Hector Muelas, chief image officer at Donna Karan International, has exited the firm after less than a year in the role.
Muelas was charged with all areas of DKI’s brand image, marketing and creative services, as well as digital platforms and e-commerce. He came from Apple, where he was creative director, worldwide marketing communications and was most recently in charge of leading the global brand marketing initiatives for Apple Watch. Earlier, he held creative and executive posts at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles and Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, where he developed creative campaigns for such brands as Nike and Coca-Cola.
Muelas couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday on his plans. DKI confirmed that Muelas has resigned to pursue other interests.
Caroline Brown, chief executive officer of DKI, said, “We thank Hector for his many contributions to our business at a critical first stage of development for the future of our brand. This work will continue to be supported by the talented teams in-house in our marketing and creative services areas. We wish Hector much success in his next steps.”
Sources said he and Brown didn’t get along well, and there were some rumblings last fall about disagreements between Muelas and the DKNY designers over the direction of the spring ad campaign, resulting in multiple reshoots. Muelas’ recruitment from Apple marked a coup for DKI, since in recent years Apple has been recruiting senior fashion executives, rather than the fashion world hiring the tech brand’s top talent. Following Muelas’ arrival, Trey Laird, founder, ceo and chief creative officer of Laird + Partners, who had been doing DKI’s advertising for many years, was no longer working on the campaigns. Fall was Laird’s last campaign for the brand.
At the time of Muelas’ hiring, Brown said, “Hector brings incredible background working on some of the most iconic brands out there. He is going to really examine this brand, and say what is the brand message we want to send, what is the brand focus and who are the very best partners to get us there.”
Designer Donna Karan stepped down from DKI in June.
The first DKNY women’s collection designed by Chow and Osborne was unveiled last September for spring selling. The spring ad campaign was photographed by Lachlan Bailey and featured model Adrienne Jüliger. The focus of the campaign was that DKNY was being designed for a woman, not a girl.
Last month, DKNY also shuttered its flagship store at 655 Madison Avenue. Its newly renovated West Broadway store in SoHo is expected to reopen Thursday.