Boneparth: The Man Inside the Suit

In an interview, Jones Apparel Group ceo Peter Boneparth talks about his path to fashion and the acquisition of Barneys New York

Running counter to New York sports convention, Boneparth is a Jets-Yankees fan. And this, seen in context with his move into fashion and the deal for Barneys, shouldn’t be surprising.

“I have been a contrarian in how I’ve run my life, there’s no question,” he said, looking somewhat trapped with arms and legs both tightly crossed and his foot pushing against the coffee table.

At another point during a pair of hour-long interviews, Boneparth relaxed with his armed splayed out over the back and arm of the couch, noting, “I’m an unusually normal guy,” and laughing at his play on words.

He also opens up and smiles more when talking about his family and sports and when the conversation turns to work quickly retreats into corporate speak, saying things like “price-value relationship.”

In these and other respects, there are two distinct sides to the ceo.

“Maybe there are two personas, maybe the outside persona is that I’m very serious and direct,” he said.

“I am what I am,” he said. “It sounds like a Dr. Seuss character. I have been able to achieve a lot by being very straightforward. There’s very little razzle-dazzle, very little glitz. I tell people what I think. Sometimes that is misinterpreted. Straightforward is probably interpreted as lack of emotion.”

On the other side, though, one of the benchmarks of a good day is a good laugh, he said.

Balance is a touchstone for Boneparth.

“That’s why I come across as being very bland or direct or whatever it is,” he said. “I try not to get too high or too low.”
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