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Looking for a private, pink-hued two-story suite with a view of the Hollywood Sign in which to try on the latest designer looks?
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Look no further than the top floor of Saks Fifth Avenue’s new Beverly Hills store which opens to the public on Feb. 8, inside the 130,000-square-foot building at 9570 Wilshire Boulevard that once housed Barneys New York.
Dubbed the Hollywood Suite, the airy, intimate space is one of a total of 15 private salons located on the fifth floor of the new department store, which Saks has renovated to the tune of $52 million.
The suites — along with an outdoor dining terrace affording views of the Hollywood Hills — comprise the Fifth Avenue Club, the private-client shopping and styling services area of the store (which also has its own direct elevator to whisk clients up to the fifth floor). But while the word “club” might sound like something akin to the retail version of Soho House, John Antonini, Saks’ svp, director of stores, explains that “these personal shopping services are by appointment only, but free of charge. Anybody can sign up for them to meet with a personal shopper. Many of our clients develop lifelong relationships with our shoppers and we curate lifestyle ready wardrobes.”
Shoppers who book these services can enjoy a suite that’s decidedly elevated and sumptuously decorated — and can be curated to look and operate almost like its own boutique. On a tour of the new Saks just ahead of the opening, one such space was already kitted out for a client, with designer dresses hung around the room, accessories tastefully on display and champagne at the bar, all catered to the shopper’s aesthetic. “Our shopper has curated items from the building, pulled things in from Saks.com, looked at things from brands that are special order — everything just for her,” says Bo Kim, vice president and general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills.
The Fifth Avenue Club shares its floor with a nearly 4,000-square-foot Chanel shop-in-shop. There are also three generously apportioned boutique spaces devoted to Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, which are located on the second floor. “Gucci, Dior and Louis Vuitton contain the entire offering of these brands, from leather goods and accessories to women’s ready-to-wear to their own fine and fashion jewelry businesses,” says Antonini, adding that these shop-in-shops have their own sitting areas and dedicated fitting rooms. “There are these unique spaces for more intimacy and privacy,” he says. The second floor is also dedicated to both high and fine jewelry, featuring such brands as Chopard, Graff, Lorraine Schwartz, Anita Ko, Repossi, Vhernier and Foundrae, as well as a private viewing suite for trying on special pieces.
One thing inveterate shoppers will note is that this new Saks Fifth Avenue store has preserved the Regency-style marble staircase as well as the impressive skylight that highlighted the old Barneys store. “We’ve really left the centerpiece of the building untouched,” says Antonini.
But the rest of the property basically underwent a gut renovation, which began two years ago. The building had sat empty after Barneys New York went bankrupt in 2019. That opened the way for Saks to move from its longtime, eight-floor Hollywood Regency home a block to the west, which it had occupied since 1938. One appeal of the new address is that it’s that much closer to Rodeo Drive, which Antonini predicts will make for more walk-in customers. The move also is part of a larger master plan — Saks’ owner, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) has plans to redevelop the original Saks store as a mixed-use site and construct additional office and residential buildings. The longtime Saks men’s store, also located on Wilshire Boulevard, will remain in place. “What this becomes is an extremely exciting block where our two Saks Fifth Avenue stores anchor a beautiful redevelopment of Wilshire that will have lots of different components to it,” says Antonini.
On the ground floor, the new Saks women’s store is devoted almost entirely to shoes, with some handbags in the mix. “We have doubled the square footage that we dedicate to women’s shoes,” says Antonini.
Just below, on the lower level, makeup, fragrances and skincare items beckon shoppers, featuring brands including Charlotte Tilbury, La Mer, Tom Ford, Le Labo, Dr. Barbara Sturm, Santa Maria Novella, and 111Skin. There are also three spa-like rooms for by-appointment beauty treatments. “If anyone needed a facial or complimentary makeup application, all of that is done in these three amazing rooms,” says Kim, also noting that the Saks.com services window (for returns and for items bought online for in-store pick-up) is located on the lower level.
Two more floors (levels three and four) feature yet more women’s clothes with more shop-in-shops and spotlighting such brands as Brunello Cucinelli, Akris, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Celine, Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Fendi, Loewe, Thom Browne, Valentino and more. More than 25 new brands are available for the first time at Saks in Beverly Hills.
Design elements throughout the new store deftly mix the modern and the elegant, with geometric lighting fixtures, rich textiles, pops of playful color and metallic finishes, all overseen by Saks in-house design department which worked with retail architects at Arcadis. A nice touch that New York Saks shoppers will note is that the interiors of the elevators are finished with pastel-hued milky dichroic laminate, similar to the look of the OMA/Rem Koolhaas-designed escalator at Saks’ Manhattan flagship.
And for shoppers who would like a cocktail or champagne to enjoy while they peruse, there are QR codes posted throughout the store, allowing visitors to order drinks via Apple Pay to be delivered wherever they like. “We have a liquor license for the entire building,” says Antonini.
Adds Antonini, “Los Angeles is after New York City for us, the most important market from a luxury retail perspective in the United States. We have been here for over 80 years. We believe we’re entrenched in the community. We have thousands and thousands of loyal local clients who have always enjoyed the saks experience, but it was time for us to take it to a new level.”
Scroll on for more photos of the new Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills women’s store:
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