Lisa Aiken

Neiman Marcus has appointed Lisa Aiken, an executive with deep experience in luxury fashion and digital platforms, as fashion and lifestyle director, WWD has learned.

It’s a new role that the Dallas-based Neiman Marcus indicated is part of its “merchandising and planning team transformation,” involving initiatives to add offerings, services and experiences beyond just fashion.

Aiken will lead the existing fashion team at Neiman’s, and report to Lana Todorovich, president and chief merchandising officer of the Neiman Marcus Group. She starts her new job on Aug. 9 and will be based in New York, rather than Dallas.

It’s been more than two years since Neiman Marcus had a fashion director. That position was last filled by Ken Downing, who held the title of senior vice president and fashion director until he left the store in March 2019 and became chief creative officer of the Triple Five Group, the Canadian developer operating three mega retail/entertainment complexes: the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. and American Dream in East Rutherford, N.J.

However, Neiman’s executives said Aiken will play a broader role throughout the organization, in light of Neiman’s efforts to evolve into more of a “luxury lifestyle platform, and to further integrate its three selling channels: stores, e-commerce and remote selling by its 3,000-plus selling associates utilizing the company’s Connect clienteling tool.” Neiman’s now refers to its fashion office as the fashion and lifestyle office.

Among her responsibilities, Aiken will identify emerging brands and trends and services across the fashion and lifestyle space, and collaborate with brands to expand exclusive partnerships, Neiman’s indicated. She will cover all merchandise categories, men’s, women’s and kids’ included.

“We have been on a journey to find a global fashion leader who is a digital native and will help accelerate the growth of Neiman Marcus’ loyal brand portfolio with a fresh perspective,” Todorovich said in a statement. “Lisa has a keen understanding of both luxury fashion and emerging brands, coupled with her expertise as a compelling storyteller of seasonal fashion messages and skills on digital platforms. She brings a unique perspective,” said Todorovich.

According to Neiman’s, it carries more than 3,000 brands and 50 were added to the matrix this spring.

There have been recurring reports that some leading designer and luxury brands have been reducing their points of distribution across the retail industry, including Neiman’s, in favor of their own stores and websites. But earlier this week, Neiman Marcus Group chief executive officer Geoffroy van Raemdonck told WWD that business with Neiman’s top 20 brands were up approximately 35 percent in the company’s third fiscal quarter, which runs from February through April, as compared to 2019. He also said Neiman’s business is rebounding, particularly in men’s, footwear and handbags, and that he sees the demand for luxury goods on the rise this year. About 35 percent of NMG’s volume is through e-commerce. NMG emerged from bankruptcy last September, and now has far less debt and better liquidity, which would foster relationships with brands and designers.

Aiken most recently was the fashion and buying director at Moda Operandi. Earlier in her career, she worked at Net-a-porter and Mytheresa. Neiman’s credited Aiken for “bringing a modernized approach for luxury brands and fashion e-tailers.” She hails from Newcastle upon Tyne in the U.K.

“It is a privilege to be joining such a brand at the pinnacle of luxury with a world-renowned heritage but more importantly to be at the forefront of its continued evolution during such a pivotal time,” Aiken said in a statement.