NEW YORK — Young designers participating in the CFDA Fashion Incubator program had their day at Bloomingdale’s on Wednesday, when they toured the 59th Street flagship and mingled with the store’s top brass and fashion office executives over sliders and mac and cheese at Flip.
It was a sign that Bloomingdale’s wants to tighten ties to young and emerging designers and brands and work harder to sell more of what’s new and different.
It was also a clear indication that Tony Spring is raising his fashion profile since becoming the retailer’s chairman and chief executive officer in February, spending more time shopping the markets, attending fashion weeks, seeking exclusives and meeting designers.
“Part of the role of any new ceo, if you want to run a successful fashion retailer, is to get out to where the product is,” Spring told WWD. “The good news is that I love fashion. I love listening to designers talk about [what] they’re making, what fabrics they’re using. They really want buyers to be buyers and to really curate an assortment that’s right for our customers. We want strong partnerships, newness and exclusivity. There is an opportunity for us to be a more complete department store.”
The CFDA Fashion Incubator event was a first at Bloomingdale’s, initiated by Spring and Kevin Harter, the store’s men’s fashion director. Events like these, said Spring, are “expected and a necessity to be a credible fashion store.”
The incubator program provides inexpensive space for new designers at 209 West 38th Street, an educational program, a host of mentors such as industry veterans Andrew Rosen and Susan Sokol that counsel the designers in such areas as production, merchandising, styling, product and financing, and networking opportunities. It’s a two-year program subsidizing the designers.
“The CFDA gives us a platform to discover new talent and really engage with designers personally,” said Brooke Jaffe, operating vice president and women’s ready-to-wear fashion director. “The key to our success is constantly looking for new talent. Our customer is driven by newness.”
“Bloomingdale’s was fast to pick us up — among the first,” said Misha Nonoo of the three-year-old advanced contemporary collection called Nonoo, sold on Bloomingdale’s fourth floor. “We’ve got two racks, mannequins, my name is there — it’s a great presentation,” said Nonoo. “I hope we can sell more doors.”
At the incubators, “Aesthetically, we all have very different product,” said Kaelen Haworth, owner and creative director of Kaelen. Though she hasn’t yet landed her line in Bloomingdale’s, she hardly seemed discouraged. She sells Hudson’s Bay and specialty stores in North America and after touring the women’s floors of Bloomingdale’s, obviously had some ideas for the future. “It was really interesting to see what I need to do if I wanted to be on the fourth floor.”
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
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@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“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