Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus, is leaving the luxury retailer on March 29, WWD has learned.
Downing, one of the most colorful and visible figures in the fashion industry, has been somewhat of an institution at Neiman’s. A front-row presence at designer shows in Paris, Milan, London and New York, Downing has been integral in bringing the trends and designers to Neiman’s and shaping Neiman’s fashion profile, in both women’s and men’s wear.
He established close ties to designers and upscale brands and was most often the face of the Dallas-based business, bringing a bold and entertaining flair to the store through fashion shows that he staged, his own public appearances in Neiman’s stores across the country and frequent media interviews. He could be outspoken on industry issues, among them the movement for wear-now and how the designer shows should be timed to the season the clothes are meant to be worn.
Downing has been senior vice president and fashion director for Neiman Marcus since 2006. He joined the Dallas-based company in 1990 and held various roles in public relations, visual planning and presentation as well as with the fashion office.
“It has been a monumental experience being part of Neiman Marcus for so many years,” Downing said. “The invaluable relationships I’ve forged with colleagues, brand partners and certainly my customers will always be something I cherish personally and professionally. As I take on the next chapter in an industry I have been proud to be a part of, I look forward to new challenges and experiences.”
No successor was announced by Neiman’s. The company is seeking a new chief merchant in the aftermath of the departure last week of Jim Gold, another Neiman’s veteran. It’s to be determined whether a new merchant also fills the role of fashion director.