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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.
Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee wants a fashion director after all. Following Monday's news that store veteran Julie Gilhart would be leaving the company, WWD reports that Lee is said to be searching for a fashion director. His two top candidates? Lane Crawford's Sarah Rutson and Vogue's Virginia Smith. Both choices makes sense, Rutson more so. But the woman who transformed Lane Crawford into a serious fashion player has been living in Hong Kong for the 15 years. Will she want to transplant herself to New York? Smith, who is the fashion market/accessories director at Vogue, might not have a retail background, but she certainly has the eye Lee is looking for. While Barneys needs to maintain its edge, it also needs to offer a broader range of product. Remember, Barneys' main problem--from an investor's standpoint--is that it's not selling enough clothes.