Saks Fifth Avenue Breathes New Life into Barneys New York

Barry Samaha
·3 min read
Photo credit: Luis Guillén/Saks Fifth Avenue
Photo credit: Luis Guillén/Saks Fifth Avenue

From Harper's BAZAAR

Barneys New York is back. The storied luxury retailer, which filed for bankruptcy and closed its iconic Madison Avenue store last year, has been resurrected by Saks Fifth Avenue in name and spirit.

Today, Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled a store within a store on the fifth floor of its flagship in New York. The expansive 54,000-square-foot space, aptly titled Barneys at Saks, aims to continue the reputation of unearthing and promoting emerging designers Barneys New York built during the near century it was in business. To wit: Brands like The Row, Rick Owens, and Proenza Schouler owe a great deal of their success to the support they received from the erstwhile fashion powerhouse.

Photo credit: Luis Guillen/Saks Fifth Avenue
Photo credit: Luis Guillen/Saks Fifth Avenue

“When conceptualizing Barneys at Saks, we focused on three core pillars to bring the brand to life in a way that is relevant for today’s luxury consumer, while celebrating the spirit of Barneys New York—discovery, the unexpected, and fun,” says Tracy Margolies, chief merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue, to BAZAAR.com. "We are excited to bring the Barneys of the future to our customers and plan to use these pillars to guide our merchandise strategy and the overall Barneys at Saks experience."

Margolies and her team started by scouring the market to find the right burgeoning brands that best represent this ethos. They landed on Fear of God, the Los Angeles–based cult label designed by Jerry Lorenzo, which offers languid suits and tailored sweats; Victor Glemaud, a New York designer beloved by the fashion insiders for his sleek and vibrant knit dresses; Stella Jean, an Italian designer who creates collections filled with exuberant prints on ’50s-style silhouettes; A-COLD-WALL*, the London-based label founded by Samuel Ross that hypebeasts fawn over; and more. Each of these talents has a distinct point of view, offering men and women with discerning tastes a wide range of selections. Barneys at Saks marks the first time men’s and women’s merchandise have lived on the same floor at the flagship.

Photo credit: Luis Guillén/Saks Fifth Avenue
Photo credit: Luis Guillén/Saks Fifth Avenue

Labels were also given the opportunity to completely customize mini shops to really message their brand identity to shoppers. “For example, BruceGlen decorated their space with the brand’s ‘happy print’ with bright and bold colors,” Margolies describes. “They selected this print for their shop to make customers smile and feel joy during this unprecedented time.”

The fifth floor is also the home of Honeybrains, a new health-focused food and beverage counter that, as Margolies says, adds to the “fun and unexpected shopping experience.” Come January 25, a standalone Barney at Saks will open in Greenwich, Connecticut. And Margolies shares that both the outpost and flagship space will constantly evolve with new pop-ups, innovative displays, and products that uphold the legacy of Barneys New York.

Photo credit: Luis Guillén/Saks Fifth Avenue
Photo credit: Luis Guillén/Saks Fifth Avenue

“Barneys at Saks will continue to serve as an incubator of newness and a space for emerging designers to bring their vision and story to Saks,” Margolies says. “We always strive to provide customers with the best edit where and when they want it, and we will continue to evolve Barneys at Saks with that goal in mind.”

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