Fashion sparks bite of Big Apple, and The Plaza makes it sweet

By Sean Barron

Special to the Vindicator


If you ask Nancy W. Smith what words she might conjure up to describe New York City, romantic and fashionable likely would be at the top.

The romantic part stems from the fact that Smith and her husband, Greg, got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2004 at the famous Plaza Hotel.

Fashionable also would probably come to mind quickly because she attended a fashion show last February by Youngstown native and fashion designer Nanette Lepore, for which she had won tickets.

“We went backstage and got invited to lunch by Nanette and her whole crew,” said Smith, chief financial officer with the Ken Greco Co.

Smith spoke recently from her Market Street office about the trip and the fashion show.

Last November, she won two tickets in an auction at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center in Boardman that was hosted by Angels of Easter Seals.

The show’s central attraction was several models displaying the colorful and stylish fall 2012 clothing line, explained Smith, who earned a degree in business administration in 2000 from the American Intercontinental University in Buckhead, Ga.

“It was fabulous, very impressive,” Smith said of the fashion show.

Lepore, sister-in-law of Democratic state Rep. Robert F. Hagan, is a well-known clothing designer who graduated from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in design. Much of her apparel is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and other famous stores.

Hagan and his wife, Michelle, also gave Smith a tour of Lepore’s fashion studio, which featured an up-close look at much of next fall’s clothing, she continued.

In addition to New York City, Lepore has boutiques in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Tokyo and elsewhere.

The fun didn’t end, however, when the final model walked off the runway. Awaiting Smith, a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan, was an after-hours gathering at the Darby, a well-known 14th Street restaurant, where she met NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft.

“I ended up having drinks with them, and it was a great trip,” she fondly recalled.

Also sweetening the deal for Smith was being able to stay at the Plaza Hotel, site of many happy memories. In addition, the couple received a free room upgrade — and a panoramic view of Central Park and other parts of the city.

Smith’s connection with the Big Apple runs deep and has included numerous shopping expeditions with friends and co-workers, as well as performances by singer Madonna and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

In the works is another trip to the city, which will likely include a New York Yankees game, she said.

Smith said that she and her husband, who’s chief executive officer of Compco Industries Inc. in Columbiana, are big Easter Seals supporters.

“They do a lot of good for a lot of people,” she said. “I think it’s a great charity.”

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