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JOE ZEE FALLS IN WITH OLD NAVY: If recent sightings of Joe Zee decked out in Old Navy gear leave some style watchers scratching their heads, the veteran fashion editor is just dressing the part. Formerly the creative director at Elle and now the editor in chief of Yahoo’s fashion site, Zee is taking on the additional role of Old Navy’s style ambassador this fall. “Being able to actually be so hands-on with the product and being able to play with it and style it in so many different ways was so much fun,” said Zee, who was dispatched from an initial meeting with the San Francisco-based company with bags of clothes, from which he plucked $19 jeans to don for dinner at The Standard Grill in New York’s Meatpacking District, and a $12 shirt to cover the red carpet recently at Super Saturday in the Hamptons.
While actress Amy Poehler continues to appear in Old Navy’s TV commercials, Zee succeeds Brad Goreski, another TV-friendly stylist who served as Old Navy’s style ambassador for spring 2013. Not only is Zee hosting online videos but he also styled the looks for the Web ads, direct-mail flyers, magalogue and window displays.
Working under the tag line of “Fall in Love” for a Sept. 2 launch, photographer Daniel Jackson shot a diverse cast of toddlers, preteens, women and men in sweaters, miniskirts, anorak jackets and fleece crewnecks retailing for between $14.94 and $44.95.
Even with his new high-profile gig at Yahoo and designing a women’s collection for QVC, Zee maintains his energy despite his lack of sleep.
“I’m very good with my four or five hours [of sleep] a night,” he said. “I don’t know how to nap. My idea of napping is putting the phone down.”
In a series of videos to be posted on Old Navy’s Web site and YouTube channel, Zee dissects a sweats-as-streetwear look with a Tumblr blogger and takes a “pantsagram” photo with two other fashion bloggers sporting the retailer’s best-selling $34.94 printed Pixie pants. The online focus also helps him reach potential customers in other countries, like China, where Old Navy opened its first company-operated store and e-commerce site earlier this year. The Gap Inc. subsidiary ran 1,028 stores worldwide as of May 3.
“He attracts a younger audience and we feel that he’s so active in social media and uses it so well,” said Jamie Gersch, Old Navy’s vice president of marketing, declining to comment on the financial details of the onetime deal. “We want it to feel credible and authentic.”
Zee practices what he preaches. The big trend for fall is the ath-leisure movement that calls for styling sweats in what he dubs “the new, relaxed, cool way” outside of the gym. Besides, he said, “I would love to live in sweats.”