The female forces in the shoe industry have never been more powerful. Take a look at the women on this year’s Power 100 list who are changing the game.
Diane Sullivan, CEO, President and Chairman; Caleres Inc.
Back-to-back earnings misses in the first half of 2016 took a toll on Caleres. But Sullivan stuck to a tried-and-true playbook, rolling out buzzy ad campaigns for the brand portfolio and a fully stocked e-commerce site for Franco Sarto. Store openings accelerated for Sam Edelman, while Famous Footwear continued to bring in the lion’s share of revenues.
Kristina Blahnik, CEO, Manolo Blahnik
Blahnik helped oversee collaborations with two of fashion’s newest stars, Rihanna and Vetements. She spearheaded the opening of a shop in Selfridges in London and partnered with Bluebell for expansion in Asia.
Liz Rodbell, President; HBC Department Store Group
Rodbell continues to spearhead attention-grabbing initiatives at Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay. Most recently, she inked collaborations with Isaac Mizrahi and H by Halston and continues to pump up the exclusive mix.
Karen Katz, CEO and President; Neiman Marcus Group
Like other department stores, Neiman Marcus had a challenging year. For fiscal 2016, the store reported sales of $4.95 billion, a 3 percent year-over-year drop and a 4 percent comp decline. In terms of fashion, it garnered headlines for exclusively launching the runway collection by Rihanna and Puma.
Sandra Choi, CEO; Creative Director; Jimmy Choo
The Choo crew marked 20 years and marched forward with big plans for the future. The company, which saw a 9 percent sales rise in the first half, focused on growing men’s and fueling the business in Asia. The brand also continued to roll out a new store concept and devoted more resources to its burgeoning digital business.
Louise Camuto, Chief Creative Officer; Camuto Group
The firm bulked up this year, adding three footwear brands to the portfolio: Imagine Vince Camuto, 1.State Footwear and ED Ellen DeGeneres. For a digital push, the team acquired Sole Society and teamed up with First Insight. Plus, they partnered with Mercedes Castillo for contemporary shoes and accessories.
Debbie Ferrée, CEO; Vice Chairman & Chief Merchandising Officer; DSW Inc.
The team zeroed in on major growth initiatives, such as the launch of DSW Kids departments in stores and expansion into the Middle East. While comp-store sales disappointed in the first half, DSW is optimistic about a progressive omnichannel strategy.
Miuccia Prada, Designer & Co-CEO; Prada
Under Prada’s direction, the Italian label unveiled mixed-gender runway shows and new store concepts, including a reopening of the Plaza 66 store in Shanghai. The label also ramped up its e-commerce offering with ready-to-wear launches on Net-a-porter, Mr. Porter and My Theresa.
Mindy Grossman, CEO & Director; HSN Inc.
The shopping network premiered a footwear line with talk-show queen Wendy Williams and built on the success of its Vince Camuto business, adding the label’s apparel and handbags. Under Grossman, it also debuted Lucky Brand footwear. But it wasn’t all good news: A sharp decline in Q2 profits prompted the sale of two businesses, TravelSmith and Chasing Fireflies.
Susan Itzkowitz, President; Marc Fisher Footwear
Marc Fisher Footwear served up two big launches: The much-anticipated Kendall + Kylie line landed in stores in February, and Tretorn — a new license in the stable — rolled out this summer with retooled product and distribution.
Charlotte Olympia Dellal, Creative Director & Founder; Charlotte Olympia
Creative collaborations were fruitful for the brand, which celebrated five global partnerships across different catego- ries: Agent Provocateur, Havaianas, Mac Cosmetics, Bodyism Activewear and Barbie. At London Fashion Week, the designer made a spring ’17 splash with her Let’s Go Bananas collection presentation. A shop opened in Moscow this year, bringing the brand’s total to 11 stores.
Sophia Webster, Founder & Creative Director; Sophia Webster Ltd.
Webster’s star continues to rise with a big British Fashion Council/Vogue Fashion Fund win this year. The designer capitalized on that momentum by launching handbags, and opening the brand’s first flagship store on Mount Street in London’s Mayfair neighborhood. The e-commerce site was also renovated, and online business continues to double year-over-year.
Mandy Cabot, CEO & Founder; Dansko
After serving at the company’s helm since 1990, Cabot turned over the president role to veteran insider Jim Fox and named Tiss Dahan VP of marketing. The brand is staking a claim in men’s with the fall launch of casual comfort styles that include chukkas and athletic-inspired looks.
Isabel Marant, Owner & Designer; Isabel Marant
Isabel Marant once had the exclusivity of a label for chic French girls, but the designer continues to make her mark on global shoppers with a second store in New York, and new locations in Tokyo and Macau. Marant also tapped American model-of-the-moment and social media sensation Gigi Hadid to open her spring ’17 show.
Tabitha Simmons, Founder & Designer; Tabitha Simmons
After refocusing her business last year, with lower price points and product designed to drive sales, Simmons is working to grow the brand. At Paris Fashion Week, she presented embroidered linens, denim fabrications, crocheted lace and a wider variety of heel heights for spring ’17.
Rebecca Minkoff, Co-founder & Creative Director; Rebecca Minkoff
The designer continues to capture the attention of the millennial consumer. At Rebecca Minkoff’s see-now, buy-now runway show at New York Fashion Week in September — staged on the street in front of her Soho store — she used augmented reality to allow customers around the world to see how the collection would fit.
Marcia Kilgore, Founder; FitFlop
The launch of a full-blown sneaker collection, rounding out its iconic sandal offering, contributed to the solid sales. And it didn’t hurt business any that supermodel sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid walked the runway at Anna Sui’s fall show in FitFlop platforms. Plus, the brand just signed Uma Thurman as its new spokeswoman.
Cathy Taylor, CEO & President; Millennial Brands
The executive is continuing to shape her newly formed company, launched last year. Under new design direction, Pour La Victoire found strong shelf space in top accounts such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, while Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn sits at Nordstrom and DSW. Core brand Rocket Dog is playing up what it does well: casual styles.