When Bonwit Teller shuttered its Trump Tower store in 1990, it was seen by most as the final end to a depressing, prolonged demise that began with the controversial demolition of its historic flagship building several years prior to make room for the brassy tower that housed its final location.
While most of the legendary luxury chain's store's locations were closed, a few low-profile units remained as the company has since continued to change hands, and the New York store was briefly revived in a fictional way in the 1995 film, "Die Hard With A Vengeance" much like Gimbel's was magically brought back to life in "Elf". (Is this the fate of all retired department stores?)
The last real location was closed in 2000, and now the Avenue Brands subsidiary of Chicago based River West Brands, the current owner of the name, has announced that they are bringing Bonwit's back to New York, possibly before the end of the year. Another unit is set to follow in Los Angeles.
Will it be the elegant, luxe Bonwit Teller of memory, or a pale shadow of a once great retailer like
Henri Bendel some stores we could name? Avenue Brands CEO Andrei Najjar tells WWD, "The new Bonwit will continue the brand's legacy of the unique juxtaposition of timelessness and artistic progression."
Well, that's vague.
Although, at least he sounds like he is looking to honor the store's luxurious heritage and not turn it into some sort of Abercrombie & Fitch-type sportswear chain.
No word yet on exactly where Bonwit's signature violets are set to bloom, but if Avenue can pull off this resurrection, they will have surprised and impressed the entire fashion industry.
Bonwit Teller Returning With Stores in N.Y., L.A. (WWD)