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There was a seismic shift in New York City’s retail scene in August 1990, when Bergdorf Goodman opened a dedicated men’s store on 58th Street and Fifth Avenue, across the street from its existing flagship.
This story first appeared in the August 14, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The three-level, 40,000-square-foot emporium, on the site of the former FAO Schwarz toy store offered the upscale male shopper a broad and deep array of European and American collections under one roof, with labels on opening day that ranged from Ralph Lauren and Oxxford to Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Issey Miyake and Romeo Gigli.
Spearheaded by then-chief executive officer Ira Neimark, the men’s store cost in excess of $20 million and took two-and-a-half years to complete.
It took nearly a decade until the store turned a profit, but in fiscal 1998, with the team of ceo Ron Frasch and president Peter Rizzo at the helm, the store moved into the black.
“The men’s store was built in 1991 and opened at $36 million in sales,” Rizzo said at the time. “Between 1991 and 1999, sales rose to $46 million, but this year they will hit nearly $55 million. And it’s making money for the first time.”
This year, the store is in the midst of a major renovation that includes a revamp of its contemporary designer space on the third floor, as well as the addition of a shoe “library” on the main floor. The new shoe area is inspired by the Villa Necchi in Milan and will have a Thirties-Forties influence with a touch of Sixties “Mad Men.”
On the third floor, this marks the first comprehensive renovation of the area since the store opened. It includes new Lanvin and Prada boutiques; areas for Givenchy, Rick Owens and Alexander McQueen, and shops for Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Etro. The floor will also include the first U.S. men’s boutiques for Yves Saint Laurent, Dries Van Noten and Thom Browne.
The renovation is being spearheaded by Linda Fargo, Bergdorf’s longtime senior vice president of the fashion office and store presentation. “This is the beginning of a project that will shed light on the future of Bergdorf’s men’s store,” said Ginny Hershey-Lambert, executive vice president of merchandising for Bergdorf’s.
The entire project is scheduled for completion by Labor Day.