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Our Love Letter and Plea to a Post-Doonan Barneys

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over a year. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his brand new column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.


Image via Racked New York

Dear Barneys,

It's no secret that Racked—as a shopping-obsessed entity—is pretty obsessed with you. We cover your biannual warehouse sales like NBC covers the Olympics. A quick search of our four sister fashion sites—the New York original, Los Angeles, yours truly and newbie Chicago—turns up 1047 posts that include the term "Barneys." And we'd be lying through our teeth if we didn't admit that that number would for sure be higher by tomorrow—hell, by tonight.

Not only do you champion the edgy new designers and collections that we, as "Fashion People," love probably way too much; you carry like almost everything we could think of wanting (except Moschino and Viktor & Rolf menswear—just sayin'). And you do it with such verve and humor and spirit—notions we're pretty positive have a whole hell of a lot to do with Simon Doonan's fabulous, artistic, eccentric and virtually universally-appealing verve and humor and spirit. He's not large in stature but his whimsy and personality: Huge.

Full disclosure—our obsession with Barneys New York is very probably eclipsed by our love for Simon. A search on Racked for Simon Doonan turns up 130 posts—far less than that Barneys search, but pretty mind-boggling when you consider he is (or was) merely the Creative Director of chain of around 30 stores. It's not like he's the Fashion Director—not that there's a Fashion Director we can think of, charming or not, that has his kind of visibility. Take the fabulous Linda Fargo and Nick Wooster—Fashion Directors for Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. We adore those two as well—but their names turn up a total of under 20 posts.

Which brings us to the issue at hand: You've already dismissed Judy Collinson and Julie Gilhart, who may not have had anything to do with those windows (Have we mentioned how crazy-psyched we almost always are with the windows?) but certainly had plenty to do with your brand DNA, not to mention the cult of Barneys. Now you're "promoting" Simon to some sort of "Creative Ambassador-at-Large" position which seems more like a demotion (those "-at-Large" positions, in our experience, frequently seem like—or become, once the hullabaloo subsides—demotions).

This isn't sitting well with us; though we're pretty positive that Simon (along with partner Jonathan Adler, who we also love (90 posts)) has so much career happening—books, the TV show, appearances, collaborations—is sitting just fine. But still! The windows!

And so help us if this whole 'let's make Barneys viable and profitable' thing turns our favorite department store into a Saks Fifth Avenue. Saks is fine (they have Viktor & Rolf menswear—just sayin'); but for every item we actually want at Saks there are probably 30 at Barneys. A friend of ours and employee of Saks probably said it best upon meeting Mr. Doonan: "Barneys is my favorite store. And I work at Saks."

Basically, what we're saying is: Barneys is our Happy Place. We don't want to see it change very much. And we really like Simon so keep him around. And definitely keep his mug on the M&Ms!

And to Simon: Best of luck—and don't worry, we're still going to come bother you at Fashion Week next month.


· Love, Frank [RNA]
· Simon Doonan Ousted from Creative Director Position and "Promoted" to Creative Ambassador-at-Large [RNA]
· Barneys Names New Creative Director, Promotes Simon Doonan [Racked NY]