Is there opportunity in the current economic disaster? Saks Fifth Avenue executives are counting on it, at least when it comes to the contemporary arena. Last month, the retailer unveiled a fresh approach to the category, including a redesign of a 3,600-square-foot section of its contemporary department, featuring 15 of Saks’ newest labels.
“We want to, as Saks should, highlight new talent,” said Joseph Boitano, senior vice president, general merchandising manager. “In order to highlight it, we’re presenting it in a new environment.”
Selecting the featured collections couldn’t have been easy, considering the store’s current philosophy — stated in January by Ron Frasch, Saks’ president and chief merchandising officer — of making “the hard decisions on a brand-by-brand basis. Those brands that are nice to have can’t exist in the new environment.”
“These designers have the potential to become its future core vendors, moving out of this space allowing us to highlight new emerging designers,” he said. “We chose them not because of a common aesthetic, but rather that each have their own distinctive voice. Whether it be the quirky femininity of Rachel Comey or the urbanity of Helmut Lang, in the new space each brand is able to present a clear and strong message, which then allows our customers to be their own editors, interpreting the trends for [their] lifestyle.”
Among the resources around which Saks will develop its contemporary identity, Rag & Bone, Elizabeth and James and Helmut Lang were new to the store last fall. Vena Cava, Gryphon and Hanii Y debut for spring. While the 15 are also available at three other Saks locations, with five more slated to follow for fall ’09, the environmental concept is unique to the Fifth Avenue flagship.
@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
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@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