Classic and Timeless, with an Irreverent Twist
April Stern Riccio MS’12
It's not a stretch to call April Stern Riccio MS'12, public relations director for Neiman Marcus Natick, a fashion industry professional with an A-list pedigree. The Columbus, Ohio native grew up attending couture shows in New York, Paris and Milan with her syndicated fashion columnist mother and went on to work as a fashion photographer while earning a BA in Visual Communications and Journalism from Ohio State University. Her roster of experience with elite retailers includes PR and special events positions at the legendary Garfinckel's in Washington, DC, Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, MD and Neiman Marcus Boston. Riccio has two grown children (an English teacher/writer daughter in Paris and an attorney son in Brussels) and lives with her educator husband, Lawrence Riccio, in Boston's North End, where they "hope to try all 105 neighborhood restaurants (we're up to 40 so far!)." Leaves visited with Riccio on location at Neiman Marcus Natick as she prepared for a small Spring show at the stunning store.
What attracted you to Lasell's graduate program? When I was in DC, I began master's degree studies at Trinity University. After moving to Boston, I looked for a graduate program in fashion. I was able to transfer to Lasell and complete my degree with online classes and, at the same time, continue working at Neiman Marcus. I'm not only an executive at the store; I also plan all the events, often working seven days a week. Lasell's online classes fit perfectly with my busy schedule.
What was your Lasell academic experience like? Really great. I was impressed with the knowledgeable professors and loved the reading, case studies and research. The social media, public relations, conflict resolution and speech writing classes, in particular, expanded my body of knowledge.
How did Lasell's graduate program help you advance in your already-successful career? My goal is to someday teach fashion communications and sales promotion at the college level, so I wanted to both expand my professional grasp and keep up with the social media explosion. The graduate-level courses helped me stay relevant and ahead of the curve with regard to social media networking and communications.
Can you share some favorite fashion industry moments? I've had the pleasure of working with many famous designers, but the elegant Oscar de la Renta is my all-time favorite; his designs are beyond compare. I've also worked with Karl Lagerfeld, Carolina Herrera, Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and others. A personal high point was producing a show that spanned 100 years of fashion. Each scene featured a different decade, with original clothing and music from the era.
How would you describe your personal fashion sensibility? Classic and timeless with an irreverent twist. I think fashion should be fun, like wearing a Chanel jacket with jeans or a vintage dress with contemporary accessories. I love investment dressing, buying things that never go out of style. Fashion, to me, has always been a series of exquisite moments. When she was a child, I would tell my daughter that my job was like stringing together a pearl necklace, one precious pearl at a time.
What are your hobbies/passions? Travel, photography, collecting cookbooks, fashion books and eyeglasses. I've just published a children's book about my mother, Tess: A Little Lady with Big Ideas.
Why is it important for graduate alums to support Lasell? I've always believed it is important to give back to the community in which you work or live. Lasell gave to me an educational experience for which I will forever be grateful; giving back by supporting the College is the natural thing to do.
Lasell's alliance with Neiman Marcus began in 1990 and continues to involve internship opportunities for talented students and the shared promotion of Boston's Fashion Week. Thoughts? Lasell and Neiman Marcus have a strong partnership. I am proud that I have been able to strengthen that relationship by inviting Fashion classes and the Fashion Connection Club to work on projects with me. We've also hosted several Lasell events with more to come!