Even three years after Ken Downing left his role as senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus, his name is still synonymous with the luxury retailer. Particularly in Dallas, where he fearlessly helped shape an even more stylish legacy for the 115-year-old brand. But Downing has been collecting one big project after another post his nearly 30-year tenure at Neimans, from a chief creative role at Triple Five Group (which manages the Mall of America) to a major creative branding position at Hearst. Now, Downing has announced his next notable venture: creative director of Halston.
As first reported on Women’s Wear Daily, Downing will take over the role on August 1, when he will have a hand in every aspect of Halston – and at a pivotal moment for the brand. The American fashion label that helped define the 1970s was recently purchased by media and consumer products company Xcel Brands Inc., which plans to bring Halston back into the modern spotlight. Excel is a frontrunner in the world of live streaming, where Downing will establish himself as the public face and voice of the brand.
“The key to all of this is to engage with customers, to entertain them, to delight them and to sell them product that they really want and they need to hear it from an authentic, credible voice,” Robert W. D’Loren, chairman and chief executive officer of Xcel, told WWD. “That is where Ken comes in.”
By enlisting the man who rose from fashion merchandising for Neiman Marcus to become the famous face behind its larger-than-life parties, Halston will be in capable — and deftly styled — hands.