LONDON — Natalie Kingham has left Matchesfashion after more than a decade following a series of management shake-ups at the retailer, and her recent promotion.
Kingham was promoted to the newly created role of global fashion officer in December. She reported to Elizabeth von der Goltz, who joined the company as chief commercial officer in February from Net-a-porter.
During her career at the retailer, Kingham was known for nurturing young designers. In 2020, she drove the launch of the Innovators program, which offers young designers a package of practical support including mentorship, preferential business terms and global marketing.
In an interview with WWD earlier this year, Kingham said “supporting a diverse range of design talent is at the heart of our business and is one of the reasons our customer loves us — because we enable this discovery.”
She noted that Matches launched the Innovators program in 2017 to support and champion creative design talent, “and as we collaborated closely with designers during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that many were unsure of how their brands could thrive through the next year.”
The program offers designers robust support across their businesses, including favorable payment terms, content, PR, marketing and social amplification. “I think knowing that they have this support over the course of a year means they can plan ahead, and [it] will allow them to have more financial stability,” Kingham said.
She expanded the retailer’s categories and edits to include homeware and lifestyle, holidays and fine jewelry. She joined the company 11 years ago as international women’s wear buyer, and rose to fashion and buying director before taking up her latest role.
A spokesperson for Matches said Monday that Kingham’s departure was “cordial, and by mutual agreement,” adding that she had worked throughout the month of June, handing over to the “very strong” in-house team. There are currently no plans to replace her.
Kingham isn’t the only manager to have left Matches this year. The company continues to look for a new chief executive officer after the abrupt departure of Ajay Kavan after just 12 months on the job.
Maureen Chiquet, a non-executive director on the Matchesfashion board since 2018 and a Chanel veteran, has been running the operation as executive chairwoman during the transition period. As reported, she has been charged with supporting the teams in overseeing business activities until a new CEO is named.
According to industry sources, Matches has been looking for someone with a laser focus on fashion and retail, an industry insider who understands the business, the power of the brand, and the importance of differentiation in a crowded and competitive market where size and scale matter.