Nena Ivon: Retail Icon

If someone were to play her in a movie, she would be Meryl Streep.

She teaches at Columbia. She’s a big supporter of Chicago theater. Red wine is her drink. And she is Saks Fifth Avenue’s most storied employee. 53 years of folding sweaters, trips to Paris and staging fashion shows.

We ask her a few questions over drinks and eel terrine at Boka:

If she wasn’t a retail legend: “I would have been an Egyptologist.”

On a good wardrobe stylist: “It’s like being a decorator. If I would have a decorator doing my home I would want them to say, ok, your apartment is you, how can we make this more you? I want it to be mine.”

On her apartment: “My apartment looks like a gypsy caravan – king of the gypsies as you understand – very layered, very eclectic, layer upon layer upon layer – literally. It doesn’t interest me if no one else likes it.”

On customer service: “It’s clicking – that’s the hard part – getting the trust level.”

On retirement: “I walk by the store and think shouldn’t I be upset? Shouldn’t I have some kind of pain? But not in the least. It was time to leave.”

On style: “Style is of the moment. Something at a certain time, in a certain place, with a certain person and how they handle that. Confidence, elegance, and assuredness is what makes a person memorable. Style is fleeting. Fashion is very definitely fleeting.”

A Nenaism: “When one loses one’s femininity, one loses everything.”

On all of the attention following her exit: “I didn’t ask for any of this. And if I had, I wouldn’t have gotten any of it.”

You would be a great guest judge on Project Runway.

“I want a pop-up book.”

by April | March 2010

Similar Posts

stopsmiling Alexander McQueen Dez Lollapalooza

2 Comments

  1. 23 December 10 at 5:58pm

    […] didn’t happen while in Maui in February; March was mad, naturally, and even more so with an interview with retail icon Nena Ivon and the untimely passing of Alexander McQueen; in April we were featured in Real Simple and […]

    (reply)
  2. 28 November 11 at 10:36pm

    […] and your being in Chi-town — onmyplate is fantastic. Love, especially, that the inimitable Nena Ivon brought us […]

    (reply)

Leave a Comment