NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue is dedicating its Fifth Avenue windows to Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, which is opening an outpost at the Rink at Rockefeller Center in New York on April 15.
The windows were unveiled to the public Thursday and will remain up until the evening of April 18.
Founded in 1979 by Ian “Flipper” Ross, Flipper’s began as a family-owned and operated roller rink in Los Angeles. It will operate at Rockefeller Center through October.
Flipper’s was originally presided over by Ian “Flipper” Ross and Bunty Ross, who are parents of Liberty Ross, current cofounder and creative director, as well as a fashion model, who is married to record industry entrepreneur Jimmy Iovine.
The Saks windows serve as a visual history of the brand’s journey from 1979 to 1981, when “Flipper’s,” in the heart of West Hollywood, was one of the West Coast’s hottest spots, where people would roller disco into the early hours. It came to an end a little more than two years later faced with code violations, fines and finally, looting.
The Saks team explored the visual archives of the original 1970s Flipper’s location. The window designs feature exclusive collages representing Flipper’s history with a fresh fashion representation. Flipper’s roller skates are styled with each look from designers such as Casablanca, Dolce & Gabbana, Frederick Anderson, Paco Rabanne, Sergio Hudson, Stella McCartney and Versace.
Proceeds from skate rentals at the newly opened Flipper’s location will benefit the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation, whose mission is to make mental health a priority through targeted nonprofit partnerships that increase awareness and education, improve access to care and promote the tools and skills that build positive mental health. One dollar from each rental will benefit the foundation. Saks is also discussing opportunities throughout the year for smaller events at the rink. Since the pandemic began, skating has enjoyed a boom.
“At Saks, we utilize our platform to champion important causes and we are delighted Flippers will be donating a portion of skate rental proceeds to the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation,” said Stephanie Maher, senior vice president of brand marketing at Saks. “This donation will help further our mission to make mental health a priority in every community.”
Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace will be smaller than the traditional ice rink at Rockefeller Center, allowing room for the public to watch the skaters and sunken plaza activity from a few feet away, in addition to the view from above via the Esplanades and Plaza on the upper level.
The new venture was forged between Liberty Ross and Kevin Wall, cofounder and chairman, in partnership with Usher. It encompasses the world of roller skating, with roller rinks, lessons, community events, performances, merchandise and apparel, alongside social content that spotlights the talented, diverse roller skating community.
Asked why they decided now to open Flipper’s in New York, Ross told WWD, “The evolution has been truly organic — it began as an exploration of my childhood — gathering photographs which led to a 250-page book [‘Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace 1979-1981’] and then began a conversation with my now partner Kevin Wall. The rink at Rockefeller Center started out as an initial idea and essentially turned into a dream come true. We’re honored to have our first physical space in decades located at one of the most recognized rinks in the world through October 2022.”
Ross said she was introduced to Saks through Rachel Shechtman, her friend and consultant. Shechtman said she came up with the idea to bring Flipper’s to Rockefeller Center because she knew the Tishman team “and given their strategy thought it would be a mutually beneficial match.” Shechtman introduced Ross to the Saks team, which “has brought an entirely new dimension to sharing our story with New York City,” Ross said.
According to Ross, what makes Flipper’s special is the welcome it extends to all communities offering a safe space to anyone who wants that feeling of freedom that comes from skating. She said Flipper’s encourages “Less Scroll More Roll.”
“Everyone should feel empowered to prioritize physical and emotional well-being and our goal is to reinforce that through a space where everyone is seen, welcome and included,” Ross said.
Tickets for Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace are $20 for adults and $12 for children under 15, not including skate rentals. Tickets are available at Flippers.world.
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