Nena Ivon Retires After 53 Years at Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago. You Will Still See Her.

Nina surrounded by her Columbia College cohorts. From left: Jerry Svec, Nena Ivon, Dianne Erpenbach and Dennis Brozynski

A retirement party was held at Saks Fifth Avenue last thursday for Nina Ivon, who had been working at the store (among do other things) for 53 Years! First I was surprised because I just received an email from her earlier that week with event listings at Saks (she was working to that last minute!) And 53 years? I can't guess her age but even if she started at age 13…I was surprised again!

I had the pleasure of working with Nina Ivan a few years ago when I was in BizOver, an event that honored women entrepreneurs by giving them a (much deserved) break and a chance to get pampered. Saks did our hair and makeup and an in-store fashion show was coordinated by Nena Ivon. I was amazed how Nena a flash she knew just what clothes to pick for me for the show, and they fit me perfectly. She gave us all the best advice on walking, relaxing and how to present ourselves. We were a bit nervous around her since she was the fashion expert, but her quick and assuring smile let us know that all was going to be fine. 


Tom Mantel and Sandy Martens who both have worked with her at Saks told me things that amazed them about about Nina. Tom saw her direct many fashion shows… some with over 40 models and 4 clothing changes each. "She can handle any size situation and never looses her cool." Tom said. And her skills are beyond fashion, styling and closet organizing. She does presentations for business people on how to dine, and how to pack. Tom also said that she is putting together a book on fashion and Chicago. (I can't wait!) Sandy pointed out "Look how she was able to go and get on camera tonight and do an interview with Robin Robinson… how many people would be able to do that on the spot?" I knew that she had taught at Columbia College and was told "of course" she would continue there!


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Robin Robinson from FOX News interviewed Nena during the event.


Guests were greeted by models wearing Oscar De la Renta and Carolina Herrera gowns. Stunning!

Dorothy Fuller, President of the Apparel Industry Board and Joey Majumdor

Robin Robinson introduces Nena Ivon

The party took a moment for Robin Robinson to present Nena with a gift and to do the introduction. She said said that she never saw so many familiar faces from the fashion industry in one room at the same time!

Then Nena thanked the crowd.  "I have been a lucky girl. I am glad that this store was here for me. You see I am not crying, there are no tears. You will still see me."

We are all looking forward to that!

— Carol Calacci

Photos: Second City Style

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