By  on February 6, 2007

NEW YORK — Lord & Taylor is getting a facelift.

After decades of being starved for capital and appearing antiquated, the company has hired a string of high-profile creative agencies and store designers to develop a new fall-holiday branding campaign, renovate its locations and highlight merchandise changes that have been ongoing for four years and are now being accelerated, WWD has learned.

Joining forces with Lord & Taylor will be advertising guru David Lipman, who has created campaigns for David Yurman, Burberry, Zegna and St. John, and Y&R's BrandBuzz, the research and branding arm of Young & Rubicam.

Randall Ridless, who has designed retail interiors for Burberry, Holt Renfrew, Van Cleef & Arpels, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, will collaborate with the Mancini Duffy architectural and design firm to revamp Lord & Taylor units. Mancini Duffy lists Bloomingdale's, Ian Schrager Hotels, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bliss, Bergdorf Goodman and Calvin Klein among its clients.

"This is only the beginning of a whole series of new and exciting announcements," said Richard Baker, president and chief executive officer of NRDC Equity Partners, which purchased L&T from Federated Department Stores last year for $1.1 billion and is said to be eyeing Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York as possible takeover targets. "NRDC is moving swiftly to meet the challenging and exciting goals we have set for Lord & Taylor. We're dedicated to bringing the most creative minds and people to Lord & Taylor."

A cornerstone of future assortments and marketing will be advancing L&T's historic profile as "the home of American fashion design," Baker said. "It's very important to all of us that Lord & Taylor is the industry leader for American design, and continues to search the country for great talent."

With the influx of the new talent, "we've increased our marketing budget over 20 percent for the foreseeable future, and as far as capital improvements, we are working on plans on a great number of locations," Baker said.

He also hinted that L&T's proprietary brands, notably the Kate Hill bridge sportswear collection and the Context contemporary label, could gain prominence in the assortment, but declined to specify any plans for private labels.

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