There has been much speculation about who would fill Julie Gilhart's shoes as the next fashion director of Barneys New York. Lane Crawford’s Sarah Rutson and Vogue‘s Virginia Smith were both rumored to be up for the job, but chose not to leave their respective places of employment.
The newest name at the top of the short list? According to WWD, it's Marie Claire accessories editor Taylor Tomasi Hill.
It's an interesting choice on the part of newish Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee. Before taking the accessories editor job at Marie Claire, Tomasi Hill was the accessories director at Teen Vogue. More than that, she's known for her personal style and has become something of a street style star, and can often be found on the Sartorialist and Jak & Jil. She's currently on Tommy Ton's best dressed list for the year on Style.com. So as an ambassador or "face" of Barneys, she'd be perfect.
But her experience for a directorial role on the retail side seems more limited than the names nominated before her. Of course, that's partly to do with her age--Tomasi Hill is only around 30 (by our estimates and internet sleuthing). But it's also true that editorial market experience wouldn't necessarily lend itself to the kind of buying knowledge we'd assume would be crucial for the job. Traditionally, the fashion director doesn't do the actual buying--they tell the buyers what they think works and doesn't. But in an industry where the bottom line is becoming more and more significant every day, being able to understand what consumers will actually buy versus what they "want" is important. Who knows if Tomasi has that skill?
And another thing: We think the chances of Tomasi abandoning Marie Claire are only 50-50. While a high-profile Barneys job could be a dream come true, the Hearst title has been good to Tomasi. Not only did they woo her from Teen Vogue with (presumably) lots more money, it seems that she might be getting her own show, ala Nina Garcia. We'd be shocked if Tomasi isn't set to star in the Project Runway accessories spinoff.