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Marina Larroudé, Fashion Director, Barneys New York Interview

BY MARC KARIMZADEH – Editorial Director, CFDA

Marina Larroudé is no stranger to fashion. Barneys New York’s new fashion director has been a fashion week presence for over a decade – first as an editor for Style.com, where she was discovered by the legendary Candy Pratts Price, and then at Teen Vogue. Many will also know her as a street style favorite with a proclivity for color and print that makes a chic and joyful style statement. We caught up with the Barneys executive about her native Brazil, the fashion industry and working at Barneys – “that dream job I always wanted.”

Marina Larroudé

Marina Larroudé

Marina, tell us about your background.
I am from a small town in Brazil called Araçatuba. In my teens, I moved to Sao Paulo to study Communications at FAAP. Back then, I was already in love with fashion but I didn’t want to become a designer, so I never considered a fashion graduate program. While in college, I took classes at night and worked at Brazilian Vogue as a market editor during the day. One of the highlights was working with Gisele for an entire issue dedicated to her. For two years, that was my life: all these fun shoots during the day and school at night. After college, I wanted to explore living abroad. I spent six months in Paris before moving to New York. I was dating my now-husband, who had started working in NYC. Long story short, we got married and never went back.

How has fashion played a role in your life?
I’ve loved fashion since I was a kid! I used to go to a shoe store with my grandma every Saturday to buy Melissas. I didn’t want toys, I wanted shoes at 6/7 years old. I used to buy this Brazilian magazine called Capricho; it’s similar to a Brazilian version of Teen Vogue, and I was obsessed with it. So I guess that says a lot about me.

What excites you most about your new role at Barneys?
The job is so diverse and dynamic that it is hard to pick one thing. That is what excites me the most, the opportunity to be constantly challenged. One moment I’m developing Barneys New York private label, the next I’m searching for new designers to bring into the fold, then selecting items to be shot for our mailer. The list goes on from there!

How has working for a luxury specialty store shifted your fashion perspective? Participating in business meetings and having an understanding of what sells and works best in the stores has been very interesting. That certainly has changed my perception of the industry. At the end of the day, a collection needs to sell.

How does your editorial background shape your approach at Barneys?
MARINA LARROUDÉ: [It] helps because I know the collections so well. I know when a product is a carry-over or when it’s new. That being said, when I’m at buying appointments, I’m drawn to the newness as a consumer would be. As an editor, I know what’s best from each designer, so my editorial background really helps when selecting product from various vendors.

Name your favorite item you bought at Barneys.
Once, I was visiting New York from Brazil. The minute I walked into Barneys, I saw this very chic woman wearing a wooden wedge sandal, and I fell in love. When I walked onto the shoe floor, I saw the sandals. They were red leather sandals from Prada. I spent all the money I had brought on the sandals, and I wore them until they fell apart.

Photo | Christos Karantzolas