Location: New York, NY
Marital Status: Married
Education: Master of Social Work, Columbia University
It takes only a fleeting glance at Mary Ann Quinson to know she’s got style in her blood. Indeed. The strikingly elegant 72-year-old is the granddaughter of Edwin Goodman, the New York tailor who founded Bergdorf Goodman in 1908, and daughter of Andrew, the fashion legend who made the name Bergdorf Goodman eponymous with luxury.
Apparently, Mary Ann also inherited the fashion gene from her mother. “She was famous for being a beauty and she loved to take me shopping at the store,” says Mary Ann of Nena Manach Goodman, who was born in Spain and raised in Cuba.
Although she didn’t go into the family business, Mary Ann has kept Bergdorf Goodman in her family for years.
Why do you love Bergdorf’s?
I’ve been shopping there since I was little so it’s my second home. It’s a pretty place to shop. I buy everything at the store… gifts, baby clothes… it makes it more special if it comes from Bergdorf. I get personal attention in every department. Elaine Mack has been my long-time personal shopper.
Tell us about your style.
I’ve always been athletic and had a good figure so I wore clothes that flattered me: Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Azzedine Alaia, Jean Louis Scherrer, Halston and Thierry Mugler.
I can’t wear sexy clothes anymore. They’re inappropriate for the most part. Now I l prefer classic with chic detailing; Armaniis a good example. I don’t like boring. Comfort also is major. Eileen Fisher for jeans, most Eskandar, and Issey Miyaki for his cuts and unusual fabrics (‘I have a black suit that’s pleated and can roll up in a ball without wrinkling.’)
I have definite ideas about what to wear based on the season, the atmosphere, the time of day, whether I’m in the country or city and the company I’m in.
I look like a clown in ruffles and I hardly ever wear prints. It’s a personal thing, although I like them on others.
Do you have signature pieces?
I love scarves when they’re beautiful, soft and long. And jewelry when it goes with what I’m wearing. I’ll often decide what looks best by trial and error. My favorite good pieces are a modern necklace of glass nuggets, an antique diamond choker, and an antique silver necklace and bracelet studded with semi-precious jewels from Turkey.
I have three Chado Ralph Rucci jackets. They’re absolutely gorgeous. They skim my body.
What inspires you?
I was a potter and ceramic artist for many years so arts and crafts are my real passions. I’m a member of The Met, The Museum of Art and Design, and The Modern (Museum of Modern Art).
I’ve been wearing Coriander by Jean Couturier, night and day, for years. It’s woodsy, not spicy. When Bergdorf stopped selling it, I found it somewhere else. Then someone told me it was at Target. Now I buy it there.
I was always eating my lipstick but Chanel’s permanent lipstick changed my life. It lasts for hours. Color: Rose quartz.
My husband’s favorite is La Grenouille. Corton (modern French) was divine. It used to be Montrachet.
Do you have a favorite wine?
A good St. Emillion.
What’s your secret favorite spot in New York?
The Conservancy Garden at 104th Street and Fifth Avenue. It opens every day at 8. The gardens are beautiful.
A great book you’ve read?
The Dream Life of Sukhanov, by Olga Grushin (a Marian Wood Book, Putnam, 2006) A Soviet surrealist artist betrays his talent, his friends and his principles to become a Russian bureaucrat in the 1960s, with haunting consequences. It fascinated me because I loved art and grew up during the Cold War.
The Time of Our Singing, by Richard Powers (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004) The story follows the marriage of an African American woman and a German Jewish immigrant and the lives of their three children during the forties and fifties. It’s a powerful social and music history.
I use Albolene to remove my makeup (‘It’s also moisturizing’), Noxema citrus scrub and Cetaphil daily moisturizer, which I first found at the dermatologist. It has a 15 SPF.
No foundation, rarely any mascara and Bobby Brown eye shadow.
Do you have a passion project?
I am President of the Board of the Barrington Stage Co., a prize-winning regional theater in the Berkshires. That is my major interest and passion.