You Won’t Find Prada at Barneys this Spring

And the upheaval continues at Barneys New York as Mark Lee adjusts to his new position as CEO. Sluggish sales and mounting debt have led the former Gucci executive to make some radical changes at the cult department store. Among them: hiring a new creative director, calling for a redesign of the catalogs and advertising material, and most recently announcing a remodel of the women’s floor at the New York location.

But we’re less concerned about what he’s adding than what he’s subtracting. Saddened as we were to hear that Barneys’ fashion director and mainstay Julie Gilhart had been let go (just before the holidays), we’re even more shocked to find out that the retailer has dropped Prada women’s from the sales floor. (Not the shoes, mind you. There’s no arguing with that bottom line.)

The rift, hopefully temporary, comes as Lee’s rejected Prada’s request to implement a consignment model at the store, allowing Prada to lease space in which to sell their goods, freeing them from issues of image-control and slash-and-burn markdowns. What it means is one of New York’s most eccentric, fashion-forward women’s floors will be lacking that quirky subversion inherent in Prada. What other store will have the guts to showcase those fantastic banana-print tops come spring?

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