NEW YORK — With its antique marble fireplace, Art Deco Coromandel screens and tweed carpeting, the new Chanel boutique inside Bergdorf Goodman plays like a luxuriously appointed residence mirroring the brand’s styles and fabrics.
The 2,000-square-foot shop (including selling space, fitting rooms, work stations for associates and storage) is positioned in prime Bergdorf real estate by the elevators on the second floor housing European designers, has its own foyer, and windows with pearl-embroidered suede curtains overlooking the Pulitzer Fountain by The Plaza and Central Park.
It’s no coincidence the Chanel boutique is adjacent to the 400-square-foot personal shopping complex, where the store’s best designer clients receive the pampering they expect, particularly when considering Chanel’s intricate ready-to-wear, perhaps the $10,400 laser-cut leather jacket interwoven with silk and backed by tulle netting, or a $7,965 jacket-dress ensemble with metal sequins embedded in tulle. Jackets range from $3,000 to $6,000, with special woven jackets up to $8,000; dresses are in the $4,000 range, though knit dresses start at $1,500.
“We are the most important point of wholesale distribution for Chanel,” said Ginny Hershey-Lambert, executive vice president of merchandising at Bergdorf’s. So it’s logical the two companies, which have been in business together since 1978, would collaborate on creating a unique, Peter Marino-designed environment. According to Chanel and Bergdorf’s, it won’t be replicated anywhere else, at least anytime soon, and has a richness more akin to a freestanding Chanel flagship than a shop-in-shop.
The merchandising takes “an integrated approach,” Hershey-Lambert explained, meaning there’s a better balance of ready-to-wear, footwear and handbags in an environment that lets it all ‘‘breathe.” The previous shop, relatively tucked away on the same floor, “did not give the customer experience we wanted,” she added. And in the new setting, products are grouped by delivery and trend, whether it’s runway or some other aspect of the collection, and the buying is strategic. “Each division goes together into the market to buy specifically for clients in mind,” Hershey-Lambert said, resulting in a higher rate of outfitting and multiple sales.
“It was time to move. The business had outgrown the space,” said Barbara Cirkva, president of the fashion division of Chanel Inc. “In wholesaling, Bergdorf’s is our top point of sale. Saks Fifth Avenue in New York would be number two, followed by Neiman Marcus in San Francisco.” Cirkva said the shop’s “spacious, residential quality make people feel very comfortable.”
Typically in a department store, it’s difficult to create a compelling setting. But Bergdorf’s provided “enough space to showcase every piece and still have a very special shopping experience.…Now we can expose the knitwear, the more casual aspects, the knit dresses, sweaters and layering pieces. Very often, they never made it to the selling floor before.”
The Chanel boutique is 50 percent larger than its predecessor, with fitting rooms twice as large.
Unveiled earlier this month, the shop not only reflects the label’s strong track record at the store, but is another sign the luxury market is rebounding. Bergdorf’s will capitalize on the momentum by this year renovating 80 percent of the 25,000-square-foot European designer floor, including adding a Tom Ford women’s shop — which will be the first inside any New York store other than the Tom Ford boutique on Madison Avenue. Also, the shoe salon will be expanded to accommodate 2,400 stockkeeping units from the current 1,700, and three key designer shops will be renovated: Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Gucci. But it was the renovation of Chanel that “wagged” the other changes, Hershey-Lambert said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast