The walls have come down at Saks Fifth Avenue’s fragrance department.
The department store has cleared 2,600 square feet of space in its flagship for an open-floor concept populated by branded fragrance boutiques. The expansive space — set apart by a white, mosaic marble floor — is the first thing shoppers see as they enter the store from Fifth Avenue.
“We’ve opened it up and made it more engaging and added special services and objects,” said Deborah Walters, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for cosmetics, fragrances and intimates at Saks. “It’s really the return to the art of fragrance.”
Gone are the tall, cherry-wood backdrops and traditional display counters. Saks has replaced them with customized fixtures — punctuated with sleek visuals and videos — designed to allow shoppers to seamlessly weave throughout the space and converse with sales associates. “They can actually, touch and feel and interact,” said Walters.
It’s the latest major overhaul on Saks’ beauty floor, and it comes after the retailer has revamped much of its beauty floor over the last three to four years. The improvements have included adding alcoves for more personalized services to a number of cosmetics counters. The changes also come amid seismic shifts in ownership and top management. RELATED STORY: Saks to Open More Off-5ths >>
Each brand has worked to showcase its own point of view and signature look. For instance, black tassels hang from the drawers of the By Kilian concept; the glossy Chanel counter is comprised of black and gold, and at Acqua di Parma, its signature yellow boxes pop against dark wood fixtures.
Within the middle of the space is a row of designer scents housed on a steel shelf fixture. It’s populated by Marni, Gucci, Carven, Viktor & Rolf, Prada and Thierry Mugler among others.
New to the fragrance assortment at the flagship door is Le Labo, which specializes in scents that are handmade at the point of purchase and include a personalized label. Its boutique mirrors the modern apothecary look of the brand’s stand-alone stores. Rows of raw ingredients are displayed against a wall of white title, while others are kept in a small refrigerator below the counter. A mixing station is also on full view.
Le Labo had previously entered Saks’ Houston store, which houses a smaller-scale version of the new fragrance department that was completed in spring 2012.
Walters, who expects to add four to six brands to the space next year, said the concept is also teeming with exclusive services and products. The mirrored and glittering Bond No. 9 boutique is the only location that includes a Swarovski Bar, where customers can buy collectible perfumes or create made-to-order, blinged-out bottles that range from $500 to $1,000. Bond No. 9 also offers custom blending, which previously was only available at its stand-alone stores.
At Acqua di Parma, customers can opt to have leather atomizers monogrammed, and at the nearby Hermès boutique fragrance purchases are placed in the brand’s signature orange boxes and decorated with a ribbon that corresponds to each scent. On display within the expanded Hermès assortment are three groupings of “seasoned” ceramics used to sample scents. The ceramics previously were only found in France and Asia.
Saks opened the space to shoppers earlier this week, but will fete the new department with 10 days of in-store events — including personal appearances by many of the brand founders — beginning on Thursday. Penhaligon’s will kick things off with a (spoiler alert) flash-mob performance by the American Ballet Theatre. Ballerinas will dance in between the displays in a nod to Penhaligon’s latest ballet-inspired scent, Iris Prima.
The concept is flanked outside the new area by several other luxury brands, including the Jo Malone display, which Walters said will soon undergo a refresh as well, and Tom Ford, which is nestled in the larger Tom Ford Beauty counter.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)