Barneys New York is jumping 3,000 miles to the West Coast for the second iteration of its Drop event.
The inaugural “thedrop@barneys” was held in late October at the retailer’s flagship on Madison Avenue in Manhattan and the next one will be staged at the Beverly Hills store on June 2 and 3.
Called “thedropLA@barneys,” the event will once again be held in partnership with Highsnobiety and will feature more than 90 brands, 20-plus exclusive capsule collections and in excess of 30 activations across men’s, women’s, kids, beauty and jewelry.
New this time is what Barneys is calling “one-of-a-kind immersive brand environments and experiences,” that will include a Prada Pachinko Parlor; a Fear of God digital installation; a Heron Preston NASA-inspired environment; “Sliced by Fila” pizzeria; a Birkenstock “Outdoor” Park serving Moon Juice refreshments; an Everytown raffle installation featuring Balenciaga with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Everytown for Gun Safety, and a roller rink featuring Gucci with roller performances and skate rentals for guests throughout the weekend.
The event will also feature select jewelry collections in a “Butterfly Bar” with live butterflies. A selection of beauty and skin-care brands, including Acqua di Parma, By Terry, Hourglass, La Bouche Rouge, Nude Envie and Unistella, will be displayed in a live aquarium environment.
The installations will remain on view at the store until June 10.
Tomm Miller, executive vice president of communications and marketing for Barneys, said, “Our goal for the first Drop was to attract new, younger customers and further build relationships with current customers.”
She said more than 12,000 people visited the Madison Avenue store over the weekend in late October, which was double the number who had visited the store in the same weekend the prior year. “And looking at the breakdown, it was a 50-50 split between new and existing customers,” Miller said.
Although the main motivator was not sales but was instead to “create an appealing, inviting and comfortable environment” for shoppers, Barneys was pleased with the sales results. Immediately after, Daniella Vitale, the retailer’s chief executive officer and president, said sales rose 35 percent on Saturday and 9 percent on Sunday and among the top performers were jewelry, limited-edition sneakers, Christian Louboutin and Heron Preston product, as well as everything related to streetwear, particularly in men’s.
Looking at the analytics for the weekend, Miller said that of the customers who made a purchase at the event, 40 percent actually returned and bought again.
Among the brands that will participate in the L.A. edition are Prada, Heron Preston, Fear of God, Fendi, Moschino, Palm Angels, Givenchy, Balmain, Versace, Rick Owens, Fila, Greg Lauren, A-Cold-Wall, Area, Takahiromiyashita The Soloist, Adaptation, John Elliott, Ksubi, Wu Wear and Birkenstock.
Advisory Board Crystals, Tupac by 424, Dickies Construct, Emrata x Spinelli Kilcollin, Onia x WeWoreWhat, and exclusive Barneys New York x Jordyn Woods and Barneys New York x Justine Skye shoe collaborations will also offer exclusive releases during the event.
“This year we’ve created a fresh take on fashion for a new generation, with even more collections and activations across women’s, men’s, beauty, jewelry, and more,” Vitale said. “This one-of-a-kind experience captures the creative spirit of Los Angeles through imaginative environments, thought-provoking panel discussions, L.A. food favorites, entertainment, and a special musical performance.”
Jeff Carvalho, managing director of Highsnobiety, said, “Los Angeles has a fashion culture all its own. We’re so excited to partner with Barneys New York again to bring thedropLA@barneys to Angelenos, allowing them to experience the fashion they love in a totally new way.”
Miller said selecting L.A. for the second edition was “a natural fit” because it’s the company’s second-largest market. And the weekend will allow the store to tap into the city’s art, cultural and fashion scene.
On June 2, a number of designers will make personal appearances including Jerry Lorenzo of Fear of God, Heron Preston, Jeremy Scott of Moschino, Greg Lauren, Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg of Area, John Elliott, Chris Gibbs of Union Los Angeles, Eli Azran of RtA, Jon Buscemi of Buscemi, Ali Fatourechi of Adaptation, Francesco Ragazzi of Palm Angels, Rami Mona of Renzo Cardoni, Guillermo Andrade of 424, and Rhuigi Villaseñor of Rhude.
There will be live entertainment throughout the day with DJ sets from Heron Preston, Simi & Haze, Siobhan Bell and Mathematics. The day will conclude with a surprise musical performance presented in partnership with Live Nation.
On June 3, the store will host panel discussions with designers, models, stylists, artists, influencers and fashion industry insiders that will also be live-streamed by both the retailer and Highsnobiety. Topics will include the transformation of luxury, women in fashion and the Los Angeles creative community.
Among the activations planned are piercings by J. Colby Smith; custom “grillz” by Dolly Cohen Paris; tattoos by Fun City; custom Hey Reilly-designed screen printing; Balenciaga hand-painted graffiti sunglass cases; Faith Connexion handbag customization with artist Austin Blaisdell; Oliver Peoples custom cleaning cloth photo booth; Unistella nail art manicures; screen-printed temporary tattoos and dip dye sneaker customization.
This type of event is part of a larger trend toward experiential retailing and merchants from across the industry are battling the online juggernaut and seeking creative ways to attract customers to their brick-and-mortar locations. And events such as these are a prime example.
While Supreme is still the king of the drop, more-traditional retailers also want a piece of the action. Nordstrom launched Pop-in @ Nordstrom in 2013, a rotating series of pop-up shops at a handful of its key stores and online. Bergdorf Goodman has teamed with Kith on special capsule collections and popular in-store drops, and Bloomingdale’s has long hosted major themed promotions and special events.
Miller said while providing “breakthrough, disruptive experiences is a critical part of the customer journey today,” Barneys has found that customers still want to shop in stores.
“There’s a notion that young customers only shop online, but when we look at the analytics of the younger customer, more than 50 percent of those under 34 are still shopping in stores,” she said.