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OFFBEAT: Miss Piggy hogging Macy's fashion spotlight in exhibit this week
HAMMING IT UP - - Miss Piggy is the focus for a selection of some of her most famous fashion moments as part of a special limited Miss Piggy Exhibit in Chicago at Macy's on State Street in the Archives Gallery on the 7th Floor through Aug. 23, 2009. (Image courtesy of Jim Henson Enterprises)

Muppet fashion maven Miss Piggy has been dressed by many of fashion's most famous icons during her four decades in the entertainment spotlight.

But her career really took off following her first feature film "The Muppet Movie" in 1979 and her weekly appearances on the popular syndicated series "The Muppet Show." She was originally dressed by costume designer Calista Hendrickson, the woman who first dreamed up many of the fun and flamboyant over-the-top ensembles which included feather boas, Joan Crawford "strap-on" pumps and wide-brimmed hats.

In a great story clipping I have from a 1980 interview Hendrickson did with fashion writer Joyce Wadler for The Toledo Blade, the designer, who describes Miss Piggy's figure as "voluptuous," explained her fashion choices reflects her porcine personality.

"I believe people tell a lot about themselves by their clothes," Hendrickson said.

"Piggy, for instance, will go all the way. She's very outgoing, she likes to be the center of attention. There is still a sort of pig element in her. If she wears a floral print, it might be just slightly ugly, not really in good taste, but she must always be pretty, even if it's overdone."

Miss Piggy has certainly come a long way in the nearly 30 years since Hendrickson was dressing her.

Since then, she's been wrapped in some of the world's most noted fashion lines.

And through this Sunday, here's your chance to see a selection of some of her most famous fashion moments as part of a special limited Miss Piggy Exhibit in Chicago at Macy's on State Street. Miss Piggy's fashions can be found on the 5th floor during the week and in the Archives Gallery on the 7th floor during the weekend.

Described as "a sneak-peek into the closet of one of the world's most beloved style icons," the miniature fashion collection on display really is like no other.

Miss Piggy has worked hand-in-glove to create couture pieces with some of fashion's most celebrated designers including Burberry, Prada, Julien MacDonald, Lela Rose, Jason Wu, and Louis Vuitton.

These designs are all featured in the special retrospective exhibit exclusively at Macy's, where fashions, drawings, photographs and more are shared reflecting the extraordinary collection of this one-of-a-kind "whole hog" fashionista.

The exhibit is part of the fun leading up to Friday's 2009 Glamorama fashion event.

After raising just more than $2 million dollars over the past 10 years for the Chicago Art Institute, the good people at Macy's have decided to spread their fundraising efforts to someone new this year.

With Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Ne-Yo billed as the headliner for Glamorama 2009 in Chicago, this year's annual fashion extravaganza will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.

This year's fun for a good cause begins at 8 p.m. Aug. 21, with the post-party once again set for Macy's on State Street.

Ticket prices range from $50 to $1,000 and are available at (800) 982-2787; ticketmaster.com; or the Chicago Theatre box office.

Topping the list of designers this year: Marc Jacobs, Sonia Rykiel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Just Cavalli, Sportmax, MaxMara and CNC Costume National.

While chatting last week with Macy's Vice President of Special Productions Mike Gansmoe, who has helped produced nearly two decades of these "ultimate fashion shows," my favorite story he shared was about an idea he had a few years ago to make it "snow" in the Chicago Theater right on the fashion runway.

While the models were draped in winterwear, his intended surprise for the audience was to use real sled dogs as accessories on the stage.

However, the excited canines kept barking so much on and off stage during the rehearsals, the idea had to be dropped at the last minute.

But, Gansmoe did like the idea of some "barking" to set the "sledding mood," so he had the animals recorded during rehearsal and the sound effects were still incorporated into the final live show!

Visit macys.com/glamorama to get the most up-to-date Glamorama event details and information.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or 219.852.4327.

Today's Celebrity Birthdays

Actor L.Q. Jones ("Casino") is 82. Actress Debra Paget ("Love Me Tender" and "The Ten Commandments") is 76. Actress Diana Muldaur ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") is 71. Drummer Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 70. Singer Johnny Nash and actress Jill St. John are 69. Actor-turned-U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson is 67. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 66. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 65. Singer Ian Gillan of Deep Purple is 64. President Bill Clinton is 63. Actor Gerald McRaney and political wife Tipper Gore are 61. Bassist John Deacon of Queen and actress Randi Oakes ("CHiPs") are 58. Actor Jonathan Frakes ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") is 57. Political commentator Mary Matalin is 56. Actor Peter Gallagher is 54. Actor Adam Arkin is 53. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman and actor Martin Donovan are 52. Singer Ivan Neville is 50. Actor Eric Lutes ("Caroline In The City") is 47. Actor John Stamos is 46. Musician/manager Robby Vinton (son of Bobby Vinton) is 45. Actress Kyra Sedgwick and actor Kevin Dillon ("Entourage") are 44. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 43. Former MTV reporter Tabitha Soren is 42. Rapper Nate Dogg and country singer Clay Walker and actor Matthew Perry ("Friends") are 40. Rapper Fat Joe is 39. Actress Tracie Thoms ("Cold Case") is 34. Singer Karli Osborn (SHeDaisy) is 25. Rapper Romeo (formerly Lil' Romeo) is 20.

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