Most fashion followers understand – accessories can make or break an outfit.
No one knows that better than fashion guru Ana Maria Pimentel, recently appointed fashion director for women’s accessories at Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf Goodman. She decides for shoppers what this season’s “it” bag, shoe, and jewelry are—a job most women would covet.
When it comes to creating the perfect outfit, most people agree it’s all about the details. A great dress ruined on the red carpet when paired with the wrong shoes or jewelry. A beautiful suit or tux, trashed with the wrong tie.
Working with tastemaker and trend-spotter, Fashion Director Ken Downing, and the many Neiman and Bergdorf buyers, Pimentel’s new role is to create and nurture relationships with the tried and true classic brands as well as up-and-coming designers. The Dominican also scouts trends for the 42 iconic luxury stores and ultimately helps to define and synthesize the Neiman/Berdorf “List”—the must-haves for the store’s consumers.
From what shoes to invest in, to what jewelry, scarf, hat or bag is hot, Pimentel spends her days traveling to the stores and honing the style for customers for each season.
Pimentel began her career in fashion during her junior year of college. She’s a Wheaton grad in International Relations. She was an intern with a young Elle Magazine editor named Nina Garcia.
“She mentored me. She was and is my role model,” Pimentel says.
Pimentel’s first job was at Elle Magazine as an assistant in the fashion department. She eventually working her way up to senior accessories editor. She was primarily responsible for editing the shopping pages and scouting the market for new talent.
Next, Pimentel moved to the other side; working as media relations director for the famous jewelry house, Van Cleef & Arpels.
“I love jewelry and this job was a dream. I got to work in Paris in product development. It was fantastic,” Pimentel says.
Returning to editorial, Pimentel landed on the accessories team at Harper’s Bazaar magazine working as the accessories director in designer collections.
And in March of 2012, Pimentel transitioned into the retail world. She says her new role is the perfect fit for her.
“It’s the perfect symbiosis. Magazines are exploring E-commerce and retail sites have become more editorial,” she said. “This position gives me a chance to connect face-to-face with shoppers delivering our message and translating our trends, and that’s exciting for me.”
The last few months, Pimentel has been traveling to stores to report what women may want to have for Spring/Summer 2013.
Theme: Relaxed chic or casual couture—edgy with a casual elegance. A softer jacket or pant with an edgier shoe, creating what she’s calling the “fashion warrior”.
Shoes: Gladiator styles in everything from flats to lace up to the knee—shoes that pack a punch.
Bags: High-Impact—bold and bright; pops of orange. Pimentel says “orange is the new neutral and can be paired with blue or white.”
Clothing: Hues of soft cool blues—colors like sea foam, marine, and turquoise. Also, leather year-round.
Jewelry: Takes it to the face—lots of face-framing and large chunky pieces for the next few seasons.
When asked how Pimentel and the team finally decide where to guide consumers and what their “List” will be, she said fashion is “cyclical.”
“Fashion is often dictated by what the designers are inspired by,” she said. “…Fashion inspiration comes from many directions and we put all that together with our experience and hopefully we’re helpful to our shoppers.”
Rebekah Sager is a nationally published lifestyle and culture writer. She's a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. Follow Rebekah on Twitter @Rebekah_Sager.