I have been living in quiet fear for the last two months. No, I’m not talking about bedbugs again. I’m talking about the executive shake-up at Barneys. In late November, new CEO Mark Lee ousted a pair of long-term womenswear executives, and rumor had it Creative Director Simon Doonan’s head might be the next to roll.
Simon Doonan! In case you’ve been living beneath a joyless and terribly unfashionable rock for the last several years, Simon Doonan is the most fabulous man alive. He provides fashion advice for girls who love fashion, but don’t take it too seriously. If the limits of appropriateness were an actual, tangible thing … like a padded wall of some kind … I’d imagine Simon Doonan pressing his back softly and mischievously against it, while watching the world pass before him with a smile on his face and a naughty glimmer in his eye.
Best of all, the man is a quote machine. Remember those rumors about then-New York State Governor David Patterson around this time last year? For weeks, the state teetered on the brink of a bombshell: David Patterson had a secret, and he wasn’t saying what it was. What is it, David Patterson?? Why won’t you tell us??? And thus burst onto the scene Simon Doonan, saying exactly what none of us realized we were, in fact, thinking:
When people don’t say what it is, one can’t help but think it involves a tranny. It’s better to come out and tell everyone. If you have a scandal, put it out there. If you don’t, people are just going to think it involves a tranny. I should say ‘transgender’? A trans-person. When people are being super evasive about it, one can’t help thinking it involves a trans-person. Maybe I’m wrong. Just speculating.
So, I mean, in reality, I had nothing to fear because Simon Doonan is a man whom I have to believe will land on his feet regardless of what happens to him. And, to be honest, what’s happened to him doesn’t sit entirely comfortably with me: Barneys is calling it a “promotion,” but it sounds more like a removal of responsibility. He’ll act as Creative Ambassador At-Large, more or less serving as the public face of the company among customers and the media, with some amount of creative input behind closed doors. Perhaps this really is a genuine, strategic attempt by Barneys to take advantage of Simon’s greatest talents. Or maybe it’s the first step in an eventual exit from the company. I don’t know near enough to have anything approaching an educated opinion. I do know, however, that in the short-term, at least, there will be more Doonan; hopefully more Doonan than ever before!