NEW YORK — Suzanne Silverstein has joined Parker, the contemporary dress company owned by Kellwood Co., as president, a new role.
This story first appeared in the December 10, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Howard Highman, one of the cofounders of the company, who has been chief executive officer, will move into the position of executive vice president. The other cofounders are Laurieanne Gilner, who continues as lead designer, and Derek Farrar, who remains production head.
Silverstein, who reports to Lynn Shanahan, chief executive officer of Kellwood, was vice president of sales for Seven for All Mankind for the past two-and-a-half years. Before that, she ran her own consulting business and earlier spent seven years at Saks Fifth Avenue, rising to vice president, divisional merchandise manager of contemporary sportswear, coats and swimwear. She joined Saks in 1999.
Kirk Palmer Associates, the executive search firm, handled the search.
Parker, whose sales are currently approaching $50 million, was acquired by Kellwood in July.
“The goal for Parker is to grow into a lifestyle brand,” said Silverstein, in an interview at Parker’s West 39th Street showroom here. The company is growing its business with existing retail accounts and bringing e-commerce in-house at the end of the first quarter, she said. In addition, Parker seeks to expand into new categories and further develop its eveningwear line, Parker (Black Label), which was launched for fall 2014 selling. Among the categories Parker would like to add are swimwear, handbags and footwear, all of which would be licensed. It would also like to eventually open its own retail store.
“It’s on the road map. The focus is to develop those other categories so when we have our own retail store, we’ll have the full experience,” she said. Silverstein said she’s seeing demand for in-store shops at its department store accounts. “The selling per square foot is quite successful. The sales performance is there and gives us the foundation for those conversations,” she said. Parker is carried in such stores as Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, as well as 500 specialty stores both domestically and overseas. It is also carried at Web sites such as Shopbop, Revolve Clothing and Piperlime.
Highman, who also runs the multibrand showroom Lily Kate, will run Parker sales and will remain “ensconced in the product,” said Silverstein.