“Saks Downtown may be our second store in NYC, but it is the first of its kind,” said Saks President Marc Metrick.
Designer RTW, handbags, and fine jewelry will appear side-by-side on Level One. Apothecary and fragrance brands have their own destination nearby. On Level Two, customers will find contemporary and advanced designer brands, fashion jewelry, as well as a 70-foot-long mirrored sunglasses display leading them to the covetable shoe department. Level Three hosts a reimagined Fifth Avenue Club for private styling consultations.
The strategy is to return to what luxury department stores used to do: a focus on brands shoppers can’t readily find at competitors, an emphasis up-and-coming brands, and personalized service. To that end, the Saks store will showcase edited assortments of 200 brands, with its own stylists playing a larger role in selecting what gets displayed.
For the new store, Saks also commissioned a cool group of New York-based designers to create exclusive, New York-themed pieces, including Public School, Opening Ceremony, Rag & Bone and Jonathan Simkhai. Gabriela Hearst, Rosie Assoulin and Johanna Ortiz are also featured.
Saks Downtown spans three floors over a total surface of 86,000 square feet and carries bigger brands too, including a large assortment of contemporary labels, from Vince, Tanya Taylor, MSGM, Theory, Rebecca Taylor Simone Rocha, Dries Van Noten, Monse, Tome and Cinq á Sept. It’s all merchandised in a modern, intuitive way and the store itself is beautifully designed with an understated color palette including rose gold and brass fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows all around the circular shop.
There are also gigantic sections dedicated to beauty and footwear, and seven rooms for stylist appointments. Saks Downtown also offers a service called the “Power Lunch,” which includes a style consultation, quick beauty treatment (like a makeup touch-up) and served lunch. There is even a new “Saks Save Me” hotline that distressed customers can call in case of a fashion emergency like a broken shoe or malfunctioning zipper on a gown. “Saks at Your Service Mercedes-Benz Sprinter,” same day delivery is also offered at the store.
The understated palette, featuring rose gold and brass fixtures throughout, unites the many brands while keeping with the luxurious and timeless style Saks is known for. The centerpiece of the store, designed in partnership with Found Associates, is a stepped amphitheater, dubbed “The Stadium”, rising vertically between the first and second floors. Designer installations will rotate in and out of the space. Vetements partnered with Saks to create the first installation, highlighting its fall collection.
London-based Artist Barry Reigate was commissioned to create a 220-foot-long by 12-foot-high mural running the full length of the shoes and sunglasses departments on Level Two. The graphic design is composed of interconnecting freestyle lines that play off the clean, crisp lines of the overall store design.
Saks Downtown will soon be facing more competition. Besides the new Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman is undergoing a massive remodeling. And Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are each opening their first-ever Manhattan stores in 2018, Neiman in the hot High Line area, and Nordstrom as the anchor of a luxury residential tower near Central Park South.
The New York luxury goods market. is estimated at $79 billion.
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