Rickie De Sole, who has been Vogue.com's executive fashion director for the past two years, has joined Nordstrom as women's designer fashion and editorial director, the retailer said Tuesday in a blog post.
In the newly created role, De Sole is tasked with "bringing a heightened point of view to the merchandising offering to deliver against business goals and growth plans," the company said. She will also develop the women's designer editorial plan, create designer content and act as a spokesperson.
At Vogue, De Sole supported "business initiatives and content across digital, print and social platforms as well as editorial collaborations and e-commerce," per the post. Before that she served as fashion director at W Magazine, accessories director at Vogue and public relations manager at Prada.
Nordstrom wasn't alone in grappling with the massive downturn in clothing sales in 2020, but last year, as consumers refreshed their closets, the retailer didn't benefit quite as much as other department stores and specialty apparel retailers.
In its third quarter, Nordstrom's full-line sales rise paled compared to rivals like Dillard's and Macy's during comparable periods, at a time of robust retail sales, something not fully explained by the slow return of tourism and downtown office workers, according to GlobalData analysts.
That has had executives scrambling. Some moves, like adding more home goods and casual clothing to its offer, made sense to most observers. Others — its pivot to a "digital-first" platform in order to vastly expand its assortment and its rumored contemplation of a spinoff of its Rack off-price business — seem radical to some.
The hire of De Sole, however, fits squarely with Nordstrom's longtime position as a destination for fashion-minded consumers with money to spend, according to Thomai Serdari, professor of luxury marketing and branding at New York University's Stern School of Business. De Sole arrives "with an illustrious pedigree" and experience with three key consumer segments that also represent Nordstrom's target audiences: a Vogue-reading aspirational consumer; a more independent, trend-setting boundary-pushing high-end customer; and an upscale brand loyalist who follows niche labels, Serdari said.
"Moreover, this role is a step in a solid direction as Nordstrom attempts to unify its merchandising systems that are based on repeat retail models and its editorial/customer engagement initiatives that are becoming more important for millennials and Gen Zers," Serdari said by email. "This role will unify areas of commerce that have traditionally remained siloed and De Sole comes in with brand-side expertise as well as content generation and dynamic merchandising perspectives."