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Exclusive: Karen Millen appoints creative design director

Karen Millen has poached LK Bennett’s Tracey Stainer to fill the new role of creative design director, Drapers can reveal.

Stainer has been ready-to-wear product director at LK Bennett since December 2012. She joined from French Connection, where she was womenswear design director for 13 years. Other previous employers include Topshop/Topman and Nicole Farhi.

She will join Karen Millen in the spring.

The appointment comes six months after Karen Millen’s chief creative officer, Gemma Metheringham, left to rejoin her former employer, Next, as creative director of its Label business.

However, Stainer is not a direct replacement for Metheringham – Drapers understands Karen Millen has undergone a reorganisation under new chief executive Beth Butterwick, who joined from Bonmarché last August. The creative design director role is new to the business.

“Karen Millen is a design-led business with high-quality craftsmanship behind every piece we create, so we’re thrilled someone of Tracey’s calibre will be leading our design team as we focus on growing our global business and our understanding of local market needs,” said Butterwick.

Stainer will be replaced at LK Bennett by Cath Kidston’s head of fashion buying Sundari Gabriel, who is due to join in March.

Before joining Cath Kidston in October 2014, Gabriel held senior buying and product development positions at Jaeger, Monsoon and Aquascutum.

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