EXPANSION UPDATE:

The Plywood Covering Barneys In Chelsea Is Coming Down
UPDATED
Opening Day Set

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The long awaited unveiling of the new Barneys Chelsea Flagship in its erstwhile men's store location is only days away.
Over the weekend, The Shophound happened to pass by and see the scaffolding covering the new storefront being taken down. As we reported earlier, the exterior of the store (pictured above) has been completely redesigned from the previous entrance to the old men's store that Loehmann's maintained while it inhabited the building. In its place is sleek plate glass, slabs of marble and, most notably, a lengthy steel awning that wraps around the 16th Street corner of the building (pictured below). Those plate glass windows appear to reveal a view directly into the store, so don't look for those famous display window to make a comeback on Seventh Avenue, but the store's logo has been embedded into the sidewalk just in front to the windows for a feeling of permanence (pictured below).
Opening day is expected to be sometime around this weekend to coincide with Women's Fashion Week beginning on Thursday. A look at the second and third story windows revealed racks of clothing waiting to be placed in their departments, so store staff is probably busy stocking the shelves at this very moment. Barneys' Spring advertising campaign entitled "Our Town" and photographed again by Bruce Weber pays tribute to New York's incomparable nightlife characters and features non-professional models in a reference of sorts to the store's more bohemian roots downtown. See a video of the campaign after the jump, and stay tuned for more opening news in the coming days.

UPDATE:
WWD is reporting that the official opening date for Barneys in Chelsea will be Monday February 15th. A "Friends and Family" preview will be held the day before on Sunday the 14th, though we don't really know if this means it's a strictly restricted VIP preview or simply a soft opening. Either way, you can start your countdown now.
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The Plywood Covering Barneys In Chelsea Is Coming Down
UPDATED
Opening Day Set" »


PLANNING AHEAD:

Nordstrom Already Expanding The New York Flagship It Hasn't Opened Yet

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You would think that 285,000 square feet over seven floors in a brand new, specially built skyscraper would be enough room for Nordstrom to launch it's long awaited Manhattan flagship, but the folks at the home office in Seattle are apparently feeling a little bit less confident about having enough space, now, so they have expanded —across the street.
WWD tells us that Nordstrom has taken a three level 43,000 square foot space at 3 Columbus Circle (pictured above) just across Broadway from the upcoming Nordstrom Tower for a second store. Rumors about the chain's interest in the space popped up about three months ago, but speculation was that it was to maximize the brand's presence with a flagship Nordstrom Rack store. If it seemed a bit unlikely that they would place an outlet unit so close to what is expected to be one of its crown jewel flagships, that's because it was. In fact the space will be an extension of the flagship as the home for certain departments relocated to make more room in the main store. While those departments have not yet been identified, speculation centers around shoes or menswear. While Nordstrom is known for its massive shoe departments, it is hard to imagine that it would move them across the street into a different building, making it difficult for sales staff to easily cross-sell footwear to complete apparel purchases. A men's department, however, can be and has been easily encapsulated in a separate, multi-level building as shown by Bergdorf Goodman's 25-year-old Men's store across Fifth Avenue from its original store and the freestanding men's store Saks Fifth Avenue is planning in the Financial District to complement the branch opening at Brookfield Place later this year. Nordstrom is also known for having one of the strongest men's businesses in the industry which could be maximized in New York City with its own storefront.
Or perhaps they haven't even decided yet. The additional space had included a Bank of America branch which the building's owner bought out to make the deal, and, since it is part of a building that is already built, unlike the very much under construction flagship store, Nordstrom has plenty of time to decide what to do with the space as well as create the store inside. Look for an announcement confirming the new space's use. . . eventually.

Nordstrom Lands Second Manhattan Location (WWD)


UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

The Barneys Chelsea Store Comes Into Focus Including A February Opening

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A fawning PR piece by David Kamp in next month's Vanity Fair has appeared online and revealed several details about the Barneys New York store returning to part of its previous home in Chelsea. Most importantly, the store is set to open sometime in February with an inaugural event recreating the "Decorated Denim" auction, one of the first major celebrity driven AIDS benefits staged in 1986 to celebrate the opening of the new Women's store around the corner on 17th Street. It featured Levi's Denim Jackets decorated by artists and designers like Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Paloma Picasso and Jean-Paul Gaultier modeled by Nell Campbell, Peter Allen, Andie MacDowell, Susan Sarandon, Iman and an up-and-coming singer named Madonna. The new version has been upgraded to motorcycle jackets decorated by artists such as Ugo Rondinone, Kim Gordon, Anicka Yi, Lisa Yuskavage, and Glenn Ligon with proceeds benefiting the non-profit art space White Columns as well as The Center, the West Village's LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street. 
Possibly, the event will have celebrities descending the new spiral staircase that is being constructed to connect all five shopping levels of the re-imagined store much as they did the original one that still exists in the Rubin Museum of Art inside the former Barneys women's store. An abstract rendering by architect Steven Harris (pictured below) shows a finished version of the main floor shown in the recent photo above. Apparently, the store will have a new design scheme different from the stark marble, steel and glass that current management installed on the main floor of the Madison Avenue flagship. Beyond the rendering, fewer details are available regarding the store's look, but the article does reveal its merchandising scheme which includes Personal Shopping suites on the fourth floor, a men's department and a "younger" edition of the Fred's restaurant on three, Women's apparel on two, Accessories for both men and women on the main floor and, as on Madison Avenue, cosmetics as the staircase's final destination on the lower level including an outpost of the Blind Barber joining its locations in the East Village and Williamsburg. Chelsea nostalgists will not find too much to directly recall the previous Barneys store on the site which comprises only what was once the traditional half of the original men's store. Certainly, that store's exhaustive men's suit department which once covered multiple floors will not be found re-created there, and it's unclear whether or not there will be a tailored clothing offering in the store at all. It is likely to be skewed toward more advanced "downtown" fashion, and the opening will launch with exclusive collections by Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Vêtements and Adidas Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto created just for the store. Even the familiar canvas awnings will be replaced with what is described as a sculptural stainless steel canopy on the building's redesigned façade. Windows will not be devoted to Simon Doonan's fanciful displays. He has long since been relegated to an "Ambassador" role. Instead, they will feature portraits photographed on New York City streets by Bruce Weber. Regardless of how one feels how the store has been updated as “a modern Barneys for a modern downtown New York,” in the words of CEO Mark Lee, the anticipation for the new store has been extreme, Now, it will only be a few more weeks until we can see it for ourselves.

Behind Barneys’ Cutting-Edge Return to Its Old Neighborhood By David Kamp (Vanity Fair)
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RENOVATION ANTICIPATION:

Bergdorf Goodman Raises Its Jewelry Game

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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.”

Bergdorf Goodman Unveils Updated Jewelry Salons (WWD)

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EXPANSION EXCITEMENT:

Saks Fifth Avenue's Downtown Men's Store Has An Address

250VeseyStAfter a casual announcement that it was in the works earlier this Fall, it now appears that Saks Fifth Avenue's freestanding Men's store will land at 250 Vesey Street (pictured at right), not far from the full-line store in Brookfield Place that is scheduled to open this Summer.
The New York Post reports that the retailer has taken the space that was thought to be allocated to French chef Joël Robuchon for a gourmet restaurant and market. Perhaps it was decided that one French culinary hall, Brookfield's Le District, was enough for the area. Saks will reportedly be taking 16,750 square-feet on the second floor of what was originally called 4 World Financial Center which includes all of Robuchon's space plus an additional 4,000 square feet. The space overlooks the Battery Park City marina which will be a nice view for the store currently expected to open in March of 2017. Included with the larger full-line Women's store and an upcoming Off 5th unit on the other side of the World Trade Center complex at One Liberty Plaza, Saks will have an impressive presence in the Financial District, a neighborhood whose potency as a major shopping destination still has yet to be proved.

Saks in, Chef Robuchon out in downtown stunner (NYPost)


OFF-PRICE ALERT:

The Bloomingdale's Outlet Will Open in 11 Days

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Upper West Siders have been anticipating the opening of New York City's first Bloomingdale's The Outlet Store, and the retailer's website confirms that the store will open its doors one week from this Saturday, November 21st. The Shophound peeked through that door a few days ago (pictured below) to discover that the store is currently in "finishing touches" mode sprucing up the former Urban Outfitters location which should quickly turn into "stocking the shelves" mode if all activity is on schedule. Passersby can now gauge progress through the diamond-shaped peepholes on the windows pictured above. Like its presumed competitor, Nordstrom Rack, the Bloomingdale's Outlet is expected to carry a smattering of merchandise culled from full-line store clearance, with a stronger focus on off-price goods from similar vendors to those one would find at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. As the neighborhood has lost two major off-pricers, Lehmann's and SYMS/Filene's Basement, in recent years, it will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Though it's the first to open within New York City, the store will be the fifteenth Outlet store in the Bloomingdale's chain, and given the current dominant business model of full-priced department store chains bolstered with a generous fleet of outlets, it wouldn't be unrealistic to expect to see more of them sooner rather than later. So far, we haven't heard about any opening day promotions yet, but we will be keeping our ears out for them and posting accordingly. In the meantime, let the countdown begin.
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CONSTRUCTION REPORT:

Barneys Will Have A Whole New Storefront In Chelsea

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We were all pretty excited to hear that Barneys New York will soon be re-inhabiting the location on Seventh Avenue in Chelsea where it became a world-renowned retailer during the 1980s. If you think, however that the new store will simply slide into its old home with minor renovations, then you don't know Barneys these days. While the exterior of the store has remained relatively intact while construction crews ripped out any trace of the former Lehmann's flagship that took over what was the larger part Barneys' original Men's Store, plywood scaffolding went up a few weeks ago to obscure what looks like a major redesign of the store's façade. The Shophound got a peek inside yesterday afternoon through door left carelessly ajar that shows that the entire ground floor of the store's frontage has been demolished including the grand entrance and the windows that once housed Simon Doonan's infamous Holiday displays. Rumors have the second floor exterior blown out as well, but, so far, that remains to be seen?
What will the new Barneys look like?
Chances are it will have a lot of glass, steel and slabs of marble like its Madison Avenue counterpart, so anyone hoping for a nostalgic feeling when the store finally reopens may have to adjust their expectations.
And about that opening date . . .
About a year ago we heard that the store was pushing it's projected opening forward to January of 2016, and while that was promising news at the time, it seems hard to believe that a new façade could be completed in three months, not to mention that the store's interior space still looks completely gutted.
We may have to cool our heels for just a little bit longer before Barneys once again graces Chelsea with its presence. 


THE WINDOW WATCHER:

Go Behind The Scenes Of Bergdorf Goodman's Spectacular "Crimson Peak" Windows

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.

UPDATE:
Click HERE for a slideshow of the full windows plus many production stills form the film that provided inspiration.


OFF-PRICE INVASION:

Is Nordstrom Planning A Rack Store Just A Block From Its Manhattan Flagship?

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Traditionally, prestigious department stores have made an effort to keep their outlet stores a safe distance away from their full-line flagships. After all, why confuse the issue for customers? It looks like Nordstrom may be busting that paradigm as The Real Deal is reporting that executives from the off-price Nordstrom Rack are eyeing a space at 3 Columbus Circle (pictured above) for a new location along with another on West 34th Street. That would put a Rack store less than a block away from the huge, full line flagship store that is being built at the bottom of a skyscraper at 225 West 57th Street. The Rack would be in the southeast corner of the building, replacing a Bank of America branch, and literally across Broadway from an entrance to the mother ship store that is expected to open in 2019. While the flagship will be a whopping seven floors, the proposed Rack store will be also be a sizable 40,ooo square feet over three levels, giving Nordstrom something of a mega-shopping headquarters that has never been seen among Manhattan's rarefied department stores where shopping neighborhoods have been strictly stratified, and outlets are more preferably sequestered in discount centers like Woodbury Commons. Outside of independent off-price chains like Century 21 and the defunct Lehmann's, Filene's Basement and Daffy's, Manhattan had traditionally been an outlet-free zone for its luxury department stores. Lately, however, that has been changing, in part thanks to Nordstrom which first entered New York City with a Rack location just off Union Square. Now a Bloomingdale's outlet is set to open later this season at 72nd Street and Broadway, and Saks Off 5th will open in the Financial District at 1 Liberty Plaza, just on the other side of the Word Trade Center complex from an upcoming full line store in Brookfield Place. Still, if this deal comes to fruition, Nordstrom will be the first one to have its own outlet located practically across the street from one of its largest flagship stores.

Nordstrom Rack eyeing 3 Columbus Circle space (The Real Deal)


RENOVATION ANTICIPATION:

Saks Fifth Avenue Announces Its Latest Flagship Makeover Plan

SFAflagshipAt this point, several announcements about major renovations for the enormous Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store have come and gone with little actual activity, often because top management has changed faster than they have been able to implement the ever more elaborate and expensive renewal projects. The most recent one came earlier this year when then president Marigay McKee presented plans which included a series of bi-level designer lifestyle boutiques that would ring the main floor and extend up to the second level creating what we could only imagine to be a construction nightmare that wouldn't actually solve the store's pressing merchandising problems. McKee's noisy but brief tenure as Saks president ended shortly after that announcement, and the plans were apparently scuttled.
Today, WWD reports that current Saks President Mark Metrick has announced a new 3-year $250 million renovation plan that is even more radical, shuffling floors and adding a lower concourse level and even a dramatic new elevator. Ordinarily we would simply sigh and say, "We'll believe it when we see it," but now that Saks appears to have settled more comfortably as a division of Canada's Hudson's Bay Company, we have a feeling that this plan, or at least parts of it, will stick. Here are some of the main points of what will ultimately be a startling shakeup of every floor in the store.

Handbags and Accessories will take over the entire main floor.
One of Saks' longtime merchandising struggles on Fifth Avenue has been an epic fight for space on the main floor of the original building between cosmetics and handbags. Despite the enormous amount of floor space, there has never been enough room for retail's two most profitable categories to coexist peacefully there along with jewelry, and it would appear that cosmetics has won, taking over almost all of the floor space, and pushing accessories to a series of in-store shops around the store's perimeter and an undersized multi-brand handbag section crammed into the escalator atrium. This forced handbag customers to not only shop in a cumbersome ring around the huge main floor, but also to have to contend with aggressive makeup reps while buying purses.
In a reversal, Accessories have now gained the upper hand, and will not only take over the front of the main floor, but also the Swiss Tower sections behind the escalators currently occupied by jewelry. That department will be divided between the new concourse level downstairs to be called "The Vault" for precious gems and watches and part of the tower section of the second floor which presumably will house semiprecious baubles. It's a big change that will not only make it easier to sell those high-margin accessories, but should also mollify some important luxury brands without their own in-store shops who could not have been happy with the puny accessory area around the escalator atrium. This means that...

Cosmetics will move to the second floor.
Competitors Bergdorf's and Barneys have previously solved space problems by creating expansive makeup deportments in luxuriously renovated basements, but Saks will twist that scheme by moving it upstairs instead for 53% more space. The second floor at Saks is currently dedicated to more separates-oriented women's designer collections (they used to call it Designer Sportswear), but the section in the front of the store hasn't seen a major renovation since the 1970s, which is when the dramatic wooden superstructure you see there now was installed. Presumably, it will finally be cleared out. How will Saks keep what must be one of the biggest cosmetics departments in the world humming without the main floor foot traffic? A new glass elevator with a 23-foot staircase spiraling around it as well as an additional escalator will be installed in the center of the main floor to ferry customers up to two and down to the new jewelry concourse. Having cosmetics on two will trade the main floor's hectic —and extremely loud— ambiance for a more relaxing environment that will encourage customers to buy more. It will also save store visitors from having to brave battalions of fragrance models on their way to the upper floors, which is a win for everybody

Women's apparel will shrink from four to three floors.
With cosmetics moving up, women's wear will lose an entire floor, but the entire women's departments are being re-imagined. No longer to be stratified by price between the second and fifth floors, women's departments will now be arranged by lifestyle, with varying price points and different designer collections on every floor between 3 and 5. In addition, a new department call "The Ballroom" will be created on the 9th floor devoted only to eveningwear including shoes, handbags and jewelry. Bridal will also be included on the floor as well.

While Men's will remain on 6 and 7, it too will be rearranged with more of a lifestyle point of view, and other departments will be tweaked and moved around. The plan is one of the most elaborate store renovation plans we have seen, but, assuming it is fully carried out, it will give Saks some long overdue changes and updates. Don't get too anxious to see the results, however. It is not projected to be completed until 2018. In the meantime, there will be much construction disrupting the store, but when it is finished, it should result in a state-of-the-art ready to do battle just as fierce competitor Nordstrom sails into town.

Master Plan for the Saks Flagship Breaks Convention (WWD)