Here at Barneys, we’ve always been all about embracing unbridled creativity. Whether in our renowned window displays, through our unprecedented collaborations with some of the world’s top artists and designers, or our holiday campaigns that make the season that much more merry, fresh ideas and innovative techniques have always had a home here. Those hallmarks of our brand are about to step even further into the spotlight as we announce the newest member of our senior leadership team, our new Creative Director and SVP, Matthew Mazzucca.
An already-familiar face around the office, Mazzucca joined the Barneys team in 2011 in the role of Director of Design. In the intervening years, he has led our visual department in building standout window displays and stunning in-store experiences, most recently in the role of Vice President of Visuals, and has also worked on our incredible holiday programs. With the new title of Creative Director/SVP, Matthew will add all creative direction and artistic initiatives to his list of responsibilities, including working on our print campaigns.
The Window recently chatted with Mazzucca about his new role and the vision he’s bringing to the table for the future of Barneys. Read on for some insight into his creative mind, and please join us in offering Matthew congratulations on the well-deserved title.
Having been at Barneys for several years, how does it feel to have your work acknowledged in such a major way with this new role?
Matthew Mazzucca: Over the course of my time at Barneys, we’ve redefined the visual program, but still recognize the heritage and impact the Barneys visual program has had on the culture of New York. When I arrived, the process had begun to look at new ways of utilizing outside talent alongside the talent already existing on our own team. By working with people of all different talent scopes—engineers, video and projection mapping artists, fabricators, life castings—we quickly learned that we would need to promote education and development in-house to grow our own talent force. I am proud of the team we have in place now and the growth that we have achieved as a department, and also of how their work has been implemented into our channels of communication. With my new role, I see an opportunity to continue that growth into our other creative channels by seeking the same kind of innovation. To have been given the encouragement and tools to succeed is truly an honor.
Can you share a bit about how this will be different from your previous role and what new responsibilities you’ll now oversee?
Prior to working at Barneys, I came from a set design background focused on advertising and editorial, and then transitioned into more installation work and collaborations with artists. My work on the visual program has been about utilizing that background to create experiences for our customers, both within our stores and across our windows and holiday programs. With everything this has taught me about translating pure creativity into a cohesive message and experience, I’ll be looking at our other departments and encouraging further partnerships and collaborations, creating an even more compelling story as told from Barneys’ point of view. The role of digital technology and its impact on how we experience commerce is already one thread of our DNA, but it will be further developed with regard to our visual and print media and holiday programs. The role it plays is already a familiar one in that context, but its use will be more extensive than it has been in the past.
What are you looking forward to most about the new role?
As much as Barneys collaborates and partners with outside talent, we do have an amazing multi-disciplinary group of individuals across all our departments. It’s a rare opportunity to have a team with these amazing capabilities, and I am excited to work with all divisions to continue to explore how we look at the brand and at our customer activations.
What vision do you have for the future of Barneys?
Our client will always push us for more—more exclusives, more service, and more customization—and we love to give it to them. I think the future of Barneys means that we have to look at the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘99% individual,’ meaning that a narrow point of view will not connect with everyone we service. Our clients are much more sophisticated than that, and Barneys needs to dig even deeper to know who our customers are now and who our future customer will be.
We also have so many amazing assets that can be further utilized—the digital program, which features our editorial site The Window, The Window in print, as well as our social media platforms. How we further connect these resources to the opportunity to educate our customers and to make it easier for them to purchase will be a main goal.
Aside from our existing diverse customer scope, the younger customer is very important to me in terms of how we recognize their needs and integrate them into these platforms. I’ll admit that, when I first started working here six years ago, I wasn’t a Barneys customer. I had no connection to the offerings and was intimidated by the idea of luxury brands, even though I spent the early part of my career working creatively with many of the brands Barneys carries. When I was hired, I was most excited about Barneys’ history of creativity, but since then, I’ve become a huge fan of everything we offer. It’s been an educational experience and has happened thanks to the buying teams and salespeople here. They are each specialists, and they understand the product and believe in what they do more than I’ve ever seen anywhere else. The insight our team offers is invaluable because fashion defines culture, and when we empower our customer with this education through all of our channels, they are more engaged with the DNA of our brand better able to integrate it within their own lives. My hope is to translate my own experience in a broader way to our audience.
For the in-store component, we can’t rely on short-term technological gimmicks to engage with our customer. We see a lot of technology in the market, but in the long term, we are looking to utilize technology that can recognize and understand our customer. Yes, the goal is to generate sales, but it is also to provide the customer with a fully immersive experience. There have been some discussions as to what that looks like, and we’ll be pursuing these activations within our doors once we identify which ones will best serve our clients in both the short and long term.