our loss, their gain
Ken Downing, longtime former fashion director of Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, has been named the new creative director for Halston.
According to a July 21 release, Downing will oversee the evolution of the American luxury fashion brand and will serve as its public face and voice.
Among his responsibilities will be hosting Halston livestream sessions online with media company Xcel Brands, one of the largest apparel and jewelry providers for interactive TV. According to the release, New York-based Xcel produces and distributes apparel and accessories under the Halston label, available at premium retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale’s, as well as HSN.
“Ken’s creative vision and expertise in brand building are unparalleled and his magnetic, warm personality has made him one of the most highly recognized and respected people in fashion,” says Robert W. D’Loren, chairman and chief executive officer of Xcel brands, in the release. “We’re extremely pleased to bring Ken on board to guide the creative vision of Halston as we solidify our leadership within the fast-growing retail livestreaming marketplace.”
Downing, a Dallas resident and fixture on the fashion and society scene in both Houston and Dallas, was a legendary senior vice president and fashion director for Neiman Marcus, where he “was credited with revitalizing the retailer’s voice by bringing a freshly relevant and global point of view to the brand,” the release says.
With a fearless approach to trend-forecasting, he often supplied daring style proclamations (for this publication and others around the world). He was known in Texas for forging close relationships with loyal customers and designers alike — all while “catapulting Neiman Marcus to a position of international fashion leadership, while driving unprecedented sales volumes both in-store and online,” the release acknowledges.
Downing also served as chief creative officer of Triple Five Group Worldwide, an international retail developer, for which he helped launch American Dream, a revolutionary 3.3 million square foot shopping, dining, and entertainment complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He joins Halston from Hearst’s HLC Commerce division, where he served as Chief Brand Officer, the release says.
“It’s an honor to re-envision and evolve the future of Halston, an iconic American luxury brand that has been a cultural touchstone for more than 50 years,” Downing said in a statement. “Live selling through livestreaming platforms will continue to be a key way for Halston to communicate and engage directly with customers and fans and the momentum Xcel is building through these channels makes this an incredibly exciting time to join the company.”
His tenure begins August 1.