The main floor at Bergdorf Goodman will be a construction zone for a while as a major overhaul continues through next year, but the first phase of the revamp has been unveiled (mostly). Not only does it consolidate the store's somewhat scattered jewelry display into a coherent salon, but it aligns the store with its immediate neighbors like Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels as a major player among the city's purveyors of precious baubles. While the previous arrangement which interspersed the handbag and jewelry offerings made for an entertaining meander through the main floor, it wasn't the most efficient format for selling either category, and specifically lacked the kind of intimacy expected from major jewel purchasers. Consolidating jewelry into the 57th Street side of the floor is a more conventional arrangement but gives the department a new potency that will be emphasized with a redesigned entryway and façade on that side of the store that will actually eliminate the large display windows in favor of smaller windows more suited to jewelry. New plywood covering the ongoing construction (pictured below) shows the updated exterior design which will mimic 58th Street's main entrance. Despite its heavy traffic, the 57th street entryway was actually considered the store's "back door", but now that West 57th Street in being developed, for better or worse, into a "Millionaire's Row" of extravagant luxury towers, an upgrade seems to be in order.
But back inside, the new Jewel Salon quietly opened over this past weekend revealing a 1930's French Moderne-inspired interior featuring a pearl-gray based palette that will eventually extend throughout the main floor. Now set off from the bustle of the rest of the floor, the new salon has a more hushed ambiance, but still has its share of visual excitement with a pair of glittery, starburst chandeliers and paneled walls with beveled edges that recall gemstone cuts. Hexagonal display pieces also subtly allude to the shapes of the stones they contain. Another addition less apparent to the casually browsing customers is a private viewing room, a mainstay of the highest-end jewelers, for exceptional clients and special trunk show events.
The new salon is only the first element of the store's elaborate "2020 Vision" plan which will include more renovations throughout the store and eventually allow it to capture two more floors of selling space as executive offices and other behind-the-scenes facilities are moved into an adjacent building next door on 58th Street. The whole project is meant to position the store for the future. "Timelessness is a very important mantra for us will all of our design decisions," senior vice president, women’s fashion and store presentation director Linda Fargo tells WWD, "What we do today in my lifetime is not going to be touched again for a long time. With something like a main floor, my feeling is this is definitely going to have to last another 20 years.”
It's pretty rare for a premier luxury store like Bergdorf Goodman to participate in something as commercial as a promotional movie tie in, but director Guillermo del Toro's "Crimson Peak" has proved to be a welcome exception. Billed as a gothic romance, the film's lavish production design has been an inspiration to the store's visual team, a group that has demonstrated time and again that no concept is too complicated or ornate for them to take on. While the folks at Bergdorf's haven't yet posted crisp photos on the store's blog 5th at 58th, they have released a behind-the-scenes video (embedded above) that shows the team creating and constructing the film's takeover of the Fifth Avenue windows in all of their macabre splendor. The movie opens this Friday, but you have all week to stop by Bergdorf's to check out another in a series of spectacular windows.
Click HERE for a slideshow of the full windows plus many production stills form the film that provided inspiration.
MOVIN' ON UP:
Former JCPenney Spokesperson Ellen DeGeneres To Team Up With Bergdorf Goodman For Pop-Up Shops
Sometimes it takes a while to find the right business associates.
It was just a few years ago that Ellen DeGeneres became the face of a radical makeover of mass market department store JCPenney. As we recall, it didn't go too well for anyone involved, but since then, Ellen has forged a new merchandising path with a more upscale lifestyle brand, ED by Ellen that launched online earlier this year. In a belated celebration of the new brand, the comedian turned talk-show-host turned designer will make a decidedly more luxurious statement by opening at the city's most opulent retailer, Bergdorf Goodman.
From labor day until the end of September, ED by Ellen Decorative Home will have its own in-store shop in Bergdorf's home furnishings department on the 7th floor. It will be the first time that any of DeGeneres's merchandise will be available to see and purchase in-person in a retail setting. Apparel offerings from the label will be available online at BergdorfGoodman.com, though they don't appear to be scheduled for an in-store appearance at the moment. While Ellen's pared down and casual style, as well as more accessible price points, might seem more suited to store with a broader customer base like Lord & Taylor or even Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman president Josh Schulman told WWD that her "amazing sense of style" will resonate with Bergdorf customers, elaborating, “we do a tremendous business with brands with a simple aesthetic, a refined, clean aesthetic and we believe this will be something fun for them.” Schulman calls the specially curated offerings "the elevated expression" of the brand. Apparel items will range from a $45 T-shirt to a $1,495 hand-knit cashmere fisherman scarf, which seems priced well within Bergdorf's wheelhouse. In the home section, items will include barware and ceramic tableware and a handwoven cashmere throw going for $3750 among other selections. While the pop-ups are currently slated to be a one-time event, an ongoing partnership has not been ruled out depending on customers' respone to the new brand.
Barneys wasn't the only store that unveiled its windows this week. Bergdorf Goodman also lifted the curtains on its Fifth Avenue windows which, this season, are devoted to the arts —all of them.
The Bergdorf's team, led by senior director of visual presentation David Hoey, decided to devote each of the windows to a major art form including literature, architecture, theater, painting, music, dance, sculpture and film. each window was designed separately out of its own set materials such as neon lights for the "Theater" window (pictured above), fabric, soft sculpture and needlework for "Literature" and nothing but paper and old blueprints for "Architecture". As always, the windows reveal incredible workmanship upon close inspection, drawing lingering crowds and making them pretty hard for folks like us to casually photograph. As they do every year, however, Bergdorf's has nearly all of them shot in detail on its own blog 5th/58th, which is the best place to see them if you can't get there in person.
Next week: Bloomingdale's and Saks unveil just before Thanksgiving.
Holiday Windows 2014: Inspired (5th/58th-Bergdorf Goodman)
THE WINDOW WATCHER:
Barneys' Baz-Dazzled Holiday Promotion To Debut On Thursday
Unveiling Dates For Lord & Taylor,
Saks & Bergdorf's
Unveiling Dates For Lord & Taylor,
Saks & Bergdorf's
Thanksgiving is kinda late-ish this year, which seems to have given New York's retailers license to unveil their Holiday windows as early as possible. Walk past Manhattan's big stores this week and see all the windows conspicuously shrouded as the visual teams furiously work to get those lights and tinsel trees in place. Barneys' highly publicized promotion with film director Baz Luhrmann is set to be unveiled tomorrow, just as the weather is finally expected to cool down to something reasonably appropriate for the Holiday season (it is currently 61˚F outside as we type this).
Barneys has a lot riding on the Luhrmann collaboration. It's Holiday promotions have hit sour notes for the past three years running which is particularly embarrassing for a store whose hilarious Holiday windows were once the talk of the town and one of the store's signature elements. This time, under Luhrmann's direction, the store will be going big and reintroducing some glitter and whimsy back into its newly super-serious minimalistic store. The Madison Avenue storefront will be covered with an elaborate façade (rendering pictured above), and, beyond just having animated displays, Luhrmann, is wife and creative partner Catherine Martin and designer Zaldy have been creating elaborate costumes for live performers who will appear in the windows and on the store's balconies throughout the season. Shoppers can look forward to ice skaters in the windows and a dancer/contortionist called Elphresh who will appear in a glittering gold romper. Weekends will bring the Queens of Night and Light appearing hourly on the store's second floor balconies in voluminous ballgowns to serenade the Madison Avenue crowds and more. We are cautiously optimistic that, after forays into celebrity, cartoons, ostentatious hip-hop-tinged special items and pretentious artsy-fartsy-ness, the folks currently running Barneys may have finally found their way back to the kind of sensibility that originally endeared New Yorkers to Barneys in the first place. If this Holiday promotion resonates with customers, maybe they will re-evaluate that "Taste! Luxury! Humor!" slogan they were so quick to dismiss.
Anyway, Barneys isn't the only store throwing itself a party tomorrow. Lord & Taylor, which is undergoing its own ongoing rejuvenation program, will be lighting up its windows on Thursday as well.
Bergdorf Goodman will be unveiling its windows, currently the city's most acclaimed, on Monday the 17th. The UNICEF Snowflake over the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street will also be lit simultaneously, and 10% of the evening's proceeds will be donated to the U.S. fund for UNICEF.
Saks Fifth Avenue is conservatively holding its Holiday window reveal back until Monday November 24. With new ownership and management, the store is also looking to make a splash, so say goodbye to those illuminated dancing snowflakes on the façade that the store has presented in the past seasons. This year, Saks is promising The Rockettes themselves at the unveiling as well as a display from Fireworks by Grucci. The windows will pay tribute to the Roaring '20s and include brand new high-tech projections and lighting schemes. The launch will be live-streamed at Saks.com.
Bloomingdale's will be celebrating its windows on Monday as well with a live performance from Broadway star Idina Menzel at 5 PM on the Beacon Court of the Bloomberg Building across 59th Street along with the cast of the Off-Broadway show Illuminate.
Plan to leave work early.
At this time of year, we here at The Shophound HQ can get immersed in keeping up with the ever-expanding plethora of sample sales that are going on right about now —so much so that we sometimes forget that the best shopping in the city is still often found in its unparalleled luxury department stores. Instead of running from one dusty showroom and sale facility to another, you can often maximize your shopping efficiency in the city's legendary retailers, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman, who have all taken second reductions this week. Our friends at the Madison Avenue Spy, who always have one keen eye focused on mid- and uptown shopping and sales, have made a handy chart telling us who is on sale right now and by how much.
Leave it to them to boil things down to the three stores that really matter in terms of designer shopping. The above three are the ones who tend to mark a price tag and stick with it —to a point— and also have the widest assortment of desirable designer labels. Bergdorf Goodman is on its second markdown at 60% Off for men's and women's apparel which is typically the final one. Women's shoes and handbags are at 50% Off, which could go down further, but may not.
Barneys is at 60% off in pretty much every department except children's (Do we care about children's? Maybe you do). Don't look for further reductions or an extra percentage off. Do not wait for the Warehouse Sale. They are not happening anymore. Any leftover merchandise will be shifted to the Warehouse Sale online store where extra promotional reductions will happen periodically, but usually without notice. It's also worth noting that it is the 21st century, and Barneys is still marking its sale tickets with red ballpoint pens like a neighborhood mom and pop shop. This can leave room for human error in either your or their favor, so make sure you double check those ticket prices before buying.
Over at Saks, reductions range from 50% to 60% off which is OK, but its seasoned sale shoppers know that this is just an interim reduction until the big consolidation final sale next month. Price tags will not be marked further, but there will be a sizable opportunity to take a hefty extra percentage off those tags when the time comes, bringing savings down to 70% Off or more.
While Bloomingdale's (not listed above) does carry some serious designer brands on certain floors, discounts tend to vary from day to day and special event sales add and subtract additional discounts at random. They are always worth a look on holiday weekends (July 4th coming up) which tend to be extra promotional, but it's good to know at what rate competitors are on reduction before you invest.
So there you have it. If you are sick of trotting from Sample Sale to Sample Sale, don't forget about our department stores. They have great deals right now and also, not insignificantly, private dressing rooms, convenient rest rooms, shipping services and reasonable return policies.
Where You'll Find the Best Deals (Madison Avenue Spy)
Here's a rumor that comes with a healthy helping of built-in skepticism. The New York Post is reporting that Neiman Marcus is negotiating for a flagship sized store that would open in 2018 in the upcoming Hudson Yards development being in the West 30's. This would fly in the face of the chain's longtime policy of opening branches around New York City in New Jersey and Westchester, but never within Manhattan as to not directly compete with or cannibalize the huge business generated by sibling store Bergdorf Goodman. Conversely, Bergdorf's has not expanded beyond its Men's and Women's stores at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue because any U.S. city with expansion potential would already have at least one Neiman Marcus store already thriving. Why change that now? Neiman Marcus Group has new owners who will be anxious for a return on their investment, and the luxury market in New York has grown to the point where some might be convinced that there's enough business for both stores. There are breathless real estate "sources" who are salivating at the prospect of a 200,000 square foot Neiman Marcus flagship anchoring the Hudson Yards complex whose retail component has yet to fully take shape. Also, Nordstom is set to open its first Manhattan store in 2018, at 57th Street and Broadway which would add even more retail action on Manhattan's western half. There's just one thing...
Location, location location.
Bergdorf issues aside, is Neiman Marcus the type of company that would risk opening a costly flagship sized store on 10th Avenue in the West 30s where there is currently nothing, and where there has never been any kind of retail district to speak of? Common wisdom would say no, but stranger things have been known to happen.
Of course, we have heard many times from real estate sources about confirmed deals like Nordstrom at the former Drake Hotel site, or Barneys in the Meatpacking district that never materialized, so one newspaper report doesn't not necessarily make a signed deal. If this does happen, however, it could mean big changes not only for Neiman Marcus but also Bergdorf's. If NMG is willing to bring Neiman's to Manhattan, then it also might be considering finally expanding Bergdorf's into other cities. Or not. Who knows? Stay tuned to see how, or even if, this story develops.
There are some things you can just rely on, and that is that the Holiday Windows on Bergdorf Goodman's Fifth Avenue storefront will be a lavish fantasy. This year the store stayed on form with five elaborate tableaux with theme, "Holidays On Ice". Of course, this makes us think of a long defunct figure skating show, but the conceit this year is actually representing frozen versions of holidays form the rest of the year, so we have frosty representations of Arbor Day, the Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and April Fool’s Day (pictured above). No, the image is not upside down, but the window is, because —April Fools! Smaller windows represent ever more holidays, and the best way to see them if you can't get down to the store is to check out Bergdorf's own blog where photographer Ricky Zehavi has dutifully documented them with more skill than we can —although we are planning to stop by after sunset soon to get some detail shots of our own. The flipped perspective is one of the store's Holiday window signatures, and BG fans will recognize other familiar elements. Our only criticism, and this is a mild one, is that there are perhaps too many of these recognizable touches in the windows, and the general aesthetic may run the risk of becoming a little bit too familiar over the years. This is a small quibble, however, Bergdorf's is still comfortably at the top of our Holiday Window list with little sign of slipping anytime soon.
Holiday Windows 2013: Holidays on Ice (5th at 58th/Bergdorf Goodman)
It made a big splash several years ago as a program collecting major brands like Apple, Gap, Giorgio Armani and Converse to create special products whose proceeds benefited The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It's a worthy cause, to be sure, and millions of dollars have been raised, but eventually the program lost its luster, and while Apple and other companies still participate, Gap, Armani and some of the other more glittery names seem to have drifted away. Other things have captured the public's attention in the meantime, but (RED) is about to get a jolt of publicity that will hopefully recharge its mission.
Next month, Sir Jonathan Paul Ive, KBE, better known as Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Design at Apple Inc., Marc Andrew Newson CBE, the renowned industrial designer and Paul David Hewson more popularly known as U2 frontman Bono have organized Jony and Marc's (RED) Auction, a sale of unique design objects at Sotheby's in Rockefeller Center that follows up on one held in 2008 that launched the charity program and raised over $40 million, one of the largest charity events in history. One-off items range from a rare, authentic Soviet "Zvezda" Cosmonaut space suit to one-of-a-kind 18K gold Apple Earpods to a white and red Steinway baby grand piano to a a custom Leica rangefinder camera designed by Ive and Newson, just to name a few. The items will go on official display at Sotheby's on November 18th until the auction on the 23rd —just in time for Holiday shopping— but right now through November 11th, highlights of the collection will be on display in the windows of Bergdorf Goodman's men's store, including the spacesuit, an Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni “Snoopy” lamp customized by the celebrated designers, a Star Wars storm trooper helmet signed by George Lucas that should ultimately make a wealthy fanboy very happy and other prized pieces. You can see images of the windows at Bergdorf's 5th/58th Blog, or just go see them for yourself, and expect to hear more about the event in the coming weeks.
Barneys isn't the only uptown store getting an overhaul.
Last Fall, Bergdorf Goodman's Men's Store debuted a completely redone third floor, but that wasn't the only big change in the works for the 23-year-old luxury emporium. A new shoe "library" appeared on the main floor shortly thereafter, and just this week, a whole bunch of new renovations, some bigger than others, were unveiled. The Shophound stopped by yesterday to check them out and compile a list of the changes you will find if you haven't visited the men's side of 58th and Fifth in a little while:
The Big News: A fully overhauled suit department on 2.
Though Bergdorf's suit offerings have evolved quite a bit since the store was launched in 1990, the actual room in which they were sold has barely been touched, until now. Mirroring the concept of their big rival a few blocks away on Madison Avenue, the store has effectively banished the "suit department" in favor of more boutique-like "lifestyle" presentations from their main tailored clothing resources. To that end, Ermenegildo Zegna has been moved from a disjointed space originally conceived as separate designer shops on the other side of the rotunda to its own home overlooking Fifth Avenue. Brioni gets a similar shop. There's a revamped formal section, and another room devoted to smaller, more exclusive brands like Kiton and Isaia whose offerings may not be broad enough for their own shop-in-shops.
Next up: he other side of the floor is mostly under wraps for what according to WWD will be a new Berluti shop and a combined home for Ralph Lauren'sBlack and Purple Label collections. Also, get ready for a bar in the rotunda to replace the well-liked but space hogging restaurant that was pushed out of the third floor.
Bonus: The "Down" escalator connecting the second and third floors has magically re-appeared!
In Other News: Smaller tweaks and rearrangements on the main floor.
Walk through the Fifth Avenue entrance and notice the absence of the cluttery Ralph Lauren multi-label shop on your right. Thankfully, it has been replaced with a newly expanded leathergoods and accessory section that tells you that the men's bag (do not under any circumstances call it a murse) is here to stay. To your left, the dark space that Charvet lived in since the store's opening has been taken by a shop in shop for Brunello Cucinelli, a brand Bergdorf's has been instrumental in nurturing from a cashmere knitwear resource to a fully fledged soup-to-nuts lifestyle collection. Charvet, another of the store's longtime, key brands, had been relocated to a new, expanded home adjacent to the rest of the furnishings on the other side of the rotunda, which makes more sense anyway.
Next up: The first Goyard men's shop outside of Paris and a separate Berluti shoe shop as well as a design refresh for the rest of the furnishings area.Perhaps the biggest development for the Men's store over the years is the lack of concern about opening price points. Defying any larger economic logic, both the Men's and the Women's stores have always been strongest at the very top of the luxury market, and while the stores can feel like a maximum luxury overload, it's always good to know what the right things to buy might be when you win Lotto. In contrast to the slash-and-burn overhaul of Barneys' Madison Avenue flagship, Bergdorf's isn't trying to change its inherent character as a store. It knows exactly what it is, it's just making itself even better.