Neiman Marcus doesn’t do much to lure celebrities. Perhaps that’s because it doesn’t have to.
This story first appeared in the October 15, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
John Travolta, Nancy Reagan and Gerald Ford are frequent visitors. But John Martens, the Beverly Hills store’s vice president and general manager, downplays the names and doesn’t mention too many. He also likes his staff to keep a safe distance out of respect for their privacy and not to draw too much attention to them.
Martens confessed, “The one I did come up and welcome, because I’m a big fan, was Ringo Starr.”
While the store offers private VIP rooms and services, celebrities don’t usually request special privileges, he said. “We’ve got one celebrity who calls us and likes to shop after hours. It’s a major celebrity so we always try and oblige. But that’s the exception rather than the rule.”
Martens’ lips are sealed, but WWD found out it was Barbra Streisand.
Of course, the list of designers who’ve passed through the glass doors reads like a who’s who of fashion. Christian Lacroix, Richard Tyler, Eskandar, Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld have all held trunk shows there. Manolo Blahnik holds a trunk show once a year.
Martens reserves a soft spot for Ralph Rucci because his designs are “so special.” As for Karl Lagerfeld, who visited the store in December 1992 to promote his own collection and to design the store’s windows, Martens said, “I think it was the only time Karl ever did a show.”
There’s one name conspicuously absent from the list: Giorgio Armani. Said Martens, wistfully, “I’d love to have him.”