New York's grand luxury department stores have always spared little expense to maintain their reputations as up-to-date showplaces, and at any given time, it's hard to find one of them that doesn't have at least a small corner here or there closed off to create a new department or renovate a designer shop-in-shop. Bergdorf Goodman has just announced a dizzying series of renovations and launches to be implemented over the next few months. While arch-rival Barneys New York is in the midst of a makeover of its Madison Avenue flagship that is radically altering its fundamental character, the upcoming changes at Bergdorf's have been carefully strategized to make both the men's and the women's store simply more Bergdorf-like. If all goes as planned, the result will be the store you know and love —only better. In an interview with WWD, the store's president Joshua Schulman enumerated a host of programs for both the Men's and Women's stores:
• The original Women's Store will be getting more space for handbags and —surprise— shoes! Chanel will be tripling its space on 1 with a more visible handbag boutique featuring a lavish "ultraluxe" design (pictured above). A shop for the newly resurgent Céline will also anchor the main floor accessories. Escalating the endless footwear wars, the sprawling designer shoe department on 2 will be further increased by 20 percent.
• The third floor will get new, expanded shops for Azzedine Alaïa, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs, while Balenciaga and Saint Laurent departments will be redesigned to reflect the respective visions of their new creative directors. Céline will also get more attention with its largest shop-in-shop anywhere.
• The Men's Store, which just unveiled an entirely new third floor and first floor shoe department last Fall, will give the once over to the rest of the store, possibly leaving only the central marble rotunda untouched. Changes will include a major boutique for French luxury brand Berluti. The second floor will be redone to include new shops for Ralph Lauren's Black and Purple Labels as well as Kiton and Cesare Attolini and anchors Ermenegildo Zegna and Brioni.
• A bar/café will be installed on the second floor near the rotunda.
• Men's luxury accessories will gain more space on the main floor with a new emphasis on leather goods, an category that has been underdeveloped in the past, including accessories for iPads and other electronics.
A yet-to-be-disclosed "special brand" will be opening its first U.S. shop-in-shop on the main floor.
To top it all off, the much talked about documentary "Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf Goodman" will be released in theaters in major U.S. cities on May 3. It's a lot of work all happening at once , but by the Fall shoppers will be able to appreciate the evolution in both stores.
Your move, Barneys.