When Amanda Brooks announced, quite abruptly, that she would be leaving her post at Barneys to go live on a farm in Oxfordshire, England, it's safe to say the fashion industry (us included) was pretty puzzled. We wondered: Had Barneys been displeased with her performance? Had the company's precarious financial situation caused tension in the office? Was she poached by another company--or perhaps starting her own? Now, we finally have some answers. Sort of.
In an interview with the New York Times, Brooks revealed that she left the famed retailer not because of bad blood or another opportunity but because she was inspired by a blog. And not one that has anything to do with fashion. A New Yorker profile tipped Brooks off to The Pioneer Woman, a blog penned by Ree Drummond, a mother who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma, homeschools her children and calls her husband exclusively (seriously) 'The Marlboro Man.' It struck a chord.
“It’s the idea of having a career on your own terms, anywhere," Brooks said. “I’ve spent my entire career devoted to the vision of others...[t]his year away is for introspection. For myself.” As for blogging, Brooks will be refocusing her attention on her recently revived site I Love Your Style--though her posts will no doubt have a different tenor once dispatched from a cozy family farm, as opposed to the bustling streets of NYC. For example, "the way I arrange a cheese plate," Brooks said.
Recent posts on her blog include an ode to Jackie O's headscarves, a picture of a "less documented corner" of Grey Gardens, which her "oldest childhood friend" rents every summer, and old newsprint photos of her mother modeling Lilly Pulitzer in the 60s.
And though Brooks will be across the pond for a year, she told the paper she's determined not to disappear from the scene altogether--something that her A-list friends and mentors will no doubt be happy with. Quoted singing her praises in the article is everyone from Amy Astley, to artist Rachel Feinstein and Diane von Furstenberg, who Brooks met almost two decades ago when she briefly dated her son Alexander von Furstenberg.
"When I met her, she was very kind of WASPy and I didn’t even think she was that pretty," Furstenberg said. "But I loved watching her grow. She learns, she absorbs, she’s very entrepreneurial and she’s very nice." A little bit of a back-handed compliment but...We'll take it!
Needless to say, we're looking forward to blog posts from the farm.