Hip Replacement

For the past twenty-five years Barneys windows (first on Seventh Avenue and 16h Street and currently on Madison Avenue) have been showcases for some of the weirdest, wackiest, wonderful displays of art and design ever “performed” in retail spaces. The window dresser par excellence has been the irrepressibly hip Simon Doonan, whose public exposures have influenced the window design world and entertained the rest of us hurried passersby.

Sadly, Doonan has been “promoted” from Creative Director of Barneys New York to a curious new role in the company: “Creative Ambassador-At-Large.” If you wonder what other honorifics can be coined for kicking someone “upstairs” to the figurehead throne, maybe something like “viceroy of creativity” will come next.

Doonan made a name for himself designing the luxury retailer’s entertaining, artsy and comic windows since 1986. Barney’s officials announced his new position on Monday – a shocker – which entails being a media spokesperson for the company. A press release notes he will be “a roving ambassador with links to all creative and communication areas including social media.”  Yeah, right!!?

Replaced by W‘s former Creative Director, Dennis Freedman, Doonan will report to Mark Lee, the recently appointed CEO of Barneys, who has been stirring things up, including emptying out the warehouse where past window displays have been stored. Sources speculate he will put an end to Doonan’s ethereally hip window displays. Here’s wondering whether this year’s Lady Gaga spectacular will be replaced with more focused retail sales promotions, and given the economic climate more 50% OFF On Selected Items signs.

5 thoughts on “Hip Replacement

  1. LRC

    It is a total shame that creativity and imagination have been replaced with only the pure vanilla bottom line buck. Fashion was always the one place you could depend on to see something different, beautiful and not tainted by the suits. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Joseph

    Congrats to Simon, but it’s our loss. I met him briefly on a project and he couldn’t have been more pleasant. I’ll really miss those windows.
    Unfortunately Zafarrano is spot on as far as corporate ‘creativity’ goes. I find the main problem twofold: those in charge want concepts dumbed down to suit their usually very narrow frame of reference, and they also want another wheel cog they have absolute control over.