Bloomingdale’s has caught Nineties fever.
The department store is partnering with Nintendo, whose Super Mario characters were a hallmark of that decade, for its spring campaign.
Titled “Let’s Play,” the collaboration includes exclusive products for men, women and home. They will range from hoodies and Ts to handbags, bathing suits, sneakers and flip-flops from partners including Marc Jacobs, Sovereign Code, Gitman Vintage, Onia, Danielle Nicole and Schutz. There will also be candy from Sugarfina, ping-pong paddles from Sunnylife and S’well water bottles.
Some products feature the actual characters, while others “incorporate the look and feel,” said Frank Berman, chief marketing officer of Bloomingdale’s.
There will also be a series of in-store events and activations that will launch on March 10, the self-proclaimed Mario Day — chosen because the date written out spells Mario: Mar10.
Berman said the partnership was inspired by the resurgence of Nineties nostalgia into pop culture. In addition, Nintendo’s colorful characters play into the bright hues that will be in stores for spring. “This will help bring color to a bright season,” he said.
“With the Nineties nostalgia happening in fashion and pop culture, Nintendo is the perfect partner to take over the Bloomingdale’s spring campaign,” added Kevin Harter, the retailer’s group vice president of integrated marketing. “We are continually trying to enhance our customer experience, and partnering with Nintendo on in-store activations and limited-edition merchandise reinforces the notion that fashion is about having fun.”
Berman said the merchandise will “animate the experience” for the customer. While the merchandise will be available at all stores as well as online, the SoHo unit will boast “a more blown-up pop-up,” Berman said, complete with gaming stations that will feature classic Nintendo games.
The stores will install visuals inspired by the characters and elements of Super Mario World. And in the spring catalogue, models will sport the latest fashions in front of pixilated mushrooms, gold coins and stars.
Among the activations planned for the collaboration is a visit by a life-size Mario to the 59th Street flagship and SoHo stores on March 10 and 17; a Danielle Nicole and Onio monogramming event on 59th Street on March 10; interactive Polaroid glass walls at select stores and demos in New York and Century City, Calif., and gaming stations in all stores.
Actor Jay Ellis, who stars in the HBO series “Insecure,” is featured on the cover of the men’s catalogue wearing some of the Nintendo merchandise, and inside, offers some style advice such as: “Keep it simple with really easy basics like T-shirts, sweatshirts and a great pair of clean, minimalist sneakers.”
Berman said Let’s Play is expected to appeal to customers who remember Nintendo from its heyday as well as young people. “Things that were popular for every generation seem to come back,” he said. “This was fun then and creates nostalgia with our current customer, and it also resonates with the next generation.”
Berman said the merchandise is expected to remain in store through the middle of April.