Nicole Fischelis

Nicole Fischelis, Macy’s Inc.‘s group vice president, creative director and global forecaster, has left her position after 14 years with the store, WWD has learned.

“I am leaving in a very peaceful, joyful way, for a new chapter in my life,” Fischelis told WWD on Wednesday. “I am going to be consulting. I have been very happy at Macy’s. I have great respect for who they are, in terms of the culture. This is an amicable departure on very good terms.”

Fischelis joined Macy’s in 2004 as vice president and fashion director for ready-to-wear, before being promoted to her last position. She built up Macy’s fashion office and eventually attained a wide sphere of influence, presenting her trend reports and advising Macy’s top merchants and buyers on brands, designers, colors, fabrics and street trends she discovered in her travels to different cities and showrooms in the U.S. and Europe. She covered women’s, men’s, kids’, accessories and home, reaching all of Macy’s categories of business, and visited showrooms and attended fashion shows in New York and Europe, as well as art fairs such as Miami Art Basel and the Venice Biennale.

Fischelis played a key role in the development of Macy’s now ongoing program of designer capsules for many years, as the link to such creative talents as Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Sui, Matthew Williamson and Giambattista Valli, who designed limited-time exclusive collections for Macy’s. The strategy has been a success at the retailer, despite the generally soft climate for selling fashion.

Fischelis’ expertise also touched Macy’s catalogues, windows and private brands such as INC, Alfani and Maison Jules. “I tried to create messages that would bring forth the DNA of the private brands and the lifestyles. Macy’s is really differentiating,” Fischelis said. “Some stores are indeed working very hard on exclusives, but no other department store has the amount of private brand business that Macy’s has.”

Fischelis was born in France and comes from a family of furriers. Early in her career, she worked in a buying office in Paris that represented stores such as Neiman Marcus, Marshall Field’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Holt Renfrew. She came to the U.S. in 1991 to work for Saks, where she stayed for 10 years and held the title of vice president and women’s fashion director. After Saks she joined Ferragamo as senior vice president of fashion worldwide.

Though Fischelis exudes a sophisticated, upmarket style of her own, she was immersed as much in the mainstream fashion markets as the designer milieu and was often quoted in the media on what’s hot and what’s selling. Considering her previous stints working at Saks and  Ferragamo, her appointment at Macy’s in 2004 seemed a surprising move. Macy’s had been seeking someone who would help the store become faster at seizing trends.

“I did arrive at Macy’s from the luxury market, but fashion is fashion. Price point is one thing, but fashion, inspiration, attitude and lifestyle is another,” Fischelis said.

In her next gig, Fischelis plans to work with young designers and brands. “There is so much talent — a new generation of designers — in America and Europe. They don’t get enough support.”

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