COSTA MESA, Calif. — Seeking to tap into the hot contemporary market, Barneys Co-op is opening its second mall-based store on Thursday — at Orange County’s South Coast Plaza shopping center here — and that may be just the start.
Howard Socol, chairman and chief executive officer of Barneys New York, is in a California state of mind. He said the company is scouting locations to expand its Co-op format in the state.
“We are looking for more sites not just in Southern California, but in California [generally],” said Socol, who swooped into the store Tuesday after returning from Paris. “This trip is to look at other possible locations as well as to open South Coast.”
The retailer has looked for Co-op space at or near the Third Street Promenade shopping area in Santa Monica, said people familiar with real estate in Los Angeles.
Barneys, acquired by the Jones Apparel Group last November for $397.3 million, is on an expansion tear. The South Coast Plaza Co-op store is the second outpost of Barneys’ contemporary concept to open this year. Barneys launched a 7,000-square-foot Co-op in February at Phipps Plaza, a luxury mall in Atlanta’s Buckhead district. A Chicago outpost is to bow March 24 and a fourth is planned for fall, but a location has not been announced. Barneys has three freestanding Co-ops in New York and one in Miami Beach’s South Beach.
Socol, dressed in caramel-colored linen pants and a light blue button-down shirt, didn’t simply pop into the store for the requisite ceo tour. He spent the day with his senior staff and design team to work out placement of everything from beauty products and clothes to accessories.
So, what did he think of the space?
“I’m always concerned that it doesn’t look big enough,” Socol said of the 8,600-square-foot store, which houses women’s and men’s apparel. “But I’m very pleased with the look we have in the store. It’s understated. It’s us.”
The location, between Façonnable and Lacoste, has a loft-like New York vibe. The design is similar to other Co-ops, which all have a signature of industrial concrete floors, trapeze bars for clothes displays, counters with built-in, vintage-style refrigerator doors and artfully placed aqua mannequins.Maria LoBello, vice president of Co-op, described the store concept — with the input of other staff members who chimed in — as “edgy, chic and always downtown, even when we’re uptown.”
However, the merchandise at each store is adjusted to fit the region and customer, from brand-savvy teens to soccer moms who make a point of looking as good as their kids, she said.
“This location is different in the sense that we want to reflect the California lifestyle, but stay true to the Co-op concept,” LoBello said, noting that the South Beach store sells sexier, more revealing clothes and swimsuits than those offered at the California location.
In addition to lines such as Theory, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and Rebecca Taylor, the store is heavy on Los Angeles-based lines, including Loy and Ford, Joie, Juicy Couture, Splendid and Ella Moss. There are also a few Orange County lines like Trovata and Rolland Berry in the men’s wear section.
Socol said he anticipates that South Coast Plaza will generate high sales volume on a par with the Co-op on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, though he declined to give a figure.
“It’s one of the great malls in California and we’re excited to be going into great places with great fashion and great customers,” Socol said of South Coast Plaza, which is home to Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Ralph Lauren and Burberry, among others. “It’s a natural fit for us.”
“The two hottest businesses right now are the luxury and contemporary business,” Socol said. “And we’re excited that we have a mix of concepts, strong denim and vendors like Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture and other small innovators.”
While luxury labels are strongly represented at the center, the contemporary category is just beginning to grow and specialty retailer Ron Herman — Barneys’ upstairs neighbor — was among the first.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye