Before Matthew Mazzucca was appointed as Barneys’ creative director in March, he had been the brand’s director of design since 2011. Absorbed in inspired creative details, Mazzucca worked tirelessly to create an array of eye- catching and thought-provoking visuals for the brand, primarily for its window displays. Whitewaller caught up with Mazzucca to learn more on Barneys’ growing relationship between a digital and physical space, creating a dialogue with the public about culture, fashion, and beauty, and about the increased focus on raising advocacy for women by women.
WHITEWALLER: How would you describe your role as creative director?
MATTHEW MAZZUCCA: The role of the creative director has evolved in my time in the creative and visual field. Disciplines have become broader, and the need to understand how work and assets are applied and distributed to our customer has become more significant. We succeed on digital and in our physical space, but our goal now is to grow the relationship between the two.
WW: How did your previous role prepare you for this one?
MM: Working on windows was and is an incredible experience to create a dialogue with the public about culture, fashion, and beauty. We handle all production for our windows in-house, which is something we take great pride in. There is a constant learning curve and problem-solving threshold and this comes from education, partnership, and collaboration. We have many other activation areas, and this approach will be part of the new creative direction.
WW: Barneys is known for its unprecedented collaborations with top artists and designers. How would you describe the value of these projects? Are there any exciting upcoming collaborations we should keep our eyes open for?
MM: Currently, we are finalizing a collaboration with Louise Bourgeois and Commes des Garçons that will be a project created in parallel to Rei Kawakubo’s exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our approach is to work with an artist and provide new layers to their existing work.
WW: You recently had video displays in the Madison Avenue windows to support women’s empowerment—“We Will Be” with the accompanying #GirlPossible hashtag. Why was this important for you and the brand to do?
MM: The Barneys New York DNA is based in social activism. It is not a trend that we appropriate or choose to follow. In this case, Barneys has had a long-standing relationship with the MAKERS organization, and it made sense with the timing of the inauguration to use the interviews to speak to the public about a social issue. For the past few years, we have placed an increased focus on raising advocacy for women by women. We will always be a company that supports social activism, but we are also looking to have a balanced dialogue showing an inclusive perspective, not divisive.
WW: Tell us about how you are propelling the integration of Barneys’ use of digital technology.
MM: The impact that digital and technology has had on our visual program has been unmeasurable. 3-D scanning, autonomous devices, and rapid prototyping increases productivity and possibility. Our goal is to continue to refine our existing digital efforts that are immediately accessible for social messaging and daily applications. There are the smallest gestures in the now that we can refine without dreaming about things that don’t currently exist.
This interview was published in Whitewaller New York, out now.