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.

Nony in his purple-print Zegna tie

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.”

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.”

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.

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.



Nony’s Lists

Paul Smith, Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani, Issey Miyake, Dolce & Gabbana

A leather scarf given to him by his friend the local designer Maria Pinto

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.
“A well-fitting suit, even if it’s a plain black suit, always looks great.” He knows that Armani and Zegna suits fit his physique well with few adjustments; suits from Dolce & Gabbana, however, tend to require more alterations.

2. Buy texture and pattern.
His closet is full of blazers, ranging from seersucker to pinstripe to a more casual Diesel  plaid with a purple D stripe. Ties are sleek, some puckered. “Playing with color and texture makes an outfit much more interesting.”

3. Keep accessories simple.
“I wear accessories to complement the outfit, not make the outfit. A Gucci belt, a Cartier watch, some vintage cuff links.”

4. Find a signature color combo.
Nony’s favorite duo is baby blue and chocolate. “I tend to start with the suit, and then accent it with a shirt and tie that color coordinate, and use diferent designers to emphasize different parts. Sometimes an Issey Miyake suit doesn’t need much more than a blue shirt.”