By  on June 3, 2009

Neiman Marcus Inc. has centralized its fashion office, giving three seasoned fashion executives responsibilities for the Neiman Marcus, Neiman Marcus Direct and Bergdorf Goodman divisions.

Under the reorganization, Kareen Mallet becomes women’s ready-to-wear senior market editor. Mallet, who had the same title at Neiman’s, will be responsible for covering contemporary, bridge, dress collections, evening, lingerie and coats.

Roopal Patel, women’s fashion accessory senior market editor, will cover handbags, shoes, fashion accessories, fashion jewelry and designer jewelry. She previously was senior fashion director at Bergdorf’s covering various women’s areas.

Tommy Fazio, men’s fashion director and senior market editor, will be responsible for covering men’s designer, sportswear, tailored clothing, contemporary, furnishings, men’s accessories and shoes. He previously was men’s fashion director at Bergdorf’s.

Officials said the three fashion executives were given broader roles to leverage their skills and to take over the responsibilities for two individuals who retired from Neiman’s in the past two months: Sandra Wilson, who covered accessories, and Colby McWilliams, who was the men’s fashion director. They were not replaced. The company also said no layoffs resulted from the centralization.

The new fashion office will report to Ken Downing, who serves as senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus stores and simultaneously covers the women’s couture and designer markets for Neiman’s. He now also oversees the administrative matters concerning the staff at the central fashion office, located at 1450 Broadway in Manhattan.

With the reorganization, said Neiman’s president and chief executive officer Karen Katz, “we are now able to fully utilize the talents and strengths of Roopal, Tommy and Kareen across all brands and channels while providing each of them with new areas of growth and responsibility.”

Jim Gold, president and ceo of Bergdorf Goodman, explained why NMG decided to centralize the fashion office. “We had an opportunity to leverage two extremely talented individuals for the corporation, Roopal and Tommy,” he said. “These two individuals know Bergdorf’s so well and have unique fashion skills so the Neiman Marcus Inc. felt that we could [more fully] utilize their talents. As they cover the markets, they will look through the lens of both brands.”

Gold stressed that Linda Fargo continues to be senior vice president and fashion director of Bergdorf’s and Downing continues over Neiman Marcus Stores.

Patel and Mallet, with Bergdorf Goodman fashion-related matters, have “a dotted line to Linda,” while Fazio will report to Bergdorf’s Margaret Spaniolo, senior vice president and general merchandise manager, Gold said. Fargo also continues to cover the women’s couture and designer markets for Bergdorf’s.

“Ken and Linda are peers,” Gold said. “They communicate with one another frequently and compare notes. But Linda is over the Bergdorf Goodman brand. Ken is over Neiman Marcus. From Linda’s perspective and Ken’s perspective, it’s no different. The difference is these other three individuals will be responsible for both brands.”

The mission of the fashion office is to scout new brands and determine if they are right for Bergdorf’s, Neiman’s or both. Fashion office staff introduce new designers to the merchants. The office also makes recommendations to designers and vendors on products and styles and suggests changes. In addition, the fashion office provides fashion direction to the merchant groups and sales organizations at the divisions.

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