Alexander Wang is running all over Bergdorf Goodman’s Fifth Avenue store, inside and out, with his sneaker-inspired spring collection.
As part of its new affinity for shaking up traditional uptown and downtown shopping habits, Bergdorf’s has given Wang creative license to take over two of its Fifth Avenue windows, stage an installation in the store’s hallowed ground-floor Luxe Room, and design an elaborate sneaker-themed pop-up on the contemporary floor 5F, where Wang’s collection is typically sold. And on Jan. 29, when the pop-up opens, a projection of Wang’s barcode logo will be cast over Bergdorf’s Fifth Avenue facade after sunset, the first time the retailer has partaken in such high-tech hijinks.
Wang said Bergdorf approached him about a special project for spring, riffing on his collection that was based on five iconic sneakers. “They wanted to make it a holistic approach when the collection shipped, with the windows and the luxury room,” said Wang. “We had the idea to theme it around the bedroom of a sneakerhead.”
The two windows, which are currently on display, look like the meticulously designed lairs of sneaker-obsessed teenagers, one done in an all-white tennis theme; the other in an edgier, black basketball mood. In addition to items from the spring collection, the displays are stocked with exclusive specialty merch, such as Alexander Wang bar code logo shoeboxes, Alexander Wang bar code posters, all-black basketballs, trophies and all-white tennis racquets, all available for purchase. A special USB with a playlist by DJ Jesse Marco, who often travels with Wang, is complimentary with purchases of more than $500. The Luxe Room installation features four oversize rectangular vertical planks bearing the barcode logo set on rubber base and are set with mannequins in spring looks.
Upstairs on 5F, the pop-up, which will be open through March, will emulate Wang’s spring runway set with black and gray-speckled performance rubber floor and walls meant to feel like a gymnasium and a giant white Alexander Wang barcode logo to crown the display.
The whole production is part of Bergdorf’s recent rebellion against the conventional compartmentalization of luxury department store retail with luxury brands and contemporary brands firmly in their separate places. Bergdorf president Joshua Schulman has said that the store sees an evolution in its most stylish, fashion-forward customers shopping across departments. In October, Bergdorf flagrantly bucked tradition by bringing Chanel, the apex of luxury brands, to the contemporary floor with an impressive pop-up-shop installation that also happened to be gym-themed. It was inspired by fall’s “Coco Coach” ad campaign. Prior to that, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik had received the same uptown-downtown (5F is the “downtown” of Bergdorf) treatment.
Wang, who has been steadily evolving his collection toward a true designer-level direction for a while, was excited to follow in the fellow sporty footsteps of Chanel’s 5F experience. “To get the Fifth Avenue windows and a whole installation in the Luxe Room is a very big deal for us,” said Wang. “With this collection, there’s so much handwork, to really be able to display it in that kind of environment, we’re so honored.”