IN THE BACK ROOM: Loehmann’s chief executive officer Steven Newman spent 10 grueling days going incognito in a few of the chain’s stores to tape an episode of CBS’ “Undercover Boss” that is set to air Friday.
His days often started with a 7:30 a.m. makeup call and stretched until 10 p.m. While working in various roles as “Harry” at the discounter’s stores in San Francisco, Costa Mesa, Calif., and Chevy Chase, Md., as well as its Rutherford, N.J. distribution center, the company’s brass had to wear a toupee so as to not tip off employees. His alter ego’s workwear — terrible pants and even worse shoes — was one of the hardest parts for the designer-label-loving Newman and he said the hairpiece “took on a life of its own.”
This story first appeared in the October 2, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
His roadie was Loehmann’s vice president/general counsel Mindy Novack, whose tasks included finding baseball caps large enough to fit over Newman’s unruly toupee. “The hair was just a giant mound of synthetic ugliness. We were hoping the caps would flatten it down a bit,” she said.
As for the metaphorical different hats he wore for the show, Newman posed as an order processer, a personal shopper and a sales associate in the bra department. With no viewing party planned, the leader of the 39-unit chain may duck for cover when the show airs. “Knowing Steve, he’ll probably want to watch this in total seclusion,” Novack said.