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Todd Oldham new captain of design at Old Navy


SAN FRANCISCO —Creating a $4,000 blouse? Check. Hosting “Top Design” on Bravo? Check. Twenty years of fashion and interior design experience? Another check for Todd Oldham, who sports a pretty powerful resume. Perhaps that’s why Gap Inc. has hired him as the new design creative director for Old Navy, effective Oct. 1.

Oldham will play a key role in developing the merchandise creative direction of Old Navy. By working with evp of product, Doug Howe, Old Navy expects that the creative team will generate a fashion viewpoint that sets the retailer apart from its competition.

The company is going full force to rejuvenate the brand, which began two months ago with the appointment of Glenn Murphy as the new ceo of Gap Inc.

“Todd’s successful career in fashion and design has distinguished him as an innovative creative thinker who also understands how to appeal to a broad audience,” announced Old Navy president Dawn Robertson. “He understands and appreciates Old Navy’s new positioning and fashion potential and will help elevate and evolve Old Navy.”

In the upcoming future, the Todd Oldham name will trickle down into merchandise sold exclusively at Old Navy stores, highlighting the catapulting trend of building celebrity/retailer relationships in the mass market. Oldham brushed elbows with a mass retailer before with his line of dorm room furnishings at Target in 2002 and 2003.

Most Old Navy stores welcome customers with shiny cement floors surrounded by wall installations with a few mannequins and resemble a slightly cleaned up warehouse.

“Old Navy has made progress, but, of course, there is more to be done,” said Greg Rossiter, spokesman for Gap Inc. “Todd Oldham’s focus will be on product first through creative innovation and inspiration. We believe Todd is a creative visionary. He brings a unique fashion pedigree from New York, Paris and Milan through popular culture and mass-market retailing.”

For Gap Inc’s sake, let’s hope Oldham’s success in the high-end market brings the right focus to guide the struggling retailer out of its shallow sales waters.

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