NEW YORK -- Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store is going after a new customer with its renovated fifth-floor bridge and contemporary department.
The floor, with 23,000 square feet of selling space, was under construction for a year. It reopened at the end of April with polished white and gray marble and granite floors, white walls and a mixture of fluorescent and incandescent lighting that simulates daylight.
It is the last of the flagship's nine selling floors to undergo a major redesign, according to Larry Hill, Saks' senior vice president and general manager of the flagship.
"We really started by revamping the entire ready-to-wear allocation in the building," he said. "We made our second and third floors more pure designer and evening, we made the fourth floor career sportswear, the seventh floor is now dresses and bridge petites, and so forth."
The casual bridge market was the one area where Saks had been slow to respond "in terms of being a target area, a growth area," said Bill Lynch, director of merchandising for the flagship, "Now we're ready to take it on."
Hill added, "This [floor] assimilates all of our lifestyles. There's the couture customer buying jeans, the bridge customer buying her weekend wear. The store has become very easy for customers to read."
Designer casual bridge lines such as CK Calvin Klein, Company Ellen Tracy, Ralph by Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Adrienne Vittadini Sport form the core of the selling space, said Lynch.
"We've surrounded these designer collections with casual classifications -- swimwear, activewear, the casual shoe department," he said.
Other vendors -- several of them from Los Angeles -- include Max Studio, Eileen Fisher, C'est Duo, Susie Tompkins, Go Silk and Go Linen, Vivienne Tam, Tees Tease, Adrienne Vittadini, Laundry by Shelli Segal and David Dart. Most are not new to the store, said vice president and divisional merchandise manager Lynne Ronon.
"The resources that are new to this floor are more in the casual active area," said Ronon. "We had David Dart on the fourth floor, but our intention was always to move it up here, and the same with Max Studio."Ronon said that since the floor opened, sales in DKNY, CK Calvin Klein and Company have seen double-digit increases over plan for the year.
Saks' pick of hot trends will also be on the fifth floor, displayed in an area called the Atrium, near the escalators at the front of the department.
"We use the Atrium to express to our customer what's in," Lynch said. "Right now, dresses are a major growth area. We never would have had them on this floor before. We've had a white and silver shop in this area. Our next shop will feature shiny."
Ronon singled out the Los Angeles-based Cotton Stuff line, which includes activewear and casualwear, as one of the floor's hottest new resources.
"We have it exclusively, and it has been selling incredibly well," said Ronon. "It had been a men's resource, but we put them into the women's business. It's been phenomenal."
DKNY is another volume sales producer, said Lynch. The line has had sales increases of about 35 percent since the floor opened. He also said the OMO Norma Kamali active line sold 36 pieces in its first three days on the floor.
Ronon emphasized that there is no specific price range for the apparel. The least expensive line on the floor is Tees Tease, which specializes in fashion items and retails for around $30. The most expensive pieces will be in the leather area scheduled to open shortly, where outerwear will go as high as $600 or $700.
"We look at value," she said. "But we don't put ourselves into a box as far as dollars. It's more about attitude."
And while the floor plan seems to be fairly stable, so that shoppers will be able to locate their vendors week after week, Hill said there will probably be a shakeout period, adding, "I think there's still going to be some movement here until we settle in and say, 'This is the right spot for Vittadini,' for example."
“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