The new CEO of Barneys, Mark Lee, is said to be considering Vogue’s Virginia Smith for the position of women’s fashion director. Smith, who is the fashion market/accessories director at Vogue, would replace Julie Gilhart, who was let go on Monday along with the company’s longtime executive vice-president for womenswear, Judy Collinson, who was replaced by former Gucci exec Daniella Vitale. Another reported front-runner for Gilhart’s old position is Sarah Rutson, the fashion director at the Asian retailing powerhouse Lane Crawford, who would be able to help Barneys gain traction in the designer-hungry Chinese market.
All this reshuffling has stoked rumors about the future of Simon Doonan, the beloved creative director of Barneys, whose contract with the store is up in May. Mark Lee’s camp has remained tight-lipped about the staff shake-ups, except to say via spokesperson, “The search [for a women’s fashion director] has begun and is ongoing … We intend to meet many candidates but no decisions have been made.”