Where Gap Should Look For Its Next Designer: In House?
News broke this morning that the Gap and longtime creative director Patrick Robinson (left) are parting ways. Robinson, an alum of Paco Rabanne, Perry Ellis, and Anne Klein, was brought in in 2007 to revamp the retailer’s offerings and revive interest in the brand. Sales numbers suggest that mission didn’t quite succeed—even if, as Gap’s presentations showed, there were some hits. And so the label begins to search for a successor, making it the latest in long line of high-profile companies with a vacancy at the top.
But there’s one section of the company whose designs have been consistently strong: GapKids. As the mothers on our staff can attest, the children’s stores have an energy that’s been missing from the adult’s—and, some say, a keener eye on trends, even readily translatable adult trends, than you can find at Gap. The Stella McCartney GapKids collection famously found more than a few fans among moms and adults in the largest sizes; and while few are likely to fit into GapKids’ own colored jeans and tutu skirts, we know some who make runs for Saint James-style striped tees and denim jackets. “The kids department is fun,” said one insider we spoke to. “When you walk into Gap, it’s beige, white, black, taupe.”
Bringing some of the vitality of GapKids to the adult sector might, we think, be just what the retailer needs. And it seems to be taking a step in that direction. Women’s Wear Daily reports that Pam Wallack, head of the Gap Global Creative Center, has tapped Jennifer Giangualano, its SVP of kids and baby design, “to provide leadership and direction on adult design,” while the label hunts for Robinson’s replacement. Should they call off the search?