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Bergdorf Goodman Men has the wholesale exclusive for Berluti in the U.S., and it’s crowing about it.
This story first appeared in the December 12, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Earlier this week, the upscale retailer unveiled a boutique for the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned luxury men’s brand that is being reinvented by Antoine Arnault, who is chief executive officer of Berluti and last week added the title of chairman of Loro Piana, which the French group acquired in July.
The completion of the shop on Bergdorf Goodman Men’s second floor is the latest move in a two-year renovation at the three-floor, 41,500-square-foot store, the first comprehensive revamp since it opened in 1990. Still to come is a new Ralph Lauren shop for Black and Purple Label merchandise that is expected to be completed later this month, followed by the renovation of the shirt and tie area and the addition of a men’s bar in the spring.
“But the big news right now is Berluti,” said Joshua Schulman, Bergdorf’s president. “We’re incredibly excited about their positioning of Berluti as a true luxury heritage brand for an international, jet-set customer — and we have it exclusively.” He said Berluti, which started as a artisanal shoe brand and now offers a complete lifestyle collection, “dovetails with our positioning.”
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The line is also carried in the company’s small store on Madison Avenue and Berluti is currently building a flagship across the street from Barneys New York on 61st Street. But Schulman doesn’t view that as competition. “We think it’s complementary,” he said. “Many of our partners have their own stores.” He pointed in particular to Tom Ford, who opened his own store and also signed up with Bergdorf as his exclusive wholesale partner.
The design of the Berluti shop at Bergdorf’s is innovative yet remains true to the tradition of the brand, Schulman said, noting that it includes parquet flooring, walls made of the same Venezia leather used by the French brand in its line, bronze glass panels and silk carpets.
Schulman declined to reveal the square footage of the shop but said it is “one of the most prominent men’s shops” on the second floor and includes Berluti’s ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes. There’s also an “outpost” just for the shoes on the main floor, he noted, adjacent to the company’s newly installed shoe library. The leather goods are also offered within Bergdorf Men’s classification leather goods area.
Schulman said that in terms of the customer response to Bergdorf’s recent renovation of the men’s store, initial results are positive. “We’re really delighted with both the sales and the anecdotal comments we’ve heard,” he said. “The strongest results have come from leather goods, tailored clothing and Brunello Cucinelli. It’s hard to measure, but we saw a very noticeable uptick in traffic in the men’s store right after the renovation and expansion.”