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Lane Crawford's Sarah Rutson, Vogue's Virginia Smith Reportedly Candidates to Replace Barneys Fashion Director Julie Gilhart

Lane Crawford's Sarah Rutson, Vogue's Virginia Smith Reportedly Candidates to Replace Barneys Fashion Director Julie Gilhart

>> It sounds like Barneys is searching for a fashion director replacement for Julie Gilhart, after all. The two top contenders CEO Mark Lee is said to be eyeing? Sarah Rutson, Lane Crawford's fashion director in Hong Kong, or Vogue's fashion market/accessories director Virginia Smith.

Rutson could not be reached for comment, and Smith forwarded calls to Vogue's press office, which declined comment; although, word is going around that Smith has turned down the job. If Smith does end up taking the position, however, Fashionista's Lauren Sherman points out that she will follow in a line of departures from the top of Vogue's masthead after Sally Singer and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff: "More than anything, it’s another indication that Anna Wintour’s time as editor-in-chief might be coming to an end sooner than later. As one person told me, 'It’s like she’s strategically placing all of her top people so that they’re better off when she’s gone.'"

As for Barneys' take on the Smith and Rutson candidate reports, a spokeswoman replied: “The search has begun and is ongoing. We intend to meet many candidates but no decisions have been made.” And while Simon Doonan remains in place at the retailer, his current contract reportedly expires in May 2011; the spokeswoman declined comment on that.

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