Is Simon Doonan’s New Job Actually A Promotion?

Simon Doonan has been given a promotion! Yay, Simon Doonan! Here’s the problem, though: we’re not sure that his workplace boost actually involves more prestige, responsibility or, well, work.

His old job, creative director of Barney’s New York, went to former W Magazine creative director Dennis Freedman yesterday. Freedman was the first W staffer to leave after the appointment of Stefano Tonchi as editor-in-chief last April. Doonan is now the retail chain’s creative ambassador-at-large, a title that sounds more like an early retirement with a few office hours than anything else.

But when you examine the actual job descriptions, the two men’s jobs don’t sound very different at all, just specific and less specific. For example, Doonan will be a media spokesman for the brand (and if you’ve ever seen an episode of Best Week Ever, you’ll know he’s been doing that for years), and will still contribute to the Barney’s window displays, the most visible part of the creative director job. He’ll also host events, work with all of the chain’s creative and communications departments — including its social media.

If that sounds a little vague, Freedman’s roles are much more defined. But they sort of sound like they’re in the purview of Doonan’s new job. Or do they? From WWD:

On Monday, the retailer tapped Dennis Freedman as creative director, with responsibility for the company’s overall creative direction, including the Co-op and barneys.com. He will spearhead all photographic and video images, graphic design, store design and image, and visual merchandising. Freedman will also serve as creative curator of the Barneys New York windows, working with various artists, designers and collaborators, including Simon Doonan.

Maybe it’s just that we have trouble seeing Doonan actually working for anyone or anything other than the glorification of glamour, but we can’t help but be a teensy bit apprehensive what the new Barney’s is going to look like — even if Freedman helped produce some really memorable issues of W.

Still, we guess any career move that gives Doonan more time to write another Eccentric Glamour is a good thing.

Barneys Taps Dennis Freedman [WWD (Subscription Required)]

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