2010 November 29
Daniella Vitale In at Barneys; Julie Gilhart and Judy Collinson Exit
BILLY FARRELL/PatrickMcMullan.com View Gallery
(NEW YORK) And we're back. So much for Thanksgiving, loves---the fashion world's flurry of major moves shows no signs of holiday slowing. Today's shockwaves come courtesy of Barneys New York, which has just announced the appointment of Daniella Vitale as chief women's merchant---and the exits of longtime SVP and women's fashion director Julie Gilhart and EVP and general merchandise manager of women's, Judy Collinson, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s.
Vitale's appointment is the first made by Mark Lee, who (finally) accepted the CEO gig at Barneys in September. Vitale's appointment is not exactly a shock, given that she worked under him at Gucci, where he served as CEO and she was president of the Americas.
So what does it all mean, besides a lot of water cooler speculation at the corporate offices of Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, and Saks Fifth Avenue? Plenty. Gilhart has long been an early adopter of major designers during their formative years. (Proenza Schouler, Olivier Theyskens, Alexander Wang, and Project Alabama owe her big-time). She has also embraced indie brands that might not otherwise do business with convential department stores. (Zero + Maria Cornejo, AsFour, Project Alabama/Alabama Chanin, Isabella Tonchi, Duro Olowu...) A pioneer of eco-friendly practices, she even developed a Barneys label devoted to "green" fashion, partnering with the likes of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Rogan, and Loomstate.
Plus! Gilhart's leadership position in the CFDA, and her role on the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund committee, fortified her already formidable career-making powers. When she comes to a young designer's show, everyone pays attention. Of course, her absence is felt just as pointedly. Gilhart's legacy at Barneys is likely to be the store's evolution as a welcome home for less quote-unquote commercial designers. But given Barneys' well-publicized financial problems, perhaps it's not unreasonable to envision the floors stocked with more fly-off-the-shelves brands like Michael Kors, Elie Tahari, and even...Gucci?
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