Q&A with Ida Petersson

We caught up with Harvey Nichols’ Ida Petersson when she dropped by our offices recently.
The lady with the dream job (she is the luxury department store’s shoe and lifestyle buyer!) talked shoes, surfing and guided us through the perfect day in her native London…

A typical day for me involves…What I love about my job is that there is no typical day! If I am in market I can be found running around Paris, Milan or New York meeting with new and existing suppliers, and if I’m in the London office, I will be switching from analyzing sales at my computer, to meeting with new brands for our concept area. Even the days when I think I know what I am doing something will come up and I end up changing my entire schedule.

Are you a heels or flats lady?
I am a heels girl through and through. I have actually got to the point where I am seriously deluded about what my real height is, and so are my friends! The only exception is when I am on holiday as most of my time off involves surfing so I spend the entire time barefoot. Although I usually spend the first days on my toes walking in imaginary heels – the last time I was in Mexico our surf guide couldn’t stop laughing at me. Occupational hazard I guess!

What type of shoes do you think every woman should have?
First of all I would say quality over quantity! A well made pair of shoes will not only last longer they will also allow you to go the distance on a night out. Other than that, for work you need a great pair of stilettos (85-100mm depending on your level of heel expertise), ideally a nude and a black pair so that you are covered for all seasons, but if pushed always go for black. Secondly, you need a pair of ankle boots and personally, I cannot live without my Newbury boots! An ankle version is so much more versatile than a knee high boot as you can wear them all year round. I would also invest in a pair of sneakers or hi tops for leisure and finally, a pair of sandals that can take you from day to evening – my favorites are from Givenchy.

Any insider tips for keeping shoes in good shape or storage tips?
Hmm, I must admit I am not the greatest at maintenance, but as my collection of shoes is threatening to take over our spare room, I am obsessed with storage solutions (or that could just be my Swedish heritage talking). I store all my shoes in boxes with photos or sketches and they are also sorted by season and color. It makes it a lot easier for me to find the right pair in the morning!

How would you describe your style?
I tend to change my look on a daily basis depending on my mood, but I find a lot of inspiration from the 60s/70s and from all the French fashion editors. I have to dress semi-smart for work, so on the weekends I tend to make the most of my casual wardrobe, which mainly consists of denim or denim cut offs, and tees worn with a lot of jewelry.

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?
My engagement ring! It’s a beautiful 1940s amethyst and diamond ring. I also love the idea that it has had an entire life before me.

Who inspires you?
Workwise, my mentor and manager, Tina Lamb – not only is she incredibly good at what she does, but she always manages to stay humble and approachable. I am also in awe of people like Bethany Hamilton (the pro surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack), or anyone who doesn’t let personal loss or hardship get in the way of their dreams.

Who are your style icons?
I would have to include Bianca Jagger, Jane Birkin, Nico, Marianne Faithful and Blondie. I also love how Kate Bosworth and Jenne Lombardo dress – if I could steal just one piece of clothing from each of them I would be a very happy girl!

Do you have any recommendations for New Yorkers visiting London?
Skip Central London and go East! Start your day with a brunch at Breakfast Club in Shoreditch (they have the best huevos rancheros, or full English), then have a browse around all the galleries and check out the little boutiques in the area. Don’t miss the smaller street art galleries like Pure Evil. Continue a bit further up the road from Shoreditch and you have Dalston, which has more bars, and also an amazing Chinese Dim Sum restaurant called Shanghai. They do half price dim sum on Saturdays between 12 and 3pm, and have a private karaoke room in the basement. If you have too much to eat you can dance it off at Dalston Superstore or playing pool at Efes. I would also recommend a visit to Richmond by boat. It is incredibly touristy but still so much fun, and on a sunny day you can bring your own picnic and sit by the river and just people watch.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
If I am in London I try to check out new art exhibitions and catch up with friends over drinks. If we have a long weekend my husband and I always try to catch a flight to Taghazout, Morocco, where we spend our days surfing and eating amazing seafood. The flight is only a few hours and you can get super cheap tickets through the budget airlines!

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