Studying the Classics

America's oldest department store is getting a long-deserved makeover with new merchandise, a new look and an ambitious new owner

Richard Baker walks into the Time Warner Center in New York City wearing a sporty tan summer suit accented by a marigold tie with yellow socks to match. These days the real estate developer, art collector and former chef is having fun with fashion. As CEO of NRDC Equity Partners—the private-equity firm that bought Lord & Taylor—Baker is the proud new owner since October of America's oldest department store. And he's overseeing a makeover as bold as his brightly colored tie. To prove his dedication to the turnaround, he and his wife have made a pact to buy almost all their...

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