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NEW YORK — Even before the last of the fall collections wrap up this week in Paris, Bergdorf Goodman is getting behind some of the clear stars of the season with an accelerated trunk show schedule, including a personal appearance with Narciso Rodriguez on April 2.
The store will host events to showcase several fall lines in the coming weeks, a few weeks ahead of the normal trunk show schedule, in an effort to create a more experimental atmosphere where designers can gain immediate customer reaction to their work, said Robert Burke, vice president and senior fashion director. The strategy is also designed to reinforce the image of Bergdorf Goodman as a retailer willing to quickly put its resources behind a designer of the moment.
“We have a very demanding customer who is extremely fashion savvy and aware of the collections,” said Ron Frasch, chairman and chief executive officer of the store. “Narciso’s was truly one of the best collections we had seen and we are very anxious to present it to our customers as soon as possible. This also continues to enhance our position in the marketplace as a store that takes a quick and decisive lead on getting collections first.”
By moving up the trunk show schedule, which normally kicks off for the fall season in late April, designers also will have the opportunity to respond to the reactions of actual shoppers, rather than buyers or the press, Burke said.
“This will give them an immediate read on the collection and an opportunity to tweak the collection if they need to,” he said.
Rodriguez’s appearance will include a three-day trunk show through April 4, while BG is also in talks with other designers about staging similarly early events.
“It’s great to do a trunk show so close to having shown,” Rodriguez said. “The reaction you get from the press and retailers generates a lot of excitement, but the most important reaction you get is from your customers. When it’s so fresh, it will make for a good experiment.”
Trunk show sales are also an important ingredient in his estimated $20 million in annual wholesale volume.
As for any tweaking that might come out of the event, that might not fare as well. If a customer asked to change a look from red to purple, for instance, Rodriguez said the answer would be, “No.”
This story first appeared in the March 11, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.