Guilt-Free Shopping at Brooks Brothers

to Benefit Northwestern Memorial Hospital




By Megan McKinney




It was a perfect girls’ night out for members of The Woman’s Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, their friends and former Passavant Cotillion debutantes. They were able to view Zac Posen’s fall women’s collection, replenish personal wardrobes and accomplish early holiday shopping, while also raising a tidy sum for the Northwestern Memorial Patient and Family Assistance Fund.

The four ladies above, Northwestern Memorial Hospital Woman’s Board President Joan Moore, Event Co-chair Stuart Mesires, Brooks Brothers Women’s Stylist Stacy Wallace-Albert and Event Co-chair Jennifer Dunne, left to right, dressed for the occasion. Each walked into the store wearing a design by Brooks Brothers’ Creative Director Zac Posen, whose fall women’s collection they were there to celebrate.

Jennifer Dunne walked out a few hours later with her own mini-collection of Posen’s, one of which she was wearing at a recent conference attended by the Brooks Brothers CEO.

The major annual fund-raising activity of The Northwestern Memorial Hospital Woman’s Board is the Passavant Cotillion and Christmas Ball. Founded in 1949, the December ball has prevailed through the decades as Chicago’s premier debutante cotillion. Passavant Cotillion post-debs often participate in the board’s philanthropic activities, and, appropriately, several were among the more than 65 guests gathered at Brooks Brothers’ Michigan Avenue store to view the new Zac Posen designs.

The label’s principal women’s stylist and former Chicagoan, Stacy Wallace-Albert, was present to speak with guests about the fall collection and offer styling tips featuring several of the season’s new pieces. The evening generated nearly $30,000 in sales and a $5,000 donation to the fund.





Woman’s Board member Abra Prentice Wilkin, left, and her family have been longstanding supporters of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, including their major funding of both the original Prentice Women’s Hospital, built on Huron Street in the 1970s, and the more recent Superior Street structure.

Stephanie McKean, center, will become Woman’s Board president in 2017. The shopping night was a welcome opportunity for her to buy gifts for her husband, Ken McKean, a longtime Brooks Brothers devotee. But she also “found great things” for her 18-year-old son, Stuart: “Really terrific five-pocket corduroys as well as a great belt. He loved both.” 

Kathy Rice, right, is Stephanie’s partner in Nora C. Marra Interiors, established by the beloved late Woman’s Board member, who was a close friend of the above three.




Alison McNally, left with Susu Block, is chairman of the 2016 Passavant Cotillion and Christmas Ball.





Former Passavant Cotillion deb Tyler Neal, center, brought friends Case Sosnoff, left, and Taylor McVey to join her in serious shopping for a new career. The May graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School will be sworn in to the Illinois Bar on November 10, and the evening was an opportunity to complete a wardrobe for her job as clerk for a local judge.




Professional fashionistas and old friends, Woman’s Board member Stuart Mesires and Brooks Brothers Women’s Stylist Stacy Wallace-Albert, share a joke.




The Hambleton sisters, Hope, left, and Annie, are daughters of Northwestern Memorial Woman’s Board member Genni Hambleton, and Annie is a member in her own right.




Board member Meredith Wood-Prince, right, received tips from co-chair Jennifer Dunne while shopping in the boys’ department. “I bought a bunch of stuff for my son’s first session of dancing school at the WAC, which was really fun because Abra Wilkin and Jennifer have been through it and gave me great advice on what to buy.”




Jeanette Sublette, a board member, shopped in the petites section and came away with several new blouses and a pair of navy blue trousers.




Kate Spencer and Mary Swift managed to combine sipping, shopping and socializing.




Lyssa Piette, left, and Charles Moore joined Joan Moore, left center, and Stephanie McKean. Stephanie will succeed Joan as Woman’s Board president in January.




Board member Lisa Smyth took time from touring with blues rock guitar star Kenny Wayne Shepherd to Christmas shop at Brooks Brothers. She also handles tour marketing for “The Rides,” a project with Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Lisa bought several sets of ladies’ grey flannel pajamas and had them monogrammed to give as gifts, but now says, “I wish I’d spent more time looking for gifts in the men’s department. I do remember buying my first Oxford cloth shirt in the boys’ department at their enormous store in the Loop while back-to-school shopping in about 1973 . . . the men in our family have, for the most part, been “Brooks Brothers types.”




Mary Swift and Cindy Kuchman.




Carey Lennox and Stuart Mesires.




Julia Brenner and Tabitha Hurley with Avery Connelley, right.


Photo Credit:

Eric Decker Photography 

Author Photo:

Robert F. Carl