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.”
Fashion Week has never been a strong Sample Sale time, and this season is no exception. Still, like Friends reruns, there is always some sample sale running at any given moment.
This week's big draw is likely to be the BAUBLEBAR sale starting today at 260 Fifth Avenue. The popular accessory retailer is promising trinkets starting at a mere $10 through Sunday the 19th, so you almost can't go wrong.
Popular contemporary label MILLY will be having a mono-brand sale at Clothingline starting tomorrow the 16th for three days only. Its promised to be the biggest Milly sale ever featuring all product categories including apparel and handbags.
Jewelry of a more precious kind will be offered on Thursday the 17th when Soiffer Haskin opens a four-day IPPOLITA sale, As usual, this venue requests that you leave the kids at home.
Finally, on Saturday the 19th, sportswear mainstay EILEEN FISHER will have her fans flocking to the East Village just for the weekend to offer 50% off samples from the current Fall season. Follow the shoppers decked out in loose, layered tunics and leggings.
See our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for all details and locations as well as late-breaking events. Next week, make time for luxury lines from Sferra as well as debuts from Links of London and WP Lavori's stable of classic labels including Barracuta, Spiewak and BD Baggies.
In a sad bit if year-end new, SoHo stalwart Robert Lee Morris (pictured right among his designs) has closed his longtime West Broadway boutique after being a fixture in the neighborhood since the late 1970s. One can only presume that rent issues have prompted the longtime presence to vacate the shop after 20 years, but the innovative jewelry designer remains undaunted, promising, with a note on the door and a post on his Facebook page, that the hunt is on for a smaller, quieter "jewel box" location uptown. Though his bold fashion jewelry designs have been highly influential over the years, Morris has also been a force in elevating American fashion jewelry design. His first store, Artwear, also served as a showroom of sorts not only for his own work, but for other up and coming designers at the time like Ted Muehling and Cara Croninger among others, whose editorial credits were often written as being "for Artwear", emphasizing a more artisan as opposed to commercial point of view. After 1994, Morris struck out on his own when his brand exploded, helped along by high profile collaborations with Calvin Klein, Geoffrey Beene and Donna Karan to name a few. His designs, based on natural forms and made of anything from semi-precious minerals to oxidized metals to sterling silver and gold, have become iconic, so hopefully, New York won't be too long without a Robert Lee Morris store. We'll be keeping an eye out for a new location soon.
In today's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Alexandra Jacobs returns to the beat with a visit to jeweler David Yurman's new boutique on Prince Street in SoHo —his second in Manhattan— that shows what a difference a new location can make.
For Jacobs, as is likely true with many potential customers, Yurman had been dismissed as a yuppie jewelry designer churning out his signature gemstone studded silver and gold cable bracelets for the uptown set. It is pretty easy to make this assumption as those cable collection classics still get prime display case space in Yurman's counters at Saks and Bloomingdale's, but the designer's latest store showcases a different, more adventurous side of his work. There is an expanded display of the company's men's line, designed by the designer's heir apparent, his son Evan, but it is Yurman's work with less conventional materials that turns our shoppers' head,
While I could well imagine the meditating male machers of Manhattan 2014, stockpiling young Yurman’s chewy leather bangles and titanium tags in between their readings of D.T. Suzuki, Eckhart Tolle and The New York Post horoscope pages, I was inevitably more interested in loot for the gals, like the turquoise torsade necklace ($5,400), very Mermaid Parade, that lurked in staging areas with names straight from Jim Henson in fantasy mode: Labyrinth, Willow, etc.
So was just a simple contextual change all it took to revitalize David Yurman's fashion image? It's probably more complicated than that, but it seemed to be enough to change our shopper's perception, and certainly enough to get us to check out the new store.
Critical Shopper : At David Yurman’s Store, Science Lessons From a Jeweler By Alexandra Jacobs (NYTimes)
David Yurman 114 Prince Street,between Green & Wooster Streets, SoHo
To be perfectly honest, The Shophound doesn't need much of any kind of excuse to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but the museum has been particularly generous in inviting us to preview its upcoming exhibits this month. This week's visit concerned Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection the small but remarkable exhibition of Imperial Indian jewels from the collection originally formed by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani of Quatar. The exhibition features a carefully curated selection of pieces from the Mughal period in the 17th Century to contemporary pieces. More than just a collection of brooches and necklaces, it is a fascinating look into the lavish ornamentation of Indian court life, where it was the men rather than the women who were festooned with gemstones including daggers and swords, turban ornaments, anklets, nose rings and basically any other possible vehicle for wearing jewels. There are items passed down through generations of emperors as well as newer pieces, but take it as an opportunity to Marvel over some of the mind boggling treasures that can be produced from vast, dynastic wealth from a bygone era. After all, where else are you going to see a headpiece made from enormous diamonds linked together with hand wrought golden bands decorated with huge ruby drops for good measure? (Have a look at a few of the pieces in the gallery above) Put it on your list of things to catch at the Met. This month we have already been treated to the Leonard A. Lauder collection of Cubist masterpieces, Death Becomes Her at the Costume Institute and now this lavish display of Imperial Indian splendor. Block out an afternoon and head up to the Met. It will be time well spent.
Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection through January 25th, 2015 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, Upper East Side
In tomorrow's Thursday Styles, our Critical Shopper Alexandra Jacobs tells us about Aurelie Bidermann's new jewelry store in SoHo with an uncharacteristically emotional point of view. "Thoughts of my father, who died in early June, overwhelmed me," she writes upon visiting the store, and so the usual nit-picking seems far beside the point. She is more struck by the emotional significance of jewelry as a gift or a symbol of shared affection.
With nature-based forms in precious materials, Ms. Bidermann's jewels are subtly scaled and easy to wear, if not particularly inexpensive, but our shopper is less interested this week in what these baubles look like than what they will mean to whoever eventually winds up wearing them.
If we had to guess, we would have to pick David Yurman as America's biggest fine jewelry designer. At least he's the most prominent, and though his multi-level flagship makes an impressive statement on Madison Avenue, it's a little bit surprising that it is his only store in New York City. That's about to change, as the designer has agreed to open a second store in SoHo at 112 Prince Street. The New York Post reports that Karen Millen (pictured below), the current occupant, will move out at the end of this month to make way for Yurman's second Manhattan store. The 2,750-square-foot ground floor should make a well-sized store for the designer that also just happens to be nicely positioned to compete with Tiffany & Co. a few doors around the corner on Greene Street. Yurman should be a good fit for SoHo with a product line that ranges from lavish gemstone studded creations to his somewhat less pricey signature sterling silver cable collection as well as an ever expanding range of watches. There is something for everyone there. The only question is what took him so long? It's likely that he was simply waiting for a perfect location that's also within spitting distance of Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Apple and a Michael Kors store that's about to upgraded from a moderate lifestyle concept to a top-of-the-line Collection store. Bet on the Yurman store being ready for Holiday shopping later this year.
Last Saturday, Cartier shut down its storied Fifth Avenue Flagship for extensive renovations expected to last for two years including an entirely new main floor, enlargement of the penthouse, a dramatic new staircase and Fifth Avenue façade as well as a major overhaul and upgrade of its heating, lighting, ventilation and air conditioning systems. To take its place, the jeweler has taken over part of the GM building previously occupied by the CBS Morning Show, which has spent nearly a year undergoing its own renovation to create a suitable space for an Haute Joaillierie. The "temporary" store is expected to open next week, with the exact time frame for the moving of merchandise a closely guarded secret for obvious security reasons, but an article in The New York Times suggests that the jeweler may hang on to the space even after the flagship reopens. At 8,000 square feet, it will be the jeweler's biggest, even larger than the heritage store at Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street. It will boast extravagant 22 foot ceilings, and textured glass window treatments are already visible at the location. The interior is being created by the same team that designs Cartier's stores worldwide, so it seems that few expenses have been spared, and Emmanuel Perrin, president and CEO of Cartier International tells the Times that “it absolutely could become permanent.” That leaves us with the question of why the jewelry and watchmaker would need a second, permanent flagship sized store only 7 blocks from its original one, especially with another location over on Madison Avenue?
Location, location, location —as we have said before. While the ornate Italian Renaissance style mansion that has housed Cartier's main store for a decades is as hushed and elegant as one would expect a world class jeweler to be, it is a bit intimidating, with most passerby content to gawk at the opulent jewels in the windows without actually entering the store. By contrast, competitor Tiffany & Co.'s marble showplace at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue has remained a popular tourist destination, and with another, more modern feeling store just steps from FAO Schwarz and the Apple Store, which are two of the most visited retail establishments in the city, Cartier will be well positioned to capture a customer who may not have been comfortable wandering into the main flagship. Of course, the Times notes that Cartier's parent company Richemont could also convert the space for another of its luxury brands which include Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget and Montblanc, but it looks likely that New York will wind up with two Cartier flagships by the time they are finished.
You would think that with all the luxury business in New York City, that there would be room enough for all the illustrious brands in a flagship-sized watch store, but it turns out that some brands have more clout than others, and they will wield it when it suits them. Chanel is suing the city's largest watch seller, Tourneau over a breach of contract regarding an aborted Chanel watch boutique originally installed in Tourneau's multi-level "Time Machine" flagship store on East 57th Street. According to Chanel's suit, when Cartier officials, including its CEO Stanislas Chauveau De Quercize, visited the Tourneau store earlier this year they essentially pointed to Chanel's new in-store watch boutique and said "Either that goes or we do".
In a store like Bergdorf Goodman or Saks Fifth Avenue, a vendor like Chanel might have a certain amount of authority to make demands by virtue of the huge amount of business it generates, but in the luxury watch world, things are different. Chanel's popular and widely copied white ceramic sports watches are mere niche players compared to the giants like Rolex, Omega, Patek Phillipe and, most prominently Cartier. The folks at Tourneau apparently weighed their options and decided that whatever trouble might arise with Chanel couldn't possibly be as bad as losing the Cartier business. Now, Chanel, which no longer does business with Tourneau, is suing for $15 million, and its former boutique is reportedly serving as a Christmas tree display area. Business with Cartier is, presumably, continuing as usual now that the offending brand has been removed, but what could this mean for stores like Saks or Bergdorf's which have multiple agreements with competing luxury labels with in-store shops throughout their stores? Will Dior be able to insist that a new Balenciaga shop be banished from its floor? Will Saint Laurent insist that Céline be moved elsewhere, or even out the door? While Tourneau's little watch battle may seem relatively innocuous, the ramifications might have a rippling effect throughout multi-brand luxury stores.
Chanel Sues Watch Retailer Tourneau in Contract Dispute By Chris Dolmetsch (Bloomberg)
Better late than never is what one can say to the hot Parisian fashion label Carven (pictured above) and the fast growing accessory brand Miansai as they arrive in SoHo with less than two weeks before Christmas.
Finally ready for customers only about a week and a half ago, Carven's first New York boutique admittedly opened a little later than expected, but you may understand why once you see the inventively designed interior that makes the most of an unorthodox space. Previously home to the Curve boutique, which has decamped to NoHo, Carven's Mercer Street store has the odd configuration of having zero display windows and a long, narrow entryway to pass through before shoppers get into the boutique proper. It's a challenging layout, but the brand's creative director Guillaume Henry and his regular store design partner Eric Chevalier conquer it with unexpected elements like an undulating curtain of light bulbs overhead that guide customers into the store, which is almost entirely lined with mirrors. In a neighborhood filled with boutiques that often either mimic the accepted store design styles of the moment or simply replicate the institutionalized style of their designers for the umpteenth time, Carven's quirky, site-specific style is a refreshing surprise that also nicely complements the innovative materials in Henry's apparel designs.
A couple of blocks east, the #menswear favorite accessory line Miansai has also just debuted its own shop. Sometimes, we have to admit, it can be a bit bewildering to figure out why a cadre of influential men's editors and buyers will glom onto an innocuous item like Miansai's narrow cord bracelets with a silver fishhook clasp, but those insiders' support has helped to guide the Miami-based label through the multi-bracelet craze of recent seasons to the point where it is ready for its own outpost on a men's shopping friendly stretch of Crosby Street. The store includes unexpected elements like a tea-and-Kombucha bar and copper-topped counters mixed with SoHo signature like whitewashed, exposed brick walls.“I wanted it to feel very Scandinavian,” Miansai's young founder and creative director Michael Saiger tells WWD. “I wanted it to be homey and inviting. I didn’t want it to feel like a jewelry store.” Now with a more established retail presence, the label has introduced hats, watches and leather accessories for mens and women alike to broaden its reach, and nestled among complementary neighbors like Carson Street Clothiers, Aether, Saturdays Surf and Bonobos, Miansai couldn't be better positioned to continue to grow. Have a look at both stores in our gallery below.