NEW YORK — Bloomingdale’s is famous for devoting its windows to special events: Case in point, for Super Bowl 48 at MetLife Stadium in 2014, it tapped 48 designers to create customized helmets, an initiative it extended to footballs two years later. And last July, to celebrate New York Fashion Week: Men’s, it partnered with a local mosaic artist to create special designer installations in its 59th Street windows.
So it’s no surprise that for the next round of New York men’s shows at the end of the month, the retailer decided to continue with the successful theme.
This time around, it turned to premium audio company Master & Dynamic to create an assortment of one-off headphones that will be showcased in the windows beginning today. The windows, which will stay up until Feb. 6 after the close of NYFW: Men’s, are designed to illustrate the impact of sound on the creative process.
Eight designers participated in the project: Billy Reid, Eidos, John Varvatos, Michael Kors, Rag & Bone, Polo Ralph Lauren, Theory and Todd Snyder. They reimagined and customized the brand’s flagship MH40 Over-Ear model headphones using prints and fabrics from their spring collections.
Justin Berkowitz, men’s fashion director, said the retailer has carried Master & Dynamic’s headphones for about a year and was “looking for a way to partner that felt more about fashion than technology.”
So Berkowitz approached the designers and gave them free rein to create their own special headphones. The results are — as expected — creative. Billy Reid’s have a tan and black stripe fabric wrapping the headphones, Varvatos used brown leather, Ralph Lauren’s sport a colorful blue print and Rag & Bone’s are leather and distressed metal.
“It was really interesting to see their interpretations and what they chose to do,” Berkowitz said.
Jonathan Levine, founder and chief executive officer of Master & Dynamic, said that although he’s “not from the fashion world,” he now has a new respect for the designers, a few of whom are “big audiophiles. It was very cool to see what each one did — they had carte blanche.”
Levine and Berkowitz said at this point, they’re still in discussion about whether the headphones will be sold and the proceeds donated to charity. But they’re sure they’re going to be popular. “Men are choosing headphones as a fashion accessory now,” Berkowitz said. “And we’re excited to celebrate that.”