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Although difficult to imagine, Barneys New York was a discount menswear emporium for over 60 years. It had been repositioned as an upscale retailer when Neil joined its creative team in the 80s; however, shoppers still had antiquated notions of the store. Barneys would either have to undergo an image revamp or suffer the consequences of a muddled brand identity.
Neil knew that this meant transformation from the ground up. During his 10-year reign, he helped turn Barneys into a culturally relevant and decadent shopping destination. This included expanding the inventory, modernizing signage and launching groundbreaking campaigns that featured the work of newcomer Steven Miesel and relative unknowns Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.
The establishment of a womenswear business alone accounted for roughly one-third of the store’s $90 million sales of the following year. The reimagining and rebranding of its image literally transformed Barneys from a humdrum haberdashery into one of New York’s premier shopping destinations, revered by fashion lovers the world over.