By  on January 27, 2005

NEW YORK — From the thousands of bulbs planted annually on its grounds to its exclusive tenant mix, the Americana Manhasset for decades has been meticulous about projecting an elegant image.

Now the Long Island shopping center, among the nation’s toniest, is taking the imaging one step further by injecting its own creative spin on its triannual catalogues.

The spring book has 44 pages, a “Now, Voyager” theme to evoke the Thirties and traveling and is perhaps the center’s moodiest catalogue to date. It has no ads, cost about $600,000 to create, print and distribute, and will be mailed in about three weeks, according to officials from the center.

Deirdre Costa Major, senior vice president and creative director of Americana Manhasset, characterized the effort as “a partnership” between the center and its tenants, including Barneys New York, Christian Dior, Gucci and about 30 other designer brands. The images were photographed by the Laspata/DeCaro advertising agency in Building One at Newark Liberty International Airport, an Art Deco landmarked structure that’s vacant. Models Heather Marks, Caroline Winberg and Louise Pederson are in the shoot, and the set design was by Mary Howard Studio.

“It’s all shot with an editorial feel,” said Andrea Sanders, Americana Manhasset’s director of branding and communications. “There’s a consistent aesthetic.”

In recent years, other shopping centers have begun distributing catalogues in similar branding efforts, but generally, the standards of photography and fashion content are not as high as those of Americana Manhasset’s. The others often don’t have an editorial theme to create a consistency from page to page through the catalogue.

The Americana Manhasset, located on the intersection of Searingtown Road and Northern Boulevard, has been distributing catalogues since 1993. The center always partnered with W Magazine (sister publication to WWD) on the creation and distribution. However, that changed with the holiday 2004 edition, when the center first teamed with Laspata/DeCara on the project. Currently, Americana Manhasset has three books a year; fall, spring and holiday. W Magazine will still do one a year instead of all three, Costa Major said.

The spring book, at 10 inches by 13 inches, is about an inch wider and about a half-inch taller than the holiday book, which was themed “A North Shore Story.” The cover for spring is white, with the Americana Manhasset logo and the title “Now, Voyager,” drawn from the Bette Davis film.For prior catalogues, “we used the creative from the advertisers. It was a real mix, and the editorial had limitations. We couldn’t brand ourselves as effectively,” Costa Major said.  

The upcoming spring catalogue will be inserted with W Magazine’s March issue in the New York metro area and Palm Beach in addition to its mailings, for a total distribution of 130,000. There also will be a four-page montage of the catalogue inserted in the Feb. 20 edition of The New York Times’ T magazine for the New York area.

The editorial includes a letter from Costa Major, a two-page spread on trends and a two-page interview with designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana, which last year opened a store in the Americana. That store is owned by Hirshleifer’s, the family-run designer emporium.

The catalogue also has information about goings-on at the center, including a newly designed Estée Lauder spa, the Cipollini restaurant-cafe opening at the end of February and the fact that 200,000 bulbs get planted every year at the center.

“We want to talk directly to our customer,” Costa Major said.

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