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Bloomingdale’s has Britain on the brain.
This story first appeared in the May 9, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
For fall, the department store will pay tribute to the U.K. through a store-wide celebration it is calling “Brit Style.” The promotion will be national in scope, but the men’s area has embraced it in a particularly aggressive way, partnering with more than 40 British brands to produce exclusive merchandise.
“We’re doing a British invasion,” said Kevin Harter, vice president of fashion direction for men and home. “Fifty years this October was the start of Beatlemania, and there were so many great British trends coming down the runway for fall, we decided to have fun with it.”
Bloomingdale’s approached vendors ranging from Burberry, Liberty London, Thomas Pink, Paul Smith, Ted Baker, Turnbull & Asser and Hardy Amies, who all created “some special pieces,” Harter said. The 250-plus exclusive items include four special suits from Hardy Amies, named the John, Paul, Ringo and George (not yet priced); Beatles cuff links from Deakin & Francis (retail $300 to $350); Beatles-inspired umbrellas from London Underground ($200); printed bags, shirts and bomber jackets from Paul Smith ($175 to $575); an assortment of T-shirts from Ted Baker ($99), and patterned shirts from Thomas Pink ($250). Perhaps the most striking product is a collection of Beatles album covers, reproduced with permission of Apple Corp. Ltd., which hold printed pocket squares produced by Turnbull & Asser, that will retail for $150.
Harter said Bloomingdale’s is also adding about a dozen British brands for the season as well, including Kent & Curwen; Casely-Hayford; Farrell, a line created by English musician Robbie Williams; Bespoken; Crombie; D.S. Dundee; Hentsch Man; Harnold Brook, and others.
Women’s brands that will be included in the promotion include AllSaints, Karen Millen, Reiss and Ted Baker for apparel, as well as The Cambridge Satchel Co., Links of London and Stella McCartney in accessories. In home, exclusive products will include pieces from Fringe, Alessi and Royal Doulton.
The promotion will kick off in September at all 37 Bloomingdale’s stores. In addition, the retailer has teamed up with VisitBritain, the national tourism board, to create custom travel experiences with a fashion focus. The one-of-a-kind travel packages, inspired by iconic Great Britain landscapes at which Bloomingdale’s shot portions of its fall catalogue, will be available exclusively to the retailer’s customers.
There is a partnership planned with Clear Channel Media & Entertainment where Bloomingdale’s will create a custom station on iHeartRadio featuring hand-selected music from the U.K., as well as interviews with designers and pop stars on the impact of the region on fashion, music and culture.
Great Britain is enjoying a renaissance in popular attention with the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the London Olympics and the growing popularity of its women’s and men’s fashion weeks. The June edition of the men’s shows will now feature such British collections as Burberry, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford and Pringle of Scotland. According to VisitBritain, fashion directly contributes about $33 billion to the U.K. economy and has an indirect economic impact of $59.2 billion by encouraging spending in other industries such as tourism.