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Former W Creative Director Dennis Freedman to Succeed Simon Doonan as Barneys Creative Director

>> Former W creative director Dennis Freedman, who left the magazine in March after almost 20 years, has been tapped to replace Simon Doonan as creative director at Barneys. He will start at the retailer on Jan 17.

Doonan, whose contract with the retailer is reported to be up in May, and who is rumored to have tense relations with Barneys new CEO Mark Lee, is moving into a new role as creative ambassador-at-large for the retailer, effective immediately. The change in Doonan's position, which the retailer's announcement release frames as a "promotion," will involve him continuing to be "a key media spokesperson for the company," a contributor to "special window projects," a host of "special events with customers and media," and a "roving ambassador with links to all creative and communication areas including social media."

In the statement, Doonan says: “This exciting evolution of my role at Barneys is brilliant. Change has always been integral to the strength and vibrancy of the Barneys brand. I am delighted to be part of this new chapter." And Lee adds: "Simon has been an intrinsic part of the Barneys DNA for close to 25 years. I am thrilled to work with him and to have him continue to bring his unique wit and multifaceted talents to Barneys in this new role of creative ambassador-at-large.”

Freeman, for his part, will be responsible for the "photographic and video images, graphic design, store design and image, and visual merchandising" of Barneys, Co-Op, and Barneys.com, according to the release. He will also engage artists, designers, and creative collaborators — including Doonan — to curate the Barneys New York windows.

Freeman, in the statement, says: "For decades Barneys New York has stood for creative innovation.  I am thrilled by the opportunity to creatively lead the company forward.  Starting from New York which is the most culturally dynamic city in the world, I will strive to incorporate modern creative energy into the Barneys brand in the years ahead." And Lee adds: "Dennis is a visionary and innovator with great experience and talent across the worlds of fashion, photography, art, design, and architecture. He will bring his tremendous eye and impeccable taste to lead the new creative direction of Barneys New York."

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