Barneys is back—though the iconic New York retailer looks a little different in 2021.
After a long, bumpy road through bankruptcy and a buyout, the Barneys name has finally been resurrected at Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship in Midtown Manhattan. Unlike a run-of-the-mill brand shop-in-shop, the Barneys experience, which opened to the public on Friday, takes up 54,000 square feet—a whole department—on the fifth floor.
Like its namesake, the Barneys department at Saks showcases the latest in trend-forward luxury, with a special focus on emerging designers. Rotating popup shops and engaging activations will be a staple of the Barneys at Saks experience. To kick off the launch, Saks has brought in a number of fashion newcomers to curate their own mini shops, including Anna Mason, BruceGlen, Fear of God, Loulou Studio, Ree Projects, and Reese Cooper, with men’s and women’s merch presented together, for the first time, on a single floor at the New York store.
A number of these designers are also being featured in the store’s well-known window displays through Feb. 8 to promote the Barneys unveiling.
“We are excited to activate the next phase of our Barneys New York strategy in the form of a new shopping experience at Saks,” said Jarrod Weber, group president of lifestyle and chief brand officer at Authentic Brands Group, owner of Barneys New York since 2019. “Barneys is an iconic, luxury brand,” and the launch of Barneys at Saks is “a seminal moment to reignite the brand for the future within the current luxury retail environment,” he added.
Authentic Brands first inked a deal with Saks in late 2019 after it took control of Barneys New York, naming the legacy department store its exclusive retailer and e-commerce destination. The duo had planned on executing on a Barneys presence at the department store’s New York City flagship sometime last year, but amid the unending tumult of a year filled with hardships for retail, the rebirth had to wait.
“We are excited to bring Barneys at Saks to life in a way that is relevant for today’s luxury consumer with a strong focus on discovery and the unexpected,” Tracy Margolies, chief merchant at Saks, said in a statement.
“As an extension of Saks’ current luxury offering, Barneys at Saks will offer unparalleled fashion from a wide range of emerging brands alongside labels that Saks customers already know and love,” she added. “We look forward to welcoming our customers to this inspiring destination, where we will continue to cultivate up-and-coming designers and offer unique ways to experience fashion at Saks.”
The retailer’s newly revamped website also features a curated selection of Barneys at Saks products, and Saks will also be highlighting the collaboration on its social media channels through a campaign featuring floor tours, influencer takeovers and spotlights on emerging designers, using the hashtag #BarneysatSaks.
As the pandemic continues to curtail consumer spending, Saks has introduced video conferencing capabilities allowing shoppers to virtually browse the store, including the Barneys at Saks department, with the help of a style advisor. Shoppers can also book appointments to visit the location before or after public store hours, with dressing rooms prepared in advance with pre-selected styles. Manhattan customers can also place orders for same-day delivery via email, phone or a virtual styling appointment.
The flagship has also introduced a fast-casual restaurant, Honeybrains, where shoppers can find dishes that promote brain health, each vetted by a neurologist and a dietician. The dining experience will also feature an outpost in the Barneys at Saks department where consumers can purchase grab-and-go snacks, coffees and pressed juices.
The New York flagship isn’t the only Barneys debut taking place this winter. On Jan. 25, Saks will open the doors to its first Barneys at Saks standalone store in the posh Connective town of Greenwich. The 14,000-square-foot location, which formerly housed the retailer’s The Collective specialty store, will serve as a testing ground for Saks to serve the men’s market in Greenwich for the first time.