NEW YORK — Bergdorf Goodman martinis, an after-hours lavender lighting system and a flashy “5F” mailer are a few of the finishing touches the store has cooked up for its renovated fifth floor.
With most of what has been nearly a yearlong project completed, the Fifth Avenue retailer is energized about 5F, an abbreviation for its fifth floor housing more than 47 designer and contemporary sportswear labels and a shoe salon with 34 brands.
In fact, editing is an essential part of the floor’s razzle-dazzle — as evidenced by everything from the focused assortment to the 5F 10-page mailer that trumpets such things as “Our 10 Most Wanted for Fall,” “All that Glitters” and “A Cut Above.”
Jim Gold, the store’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Product is carefully selected so that our assortments reflect what Bergdorf Goodman feels are the fashion essentials for the season. We take a strong position in the items and trends in which we believe. We work closely with the market to create as much distinction, exclusivity and excitement for our clients as possible.”
With contemporary sportswear getting a lot of attention from retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, Scoop and Intermix, Gold said Bergdorf Goodman set out to take “a very aggressive approach” to the category. Michael Gabellini of Gabellini & Associates was tapped to modernize the floor without losing sight of the fact the Fifth Avenue location was once a residential Beaux Arts mansion.
Aside from opening up the space to give shoppers more unobstructed views of Marc by Marc Jacobs, Lee Angel, True Religion, Sunner, Tracy Reese and other labels, the retailer installed pliable walls and projected computer-generated photographic and graphic design images onto them. “There are endless opportunities to change the look and feel of areas on the floor,” Gold said. “We wanted to do something that was a little more conceptual and is a fresh and unusual take for a younger modern spirit. We wanted to do something that didn’t look like something someone might expect at Bergdorf Goodman.”
To trumpet its new digs and give a tip of the hat to its signature color, lavender libations will be served in a yet-to-be opened 5F bar and a band of lavender light wrapping around the fifth floor will be illuminated at night. Both elements should be completed by mid-November and are part of Bergdorf Goodman’s plans to brand 5F with its own logo shopping bag, labels, hangers and signage.
“Tens of thousands” of shoppers got a sampling of what’s underfoot with the mailing of the first 5F mailer, said Gold. Instead of showcasing head-to-toe looks, each of the 10 pages is packed with six key pieces. Current bestsellers include a black sequin Diane von Furstenberg dress at $1,995, a $1,198 sequin Tory Burch cardigan, Seven For All Mankind/The Great China Wall jeans retailing from $295 to $695 and a Miguelina mesh top with copper detail at $425.
Considering the price tag on the von Furstenberg dress, it’s clear Bergdorf Goodman isn’t afraid to push the boundaries on price. “These are fun great items that are priced well relative to fine apparel. This is not about inexpensive T-shirts and $200 jeans,” Gold said. “If the product is great, price doesn’t seem to stand in the way.”