Thursday 30 October 2014

It's no Secret why Irishwoman Margaret has been handed top job at Victoria's

Bairbre Power Fashion Editor

Published 02/07/2013 | 05:00

Margaret McDonald (left) with Louis Walsh and Jayne O'Keeffe
Kate Middleton,
Victoria’s Secrets model Karlie Kloss

IRISHWOMAN Margaret McDonald is the new retail 'Angel' for Victoria's Secret, the biggest lingerie brand in the US.

The Athy-born mother of two has worked for all the top high-street brands and has been appointed president of the lingerie brand, which, in its early days, was regarded as "more burlesque than Main Street".

However, it has made lacy, sexy smalls into a billion-dollar business, which the Irishwoman will now take the reins of.

Victoria's Secret recorded sales of $6.12bn (€4.69bn) in 2012 and is world-famous for its lingerie catalogue, beauty products and 'runway angel' supermodels.

Margaret, who started off her career as a trainee buyer in Penneys, is moving to Columbus, Ohio, with her Irish husband Mark Kelly and their two young daughters.

The brand boasts 10 supermodels as its Angels, including Miranda Kerr (inset top) and Barbara Pavlin.

Margaret has built up career mileage, working as a student at Brown Thomas in Dublin and Saks of Fifth Avenue, before becoming European vice-president at Banana Republic, vice-president at Gap Inc and head of buying at Marks and Spencer.

However, it is Margaret's incredible eye for detail that sets her apart in an industry struggling worldwide with recessionary retail behaviour. The sassy Irishwoman recognised the impeccable style credentials of a certain royal girlfriend and, as CEO of LK Bennett, she fast-tracked new designs and products to the stylish Kate Middleton.

It was a fashion pairing made in heaven, and for fashion horses like Kate and sister Pippa, LK Bennett became their go-to brand, sparking sell-outs when they were spotted in styles like the 'Sledge' nude patent court shoe.

Margaret had moved to Coast as MD by the time a retail frenzy came for LK Bennett when Kate stepped out in its 'Maddox' black patent/raffia wedge the day after the royal wedding.

Margaret's instinct had been right and had paid off royally.

Victoria's Secret will have been impressed by the Irishwoman's capacity to anticipate what women want and deliver.

During her tenure as MD of the occasion-wear brand Coast for the last three years, the company expanded its customer profile in Australia and the Middle East.

Victoria's Secret is an iconic lingerie retailer owned by Limited Brands and now has 1,000 stores worldwide. Irish women have bought its products online for years and retail opportunities are now closer to home after the company launched in the UK last year.

Notoriously private, Margaret has not commented on her career move and she won't be in London tomorrow as Coast rolls out its new Autumn/Winter 2013 collection.

Irish Independent

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