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Omaha Magazine

60 Plus Prime Time: Karen Richards

Feb 25, 2021 10:14AM ● By Nicholas Moore
karen richards in front of blue door

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Imagine a sophisticated dinner party. Crystal and fresh flowers sit on the table, guests politely chat in between sips of wine, and ambient music purrs in the background. The most elegant fixtures of the room, however, aren’t the fine china or exotic spices, they’re the subtle scent of Eclat d’Arpège perfume and the clipped South African accent following the hostess as she makes her rounds. Indeed, Karen Richards is the most elegant fixture in most rooms.

When she and her husband, Alan, moved their two young boys to Omaha in 1997 from Johannesburg, South Africa, it wasn’t the first time Karen would have to reinvent herself. Fortunately, “I have such a huge variety of interests, I will never be bored,” she exclaimed, “not in a creation of cats!” That must be a South African figure of speech…

With an artist’s eye, Karen’s first impressions of America was how casual everyone dressed. “When we arrived, the kids at the boys’ school said I dressed like a ‘rich lady’ but I was just wearing clothes that I would normally wear back in South Africa.” Although she gradually conceded to the norms of American informality, as a designer, she maintains that “what’s important about style is that your behavior is elevated when you’re wearing something smart.”

This article first appeared in the 60 Plus section of the March/April 2021 issue of Omaha Magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.