Bergdorf Goodman on Sept. 6 will unveil Noir, a shop cloaked in mystery and filled with products that evoke sensuality, such as a Kiki de Montparnasse feather tickler and custom black feather mask. Created by Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation, Noir will feature products and exclusive collaborations designed to exude dark glamour, power and femininity and offer the promise of seduction.
“After Linda’s, [an in-store shop] opened a year ago, we set our sights on a more counterintuitive concept, something unexpected, yet something that could only happen at Bergdorf’s,” Fargo said, adding that noir, or black, for many people is the baseline of their wardrobe. “We wanted a concept that would be timeless, provocative, essential and something that definitely is not a pop-up and can be built upon over time. We’re making an assumption that for many fashion-centric people, and especially in New York, if they could live in only one color, it would be black.”
Bergdorf’s ubiquitous lavender shopping bag has been completely blacked out by Noir. “We foresee the bag being carried around the city and causing a sense of shock or at least creating curiosity about what’s happening at Bergdorf Goodman — their pretty bag went dark,” Fargo said. “The bag will be packed with a mysterious message enclosed and a teasing feather plume.”
The shop is meant to resemble a club and consumers enter through a black door. A glass display window and storefront is dominated by a black swan, while a photograph of charcoaled eyes staring downward lends an unsettling touch to the fitting room. Carpets will be “smoked” and wall paneling “charred,” Fargo said, adding, “We’ll have a curated ‘play lust’ soundtrack.” The shop will be scented with Do It for Love, the fragrance collaboration between Fargo and Kilian Hennessy, and exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman.
Fargo said the effect at Noir is shopping as theater. “The buzzword in retail has been experience for a while now,” she said. “It’s getting overused and underserved, or not delivered in innovative enough ways. You have to change the mix, curate instead of habitually shopping and presenting by brand or classification. We need to find ways to engage all the senses and create curiosity. Bergdorf’s has always used the store theatrically, but now we’re being even more strategic about it.”
To create a visceral reaction among consumers, Noir will stimulate the senses with every texture of black, including furry, sleek, burnt and shiny.
Like the Noir concept and shop design, merchandise is meant to be provocative, theatrical and unexpected. Products are a mix of unknown brands and well-known labels. For example, there’s Osman’s tiered, ruffled black leather pants; Richard Quinn’s zippered moto dress; a sparkly romantic velvet gown by The Vampire’s Wife; matte black porcelain from Nymphenburg; Livy’s unusual lingerie; Pallas Paris’ black tuxedo, and smoky diamond cat-eye masks.
Bergdorf’s is giving Noir a full court press with a teaser social media campaign, edgy wild postings, a takeover of the retailer’s New York Fashion Week windows, and on the September magalogue a “Noir-centric mysterious cover image,” Fargo said.