BEAUTIFICATION AT BARNEYS

NEW YORK — With its sophisticated Italian marble floor and highly edited assortment of cosmetics and fragrances, Barneys New York’s beauty department — the Foundation — opens for business Thursday at the Madison Avenue flagship. It’s a sure sign that Barneys is finally serious about the beauty business, a sector in which it was never much of a player before.
The Foundation features a contemporary setting consistent with other floors in the store, and some unusual decorative touches and architectural features: counters with Japanese paper layering, and seven-foot tall “smelling columns” for the Editions de Parfum Frederic Malle shop. Shoppers poke their heads into the column to get a whiff.
Typically, department stores sell cosmetics on the main floor, but Barneys opted to house the Foundation on the 8,000-square-foot lower level. Executives hope the scissor-shaped staircase with a “light pool” at its base draws people down to the assortment of classic and trend-setting lines, including many with limited distribution from Europe. Sources say the store does between $18 million and $19 million in cosmetics, and the Foundation should increase business between 25 and 50 percent in its first year.

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