Barney Pressman pawns his wife’s engagement ring and uses the cash to open a 500-square-foot men’s discount clothing store on Seventh Avenue and 17th Street. His slogan: “No Bunk, No Junk, No Imitations.”
Pressman gets cheeky with marketing, puts women encased in barrels by beer halls to distribute matchbooks with the store’s name and address, and runs “Calling All Men to Barney’s” radio spots echoing the Dick Tracy radio series.
Barney’s son, Fred, transitions the store from discounter to luxury destination, collaborating with Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Cardin to provide some European flair and pioneer men’s designer clothing.
Fred Pressman’s youngest sons, Gene and Bob, join the family business and expand it into women’s designer clothing. Fred’s wife, Phyllis, curates the new Chelsea Passage home department. Giorgio Armani introduces his men’s wear to America via Barney’s.
Barneys elevates its advertising using such photographers as Nick Knight, Herb Ritts and Steven Meisel and emerging supermodels like Linda Evangelista.
The women’s store on 17th Street, designed by Peter Marino and Andree Putman, opens and quickly becomes a downtown destination.
Barneys launches an expansion, opening stores across the U.S., expanding into Japan.
Barneys opens its elaborate, 230,000-square-foot, Peter Marino-designed French limestone flagship on Madison Avenue and stages a wild opening party attended by Bianca Jagger, Joan Rivers, Barbara Walters, Bobby Short, Peter Gabriel and other celebrities and Barry White performs.
Barneys goes bankrupt after the expansion fails and debt piles up largely from the Madison Ave. flagship.
Barneys shuts down its Chelsea store.
A vulture fund led by Doug Teitelbaum swooped in to pull Barneys out of bankruptcy without the Pressman brothers who were ousted.
Barneys continues to open stores in Boston, Dallas, Scottsdale, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Jones Apparel Group buys Barneys.
Jones Apparel Group sells Barneys to the Dubai fund Istithmar for more than $800 million, more than twice the price Jones paid for Barneys.
Perry Capital, led by Richard Perry, and Yucaipa private equity, led by Ron Burkle, take control of Barneys by swapping their debt holdings for equity stakes, shedding $540 million of the company’s $590 million in long-term debt and avoiding a second bankruptcy.
Barneys returns to Chelsea and 17th Street with a new store on the same site as the original Barneys.
Barneys goes bankrupt for the second time after months of declining traffic and sales and erratic payments to vendors.
Authentic Brands Group takes over Barneys through bankruptcy proceeding in $271.4 million deal.
*Certain dates attained from Barneys’ web site