Shooting the Breeze with Derrill Osborn
Lorie and I caught up with Derrill Osborn, former globe-trotting fashion exec for Neiman Marcus, and Benny Hinkle III, owner of Dallas-based Benny Jack’s Antiques, on the first day of Big Red Barn’s show in the spring. We pulled up red Adirondack chairs between the barn and the Continental Tent and visited. He was the epitome of personal style in his signature hat and glasses with a jacket accented by a scarf, pink pants and Lucchese Ropers. Derrill is a regular at the spring and fall shows. We lost count of how many photos were snapped of him and posted to Instagram and Facebook. (He is unfailingly gracious.) See his Instagram account: derrillosborn
Just the Facts
Name: Derrill Radcliff Osborn
Occupation: Retired from Neiman Marcus
DOB: July 22, 1942
Hometown: Clovis, New Mexico
Education: Abilene Christian College (now University), Harvard Divinity Army Chaplain School
When I was six, I wanted to be: My sister and I always played store. She was the general manager, and I was the buyer. I have always had a penchant for showing, managing and selling. Somehow, she always walked away with the money.
What would I tell a 16-year-old Derrill Osborn? Don’t ever forget your manners, and dress for the occasion.
What was your first paying job? Sacking groceries. I always made more tips than anyone. My mother said it was my personality.
How did you get a job with Neiman Marcus? I lived in New York City and worked for Saks Fifth Avenue. Then I moved to Beverly Hills and worked in a men’s specialty store. It was all show biz. Adam Gimbel for 10 years, Saks Fifth Avenue and Stanley Marcus.
Red or white? Oh, red, my dear, red. My home is decorated in red and green. Queen Victoria said, “Red and green require much in between.”
Early or late? About as late as you can get. I barely get my clothes on before it’s bedtime.
Haven’t been to the grocery store, and dinner time looms. I go to one of the wonderful markets in Dallas. I generally eat alone. Can’t tolerate chit-chat.
Pickled beets, eggs or pigs feet? Beets.
Favorite vacation spot? Europe in general. Love Italy, London, Milan, Paris. Of course, I visited all those cities while working for Neiman Marcus. I sat on the front row of all of the fashion shows for 25 years. There’s just not much that I don’t love about those wonderful cities.
Who gave you your biggest compliment? I presided over a promotion event in which Stanley Marcus attended with the industry. He wrote me a letter that it was one of the finest jobs he had ever witnessed. Now that’s from the man!
What are you afraid of? Can’t think of a thing. I have never had a pain pill in my life.
First car? Mercury Cougar. My father gave it to me when I came back from the Army. It was a real honey.
Dream car? A VW Beetle convertible that I had for 30 years. It was red and green. I was insane when I sold this possession.
Last picture you took with your phone? A photo of me and Furious Radcliff Hinkle . . . Benny Hinkle’s new baby. He named this child with my middle name “Radcliff.” Benny has been coming with me to Round Top for years. You must see his new antique store: Benny Jack Hinkle Antiques on Instagram.
How do you start a conversation? I can’t tell you how many times I get stopped by strangers. They always ask: ‘Where are you from?’ I used to say “I’m from heaven, and I’ve come to take you home.” I had to stop saying that, though.
Every day I: Brush my teeth. Well, that’s not very interesting, is it? I also do calligraphy. I am a deacon at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, and I do a lot of cards for people at church, visit the sick. There is a vendor down in one of the fields from whom I buy lots of old postcards. I love those—and the people I send them to seem to get a boost. I buy a lot of stamps. Every day I mail handwritten, calligraphy cards.
I am never without: My walking stick and my Leddy hat. And my boots. Lucchese Ropers—the old ones. That’s a great kick-ass boot.
Can you tell a joke? I sure can. I think telling jokes is very important. Must learn to pause and tell with excitement and timing.
The funniest person in your life: My brother Moses.
What’s next? Just came back from Havana. I love Cuban cigars, old ’50s cars and Hemingway’s haunts. In December I am going to Bethlehem for Christmas Day.
When did you first come to Round Top? I’ve been coming for at least 30 years. I came by myself the first time—now I come with and see so many friends. I remember Emma Lee—loved her and what she did. Just amazing how it’s grown. I head to the Continental Tent here [Big Red Barn], and I always love Marburger. The quality is so consistent. I learned about the importance of provenance by coming to Round Top. The displays in these shows are just tremendous. My advice is to buy the good things, and don’t worry about cost. Here is where the trends begin.
What do you tell people about Round Top? If they haven’t been, I say “Get your arse down there.” You see the trends, what’s new, what’s exciting. I’m seeing lots of antlers this trip. Oh, and you have to go to Royers at least once in your lifetime. I go every year. Oh, and you have to work in advance to get a hotel room. I make my reservation for the next show when I check in, not when I check out.
What is the most favorite thing you bought at Round Top? I’m into bovine art. I have found marvelous bovine paintings. Now, I’ve sold much of that collection in an auction in 2009. There were 700 people attending including the president of Sothebys. I’ve also found wonderful Black Forest, Staffordshire majolica. Statues and bronzes. I am into Blackamoor—all variety. My collections started here.
What item that you did not purchase still haunts you today? I can’t even count them all. They haunt me every night. I try to close the door on this subject by just going to sleep.
by Katie Dickie Stavinoha
photos by Lorie A. Woodward