Now is the time for retailers to go the distance for their customers, and Bergdorf Goodman and Lanvin certainly went the extra mile Thursday night, turning what was essentially a trunk show into a grand Muhammad-and-the-mountain moment. As with any designer PA, the idea was to give clients a personal shopping experience. But rather than the usual in-store affair, Bergdorf brought in Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz to host a cocktail party and runway show at a private club housed in a stately white marble building on the northeast corner of 60th Street and Fifth Avenue, which, in a slightly Kubrickian twist, insisted up front that reporters not mention its name. An odd but not entirely inappropriate request; Lanvin is something of a fetish for the fashionable, after all.
This was a most proper occasion — jacket and tie required — held in a majestic room with soaring frescoed ceilings and ballroom chairs. “It feels very Parisian, doesn’t it?” said Elbaz, who was in town specifically for this event, his first of the sort with Bergdorf. “The idea was to have all of you in this beautiful room that is a little bit of Paris. But you open the window and the door and it’s New York. And it’s the best location because Bergdorf Goodman is just behind us.” With the intention of re-creating “the magic of a fashion show but in a more intimate way,” Elbaz plucked 38 runway looks, some styled with commercial pieces, as well as the rose-covered door frame from his Paris show.
If the familiar sight was redundant for the editors in attendance who saw the show in March, Elbaz didn’t mind. “It’s not for the journalists,” he said. “It’s for the clients.” The room was full of them — 100 clients and their guests — some of whom had traveled quite a way for the event. “Ruth, the personal shopper at Bergdorf, called to tell me about this,” said Nancy Gonzalez, who was in from Colombia to do double duty on Friday, when she hosted her own trunk show at Bergdorf and shopped Lanvin’s. And Elbaz did his best to make it worth Bergdorf’s best shoppers’ while, engaging them from the top of the runway with witty banter.
“We planned this event a year ago when the economy was booming. Remember that?” he queried before talking his audience through the clothes in an informative but humorous way. “All of this collection was cut on the bias,” Elbaz explained. “I ask my staff, ‘How does it feel when you wear it?’ and they say, ‘I feel that the coat is hugging me.’ I think that’s what we need in fashion.” It had the intimate ring of the presentations Elbaz holds for press and buyers during pre-collections. “It starts with fantastic, fabulous design,” said Bergdorf’s Linda Fargo. “But when you couple back with a designer who is able to connect with clients and sellers, it translates into a more dynamic and personal business. Alber brings the humanity to the business.”
While Bergdorf declined to disclose sales goals or results from the actual shopping event held in-store on Friday, it was obviously banking on Elbaz’s charming delivery. Among the best sellers were a black, stretch wool sheath with a shoulder puff, and a sleeveless stretch wool dress with a hip tuck, in beige and navy, both for $2,835. “It’s everything,” said Bergdorf president and chief executive officer Jim Gold when asked how such face time pays off. “It’s so important that people understand why these clothes are what they are, why they’re priced the way they are.” In other words, Lanvin’s not cheap, and now more than ever women need incentive to spend, a notion Elbaz acknowledged during his presentation. “Everyone is asking, ‘Do women need a 3,000 euro dress? Is it politically correct?’ ” Maybe not. But as Elbaz said, “The idea here is to bring back the pleasure of shopping.”
@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