Stephanie Winston Wykoff
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Virginia Smith to Barneys?
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.