Simon Kneen, executive vice president of design and creative director of Banana Republic, is leaving the company, effective Dec. 31. Kneen’s departure was announced on Tuesday by Gap Inc. on the Banana Republic portion of the corporate Web site.
“In the last five years with the brand, Simon has led with passion, creativity and a thoughtful approach to designing modern and versatile styles for professional men and women. As we compete to win on the global stage, now is the right time to make a change,” said Jack Calhoun, global brand president of Banana Republic, a suggestion that Kneen’s departure was planned by the company.
The retailer said it will start a search for a new head of design and creative director immediately.
Kneen, who has been in his current role since January 2008, will remain with the Banana Republic design team through the end of the year to help manage the transition. Julie Rosen, a 19-year veteran of Gap Inc., will continue in her role as evp of Banana Republic North America, leading merchandising and inventory management.
Kneen was a fan of collaborations and capsule collections. He partnered with Hollywood for an “Anna Karenina” line based on the film, worked with Janie Bryant, the costume designer of AMC’s “Mad Men,” on two collections and introduced capsules from Trina Turk, Milly and Issa, among others. “Mad Men” has been credited with helping Banana Republic post $622 million in sales in the first quarter of 2012. A L’Wren Scott for Banana Republic collection will be Kneen’s final partnership, bowing in December.
Banana Republic may have been looking for design assistance for some time. The brand in August 2012 recruited Narciso Rodriguez to rev up its fashion offering. At the time, the specialty retailer said Rodriguez would assume an advisory role, working alongside Kneen. The first collection bearing the imprint of the Rodriguez-Banana Republic partnership launched for fall.
Gap said Rodriguez’s contract has expired and the company is looking forward to the next opportunity to bring fresh perspective to the brand.
Kneen’s final collection for Banana Republic will be summer 2014.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion