This is not a rhetorical question. Mark Lee, the CEO of Barneys, has finally appointed his Woman’s Fashion Director, thus completing his makeover of the store’s executive suite. And the winner is…Amanda Brooks, the author of the DIY style tome “I Love Your Style,” aka ex-director of fashion at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
She also happens to be married to the English artist-about-town Christopher Brooks, ex-creative director/muse of Tuleh and Hogan, aka girl Anna Wintour likes to feature in her social pages.
When it comes to fashion, she’s done a lot, but she’s never done multi-brand retail.
And she should fit in just fine with Mr Lee’s other appointments, most of whom have also never done multi-brand retail. Dennis Freedman, for example, the new creative director, and ex-creative director of W magazine: no retail. Daniella Vitale, Chief Merchant, EVP, and Ms Brooks’ boss and the ex-President of the Americas of Gucci: no multi-brand. Mr Lee himself: ditto.
All of which suggests Mr Lee doesn’t believe that experience with the multi-brand store, the kind that Barneys is – influential, trend-setting, about discovering new talent and cultivating old, humourous – is that important; that if you can do single brand retail and you have style, you can learn the rest.
“I have long admired Amanda and her effortless blend of luxury and individual style,” explained Ms Vitale in the announcement. However, while individual style certainly looks great hosting parties and in front rows and on talking heads on TV — it looks great representing a store — it doesn’t necessarily equate to thinking of the sort of style that many different sort of individuals want to buy. But maybe that’s not what this job is about anymore. Anyone want to lay down odds?
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