NEW YORK — Bergdorf Goodman is defying convention.
In its first national magazine advertorial, which will hit in Vogue’s March issue, Bergdorf’s created a 16-page insert that revolves around models mixing and matching designer pieces from spring. While advertorials of this nature usually showcase head-to-toe looks by single designers, the retailer was interested in being more inspirational.
This story first appeared in the February 6, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We got eight models of varying ages and we had them put outfits together,” explained Robert Burke, Bergdorf’s vice president and senior fashion director. “We felt that models have become the definitive trendsetters. They see more product than any single person, save a handful of buyers. They’re exposed to everything, and the way they put themselves together is usually very eclectic. So ultimately the purpose is to show how they wardrobe themselves to reflect personal style.”
Given free rein, the models — who included Trish Goff and Audrey Marnay — assembled diverse ensembles by mixing designers and high-end and contemporary pieces, such as a Chanel jacket, a Vince T-shirt and a Valentino skirt. The genesis of the wardrobing concept became apparent to the Bergdorf’s fashion team during its trunk shows over the last year or so when younger shoppers began opting for individual pieces, such as a jacket and a blouse, as opposed to full-on head-to-toe designer looks.
“Designers always say that if the models don’t want or take the clothes at the end of show, then it’s a disaster,” said Burke. “There are no fashion rules for them. They aren’t caught up in thinking you have to wear certain things in a certain way.”
Yet the store was also eager to proffer the range of its fashion offerings to potential shoppers.
“It was important to illustrate the breadth of the store and the variety we have to offer and to express it in a Bergdorf’s sort of voice,” said Burke. “We respect and admire designers’ viewpoints, but wanted to show something that had ours, as well.”
Bergdorf’s extended this concept to its store windows for fashion week. But instead of models, the retailer picked 12 stylish social types, such as Amy Sacco, Helen Schifter and Charlotte Ronson. Each culled together outfits from different designers which best represented, much like the models, their personal style.