Barneys Unveils Downtown Flagship

2/17/2016
Barneys New York, the luxury specialty retailer, has completed its new downtown flagship. The opening in Chelsea on 7th Avenue between 16th St. and 17th St. marks the return of the store to the same block that the company was founded on in 1923, and where it maintained an iconic presence through the late 1990s. The store will occupy almost an entire city block giving a new presence to the 7th Avenue streetscape, and offering a timeless luxury shopping experience for downtown customers.

Designed by award-winning New York-based architectural firm Steven Harris Architects, the new 55,000-square-foot flagship, spanning five floors, will include men's and women's RTW, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, a Blind Barber barbershop, and a Freds restaurant, with a luxurious and modern aesthetic consistent with the Barneys New York brand.

While Barneys New York returns to its original roots, the architecture, technology, services and overall experience reflect the ever-evolving modern store it has become today. State-of-the-art technology and mobile applications enhance the selling experience; beauty and shopping services will cater to those who value time as a luxury; and the restaurant is a nod to Freds on Madison Avenue, but with a menu all its own that emphasizes drinks and small plates. 

The Downtown flagship will carry the curated and discerning edit of merchandise for which Barneys New York is known, and will reflect a neighborhood luxury shopping experience. Top designers such as Dries Van Noten, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent will be available, as well as XO "Exclusively Ours" brands such as Baraboux handbags, and fragrances from Douglas Little.  The Downtown flagship will also launch exclusive capsule collections from Valentino, Alexander Wang, Elder Statesman, and Sidney Garber, among others. 

"The opening of our new Downtown flagship is a unique homecoming for Barneys New York," said Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee. "Born as a single brick-and-mortar location over 90 years ago, Barneys New York returns to the same New York City block as a modern 21st-century retail force that will offer the downtown customer a unique and unprecedented customer experience."

The thriving Madison Avenue flagship will maintain its presence as the largest Barneys New York store and, coupled with the smaller neighborhood stores in Brooklyn and the Upper West Side, further pays homage to the deep-routed relationship between Barneys and New York City. 

To celebrate this longstanding bond, Barneys' Spring 2016 campaign entitled "Our Town," shot by Bruce Weber, aims to honor the way that New York City continues to inspire the brand as a whole. The campaign features both portraits and short films highlighting iconic New Yorkers spanning from notable faces such as Bobby Cannavale, Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono, and Patti Smith, to local characters like iconic Italian restaurant Rao's owner, Frank Pellegrino, and nightlife icon Ladyfag. The images and films of "Our Town" depict New York through Weber's eyes, and find the humanity, individuality, and soul of each eccentric character and location, truly showcasing the diversity and beauty of the city.

Flagship design
The Barneys New York team collaborated with award-winning New York-based architectural firm Steven Harris Architects on the Downtown flagship store. The new Downtown flagship store design continues the partnership with Steven Harris Architects that began in early 2012 with renovations at the Madison Avenue and Beverly Hills locations.  Under the direction of founding architect Steven Harris and designer Lucien Rees Roberts, the Barneys New York flagships serve as a unique example of retail design for the residential visionaries.  Lalire March Architects serve as the Executive Architect on the project. 

"The store is completely unique compared to any other store downtown.  It is subtle but inordinately luxurious," said Steven Harris.  "We wanted to create a calm and tranquil environment with a neutral but richly varied color palate that truly highlights the merchandise."

The exterior of the Downtown flagship store is defined by the 170 foot stainless steel marquee running along the 7th Avenue faÇade and wrapping the corner of 16th Street.  The striking store front provides ample space for Barneys' world-renowned window displays, with two feature windows on 7th Avenue, and three additional windows providing views into the store.

A central atrium with an exquisite spiral staircase provides views of the adjoining floors and encourages shoppers to discover the space.  The vast sculptural stair connects the lower Foundation level to the third floor, and serves as an ode to the store design of the original Barneys.  The atrium features glass with a custom abstract design of mirrored vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines inspired by Agnes Martin and Fred Sandback.

The new flagship's ground level will highlight men's and women's leather goods and accessories, as well as women's fine jewelry.  A volume of black nero marble, carefully placed between the exterior and interior, marks the entry and becomes a dramatic display wall for jewelry.  Mirror polished stainless steel clad columns, evocative of John McCracken's work, further open up the space, while hand rubbed brass accents add a level of warmth.  Biomorphic shaped tables made from granite and marble display a curated selection of leather goods and accessories.

The Foundation level, housed one level below the ground level, will feature cosmetics, skincare, fragrances, and men's grooming.  In staying consistent with Madison and Beverly Hills, the Downtown flagship shares similar aesthetic elements, defined by sculptural white textured walls designed with an abstract motif, white terrazzo flooring, and custom-designed cosmetic stools with polished stainless steel frames and cognac leather seats.  Barneys partnered with barbershop and lifestyle brand Blind Barber to create a dedicated alcove space for men's treatments such as shaves and haircuts, featuring the barber's signature offerings as well as some elevated treatments that are exclusive to its Barneys outpost.  The Blind Barber area will also serve beer and cocktails to bring a sense of camaraderie back to the barbershop.

On the second floor, women's shoes and ready-to-wear will be featured.  Shoes will be displayed against a rich backdrop of floor to ceiling marble.  Lush upholstery fabrics such as mohair and velvet, paired with sculptural brass tables, provide customers with a luxurious and residential-like feel.

Men's footwear and ready-to-wear can be found on the third floor, which is designed using darker earth tones such as moss, slate blue and camel.  Sportswear, men's furnishings, and accessories are illuminated by natural light for a modernized feel.  Personal shopping suites will be on the fourth floor for a more private experience.

Freds
In conjunction with the Downtown store opening, the iconic Freds at Barneys New York will also open its first ever downtown location on the third floor of Barneys.  Traditionally known as a power lunch destination, Freds at the Downtown flagship will also boast a menu of light bites and cocktails.  Executive Chef Mark Strausman is overseeing the modern Italian menu, taking inspiration from the Freds outposts in Madison, Beverly Hills, and Chicago, but updating it with exclusive dishes to serve the downtown audience.

A 36 foot site-specific mural by Los Angeles-based painter Conor Thompson serves as a unique design focal point in the restaurant.  In the vibrant panoramic oil painting, Thompson merges figurative and abstract elements into motifs of the dinner table and painter's palette.  Upon entry, there is a 30 foot onyx marble bar and a custom faceted mirror on one side, with lounge seating on the opposite side.  A more formal dining area can be found around the corner from the bar into the L-shaped restaurant.  The dÉcor, similar to Freds in Beverly Hills, will feature marble tables, terrazzo floors, and rosewood paneling.  Uniforms for the restaurant service staff have been exclusively designed by New York based designer and founder of ATM, Anthony Thomas Melillo.

Digital innovation and customer experience
To further elevate the shopping experience in the Downtown flagship, Barneys is using state-of-the-art technology to integrate digital aspects into the brick and mortar store.  Barneys is the first luxury retailer to launch iBeacon technology as a way to share rich multimedia content like videos, look books and designer interviews to inform and entertain the customer.  Beacons throughout the store have the ability to deliver to a customer's mobile device to send personalized recommendations of content from The Window, Barneys' luxury editorial site, to users who choose to opt-in for this experience.  The use of iBeacon technology creates a seamless and efficient shopping experience for the knowledgeable Barneys customer.

Barneys also built a custom clienteleing system, which uses customer-centric personalization that connects online and offline behaviors and preferences so that sales associates may better serve their clients.  The clienteleing app is available on associates' iPads, which are also used as mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) devices with Apple Pay, the easy, secure and private way to pay with iPhone or Apple Watch.  With this new feature, Barneys will be able to enhance the customer experience through highly-informed associates, better background information on brands and products of interest to each individual consumer, and ease of purchasing.

"The customer experience in this store runs parallel in importance to the design, product and historic location," said Barneys New York COO, Daniella Vitale. "We want the customer to feel as though anything is possible when they walk into the store.  With the seamless integration of technology, our incredible staff, and a deep appreciation of our customer, we really do feel that everything is possible."

In recent years Barneys has placed an increased focus on the digital experience.  The recent redesign of its digital platforms – barneys.com, and thewindow.barneys.com – further demonstrate the brand's position as the first luxury retailer to use responsive design, content, and consumer insights to bring a more personalized and editorially-driven experience to customers.  As another method of optimizing custom service, same day delivery is now available in Manhattan and select areas of Brooklyn.

Charitable partnership
To further pay homage to the history of its original location, Barneys is taking inspiration from its iconic 1986 "Denim Jacket" event and updating it with a modern twist through a unique online charity auction with Christie's auction house this March.  "The Black Leather Jacket" will benefit two iconic New York nonprofit institutions: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Center, and art-space White Columns.  In 1986 Barneys partnered with prominent designers and artists including Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent to put their spin on a deconstructed denim jacket to be auctioned off for an AIDS charity at an event with Madonna, Debbie Harry, Iman and more.

For a modernized spin on the denim jackets, Barneys is partnering with top artists and designers to create one of a kind leather motorcycle jackets that will be available for browsing and bidding at Christies.com/TheBlackLeatherJacket starting March 1st through March 22.  Jackets from designers Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant, Dries Van Noten, Tim Coppens, Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, Azzedine Alaia, and artists Helmut Lang, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Dan Colen, Anicka Yi, Borna Sammak, Glenn Ligon, Kim Gordon, Lisa Yuskavage, Marilyn Minter, Nate Lowman, Rob Pruitt, Sterling Ruby, Susan Cianciolo, and Ugo Rondinone, will all be auctioned with Christie's New York, with proceeds benefiting White Columns and The Center.

Similar to Barneys, White Columns is known for fostering young undiscovered talent and providing them with a space to flourish.  Matthew Higgs, director of White Columns, has a discerning eye for discovering fresh and unconventional artists and giving them an opportunity to showcase their work.

The Center is a local community center that empowers LGBT people to lead healthy and successful lives through a variety of wellness programs, cultural events, and supportive services.  Barneys New York has a longstanding partnership with The Center, and has supported the organization through past projects including the Spring 2014 campaign, "Brothers, Sisters, Sons, and Daughters," shot by Bruce Weber that featured 17 transgender men and women.  The LGBT Center is also prominently featured in the Spring 2016 "Our Town" campaign, with "Tangerine" star Mya Taylor and nightlife icon Ladyfag shot alongside young members of the community center. 
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