Bruce Pask loves to explore fashion in its raw cultural surroundings and doesn’t see clothing in a vacuum as a compelling way to process fashion. He admits traveling inspires his ideas and embrace the idea that everything is information. So it’s no surprise that with his personal approach to his work and unique hands-on experience in fashion that he was recently promoted from men’s fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman’s to pulling double duty at Neiman Marcus. I sat down with Bruce to find out more about his role as men’s fashion director and we got some tips on how to dress this season.
MM: What does a fashion director do?
BP: My background is in editorial so I am pretty hands-on as far as the fashion goes. I was trained as a fashion editor and a stylist. I would put shoots together, conceptualize them, execute them on set, making sure everything looks the way it is supposed to look. Which later lead itself into celebrity shoots, and then celebrity dressing and red carpets, including doing the Oscars two years in a row. So it’s pretty applied the concept of fashion for me. I think where I differ from others who have the same job title is I think my connection to the actual clothing is pretty direct, where people that rose to this from the merchant side is a bit more conceptual.
MM: How do you approach your role in the relationship with other creatives?
BP: We are a team here, and it’s a tight team. In magazines, there was the editorial side and the business side of publishing. I grew up being trained to work hand in hand, and one side supports the other. We have a similar structure here at the store where the fashion office is a partner to the merchant. We work very very much as partners. I find it a very easy relationship to manage. Being a fashion director is not about being imperious. That way isn’t going to get anyone anywhere, it is a partnership it is a collaboration. I have grown up collaborating it’s a natural state for me.
Shoots bring many many people together cooperating to create an image is that is hopefully beautiful and successful. You have styling, photographer, photographer assistants, producers, hair and make-up, location producer; it’s so much — it’s always a team.
MM: How do you manage the responsibly as a fashion director with such a big team whom you rely on?
BP: I think when you are in a leadership role, you have to lead. Here at the store, it is shared with others. When I am on set I know what my responsibilities are working with the creative director or an art director. It’s always a respectful collaboration — there is never one person on set that is saying ‘this is how it’s gonna be’, I don’t think that ever works.
MM: What other projects do you touch or lead for the brand and retailer?
BP: I head up the men’s component of the magazine, from conceptualizing the fashion stories and our AD looks, working with the merchant team and selecting those for the season. I also work on generating our private label knitwear so I design that. We work with factories in Italy on that.
MM: When you attend a fashion week how do you share what you see to your team?
BP: I send out trend reports daily to the teams, along with a photo stream that I think are interesting that I want to make sure the teams are aware of. Everything is really connected even though we are one store, we are always referring each other to things, and as a fashion director, I want to make sure that when I see something directional I am letting the team know. That information doesn’t mean anything unless it is shared and discussed.
MM: Can you share some trends for men this season?
BP: Wider pants, get ready. The shapes are not as hard as they look, we will see this in trousers, first. Corduroy would be the one thing I would absolutely say go out and find one piece that works for you, be it a five-pocket jean or a sports jacket. Also a fine gauge turtleneck sweater it’s such a great option underneath sport jackets and suits and even underneath tuxedo jackets for an evening is such an easy thing that is underutilized by American men. As far footwear there is a huge ski influence this season. We are seeing a lot of technical clothing from brands like Fendi, Moncler, and Etro.