BLOOMINGDALE’S GETS DOWN WITH SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — Kal Ruttenstein was riveted to the stars on the disco floor.
“He’s the next teen matinee idol,” Ruttenstein announced, in praise of James Carpinello, who plays Tony Manero in the Broadway musical “Saturday Night Fever,” opening Oct. 21. Making like Travolta, Carpinello struck the legendary pose, with the outstretched arm, as co-star Paige Price lifts a leg around his waist, and shows some flesh.
“I love it, I love it,” Ruttenstein exclaimed.
Bloomingdale’s senior vice president of fashion direction loves not only the dancing, but the performance of the clothes as well.
Bloomingdale’s fashion and ad teams recently boogied down to Spectrum, the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, disco, for a Bloomingdale’s ad shoot. It’s where “Saturday Night Fever,” the movie about Brooklyn’s disco-crazed youth in the Seventies, was filmed. At the time, it was called 2001 Odyssey, but it still has the same dance floor, with the signature lighting. For the fashion shoot, the Broadway cast wears the close-fitting, stretchy evening looks from Bloomingdale’s new Saturday Night Fever collection. The fashions are all exclusive to Bloomingdale’s and capture the energy of the movie.
The look, of course, is updated.
“They’re modern clothes that have movement and ease. They really move,” said Ruttenstein.
The ads will promote Bloomingdale’s Saturday Night Fever shops that will be launched Sept. 27 inside the chain’s 59th Street flagship as well as its White Plains, N.Y., and Century City, Calif., stores. If the look sells, more locations might be added.
It’s Bloomingdale’s millennium hook, and an attempt to further strengthen the store’s contemporary business, which is reportedly the fastest-growing women’s division. Bloomingdale’s Lexington Avenue windows will reproduce the Spectrum dance floor and have about 50 mannequins dressed in the evening clothes.
“We’re inspired by the disco era, although the collection is really about going out in the last months of 1999,” Ruttenstein said.
His role on the shoot is to make sure the clothes look right on the cast — they’re not the same clothes that will be seen in the Broadway show — and he doesn’t hesitate to get the designers to adjust the look. “That’s what they pay me to do,” he said. At one point, he got Ady Gluck-Frankel, president and design director of Necessary Objects, to shorten the hem of a jersey evening dress. “It looked droopy, but she’s got it right.”
Gluck-Frankel pointed out the ads will be unusual, since they will show people of average height — not models. “These clothes are more real,” she said, but not all that easy to design. “The challenge was to create movement without being aerobic tight, or without creating volume in the clothes.”
All the merchandise in the collection is from Necessary Objects, Theory, ABS and Shoshana Lonstein, and it’s all exclusive to Bloomingdale’s and priced under $100. Featured are stretch fabrics, including high-twist polyesters with Lycra, evening dresses for dancing or just going out, snap-front men’s shirts, men’s narrow pants, peak-lapel jackets, and T-shirts, all fitting close to the body without being skintight.
This is not the first time Bloomingdale’s has been Broadway bound. The company has had in-store shops themed on such shows as “Rent,” “Evita” and “Ragtime.”