an eccentric lady’s mansion in San Francisco.

To avoid an “I’ve done it all and now I’m bored” attitude, a friend entertained us and then wrote about the evening in the newspaper the following week.

Gazing around the table at the Bohemian and socialite mix, you could only imagine what she would write each week.  To add a bit of punch to her story, we were given permanent ink pens and invited to sign her table.  I remember writing on the edge of the table, “living on the edge with you tonight was a true delight.”

PIZZAZ is and always has been her middle name!

Comments are closed.