More than 100 years ago, Carrie Marcus turned Dallas into a fashion mecca. Women from around the southwest journeyed to Neiman Marcus seeking her advice on how to dress in something new —high-quality, read-to-wear dresses. When her nephew Stanley Marcus took over the NM empire, he expanded the specialty store’s reputation within the world of couture. To do this, he had to convince such couturiers as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and others to cross “the pond” and come to this city that was associated with the Wild West and the oilfields.
But Mr. Stanley realized that it would take more than designer labels and attentive sales associates guiding clients through the collections. To impress both the designers and the clients, the “Wow!” factor was necessary. To do this, he had a team of people create extravaganzas that impressed the most worldly while never crossing into the P.T. Barnum world. From legendary Fortnights and the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion to store openings and fashion shows, there’s been no such thing as a ho-hum NM event.
One of his hires was a young whippersnapper named Sandy Waddill, who started 50 years ago. The statuesque SMU coed left the Hilltop for NM before graduating. Over the years, she learned the NM way of showcasing fashions and putting over spectacular events while working with all types of designers and models and Neiman couture au courant consciousness like Daria Retain, Marcia Barrett and Delpha Simpson. There were those designers and models who were up-and-coming and others who were just making their final turns.
As part of her responsibilities, she became the enforcer of the NM house rules — “no red wine if guests will be standing and walking through the store; avoid balloons in most cases. There is nothing luxurious or elegant about them” — to mention just a couple.
As the years went by, so did the tools of the trade. Clipboards were joined by headsets and computers. Sandy not only adapted to the changes, but she charged ahead with a headful of formerly auburn hair that went platinum, a black wardrobe, and a figure that couture models would envy.
Another change was her name. When she got hitched to Bill Marple in 1990, she became Sandy Marple.
This week marks Sandy’s 50th anniversary with NM, and it also launches the beginning of her retirement.
Upon hearing the news of Sandy’s departure, Crystal Charity Ball Chair/former NM buyer Pat McEvoy told Sandy, “You have been the one who always made the trains run on time for the Fashion Show!”
But not to worry about the 2019 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show on Friday, September 13, at the NM flagship store with Carolina Herrera fashions, the “Ten Best Dressed” and Hall of Famer Francie Moody-Dahlberg on the runway. Sandy has turned over her headset to Marjon Henderson, who has handled the NM Downtown store’s PR these past years.
As for Sandy, she’s told friends and fans, “I am retiring after 50 years with NM – I am not dying!!! LOL!!”