WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/saks-unveils-beauty-place-747796/

NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue gave the world a glimpse of its future on Oct. 3 by showing off its newly spiffed-up beauty floor and its newly hired resident makeup artist. Dubbed Saks Beauty Place, the retailer’s effort also revealed an intention to differentiate itself by putting a greater emphasis on catering to customers’ individual needs.

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“It’s about service across all brands, enriching the customer’s shopping experience,” said Deborah Walters, Saks’ senior vice president and general merchandise manager for cosmetics and fragrances. Just as customers shop across many ready-to-wear designer lines, she noted, “our clients in New York don’t want one brand of makeup on the first floor. It’s about how the customer shops — across the board.”

At the heart of this service philosophy is resident makeup artist Kim Weinstein, who represents Saks’ entire color assortment, while giving makeovers to clients on the fifth floor of the Manhattan flagship.

Saks Beauty Place has been rolled out to the retailer’s entire chain of 61 Saks Fifth Avenue units. The company would like to hire resident makeup artists at flagships in major markets starting next year. The new departments share consistent visual elements, including color mosaics on floors and fabric padding in cases. At the Fifth Avenue flagship, a rotating fixture that reads “Saks Beauty Place” tops the floor’s central kiosk.

Walters sees the concept as a “platform” for future initiatives and she believes its introduction is well timed. “We’re at a good moment,” she remarked, noting that in fragrance, “it’s one of the healthiest years we’ve ever had — we’re holding our own and growing.” Leading the charge are Chanel’s Chance, Vera Wang, Gucci Eau de Parfum, Donna Karan Black Cashmere and Kate Spade. In men’s — albeit a smaller business than women’s — Marc Jacobs, Intuition for Men, Miracle for Men and YSL’s M7 are doing well.