The flagship Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue have both recently undergone multi-million dollar revamps (and I’m not talking one or two million, I’m talking $30 million plus). Putting aside the fact that I was a major fan of both stores pre-revamp – particularly Bloomingdale’s whose main floor now looks more like a suburban mall than a swank department store – I can’t comprehend why with all of the economic problems we are facing and with all the dire sales numbers, major department stores would choose to spend their resources in this way.
In the same vein that I found Saks’ shoe floor to be completely over-hyped, I also think their 61,000 square foot third floor is somewhat of a disappointment. It has has been redone with 22 hard shops, 49 designer labels in total (including Chanel, Erdem, Doo.Ri, Marios Schwab, Proenza Schouler, Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Chloé, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Jil Sander, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Nina Ricci, Ralph Lauren Collection, Ralph Rucci, Valentino, Zac Posen, Martin Grant, and Derek Lam), and an expanded Fifth Avenue Club with 18 “suites,” a kitchen for serving lunch, a VIP room and Josie Natori-designed changing robes. Yes, it sounds swank, and there couldn’t be a more sumptuous array of designer names, but why the abundance of hard shops? When you shop at Barneys, for example, there is something so wonderfully easy and breezy about having little or no separation between the various designers so you can really focus on the clothes.
That said, it is clear that a lot of thinking went into the design of the space and there are a number of interesting touches. Thirty-two dress styles are currently on displayed, each of which were created by designers whose wears are for sale on the floor, to mark the opening of the new space. The floor also has the first in-store Giambattista Valli shop (though Valli has always been about the shoes for me).
Of course, Saks and Bloomingdale’s both see these revamps as investments for the future and hope that the new layouts and revamps will bolster sales in the near and long-term future and I truly hope that it pays off – even though going by my reaction and that of many of the fellow shoppers I know, it may put off some in the process.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.