Photography by Lisa Predko
Anyone who has had the pleasure of dining at the bustling new hot spot Sepia may recognize its dapper owner, Emmanuel Nony. Hardly a hands-off type, Nony buzzes around seating diners, rendezvousing with staff, and clearing tables—all while impeccably dressed. The French-born restaurateur, who says his look is greatly influenced by having lived in Asia for nine years, describes his style as classic, but effortless; or, clothing that can withstand the chaos of a dinner rush. Chicago took a peek in his closet and found inside a collection of the tailored, the textural, and the accented.
EVOLUTION OF STYLE
Nony says his look reflects the years he spent working for Hyatt International at Asian hotels such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo (where Lost in Translation was filmed). “Hong Kong is more relaxed, but in Japan, everyone is very well dressed in the streets. They take special care in how they look, and spend much more money on clothing than a typical American.”
HOW HE LIGHTENED UP
In Japan, Nony says, he learned the art of the refined look, relying mostly on black suits from Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna. Now that he is working at Sepia, he has a little more fun with his wardrobe, infusing colorful Paul Smith shirts and Etro ties. “I’m playing more with colors and patterns and wearing more colors that complement the space, like purples, beiges, and chocolates.”
HIS SECRET WARDROBE ELEMENT
Textured fabrics, such as seersucker and corduroy. “I love the designer Issey Miyake, especially his summer suits and the way he plays with textures and textiles,” Nony says. Not surprisingly, Miyake was a frequent guest at the Park Hyatt Tokyo when Nony worked there.
QUIRKY CLOSET FACT
A few months before Sepia opened, Nony purchased a purple-print Zegna tie specifically because it matched the restaurant’s décor. He likes to pair it with a black vest.
Paul Smith, Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani, Issey Miyake, Dolce & Gabbana
A leather scarf given to him by his friend the local designer Maria Pinto
HIS TOP LOCAL SHOPS
Apartment Number 9, Jake, Barneys New York, and the Issey Miyake selection at Saks Fifth Avenue
Donnie Madia, owner of the West Loop restaurant Blackbird. “His suits fit perfectly.”
Two Go-To Outfits
|For formal occasions, a Dolce & Gabbana jacket and Zegna pants, paired with a bright blue Etro shirt and a striped blue and brown tie by the local designer Lee Allison. For a more casual event, a corduroy jacket and shirt from Barneys, with an Etro tie|
Rules of Style
1. Tailor, tailor, tailor.
2. Buy texture and pattern.
3. Keep accessories simple.
4. Find a signature color combo.