Retail Detail. Saks Goes Contemporary

February 4, 2009 • Shopping


Saks Fifth
is trying to find a way to stay afloat during this recession. Their answer? The contemporary market. Last month, Saks unveiled a fresh approach
to the category, including a redesign of a 3,600-square-foot section of
its contemporary department, featuring 15 of Saks’ newest labels at the Fifth Avenue flagship. Can you say Barneys Co-Op?

So what makes the chosen
collections so special? Joseph
Boitano, senior vice president, general merchandising manager sees them as the best of contemporary’s

designers have the potential to become its future core vendors, moving
out of this space allowing us to highlight new emerging designers,” he
said. “We chose them not because of a common aesthetic, but rather that
each have their own distinctive voice. Whether it be the quirky
femininity of Rachel Comey or the urbanity of Helmut Lang, in the new
space each brand is able to present a clear and strong message, which
then allows our customers to be their own editors, interpreting the
trends for [their] lifestyle.”

From a fashion perspective, the
collections, which may change from season to season, are considered
part of the market’s cooler offerings. They have a certain hip factor
that resonates with the downtown set and is reflected aesthetically in
their surroundings, situated just beyond the Marc by Marc Jacobs
section of the floor.

Plans for the redesign started about
eight months ago, before the worst of the economic news hit. “We
started this concept because we’ve had a very strong contemporary
business, and we’re going after it in a more aggressive way,” Boitano
noted. “Contemporary has weathered the economy more than most areas,
and it’s bringing a new and younger customer to Saks.” 


Hanii Y, Rag & Bone, Organic

So who made the cut? Joseph Boitano told WWD why the 15 collections in
Saks’ new contemporary space are must-haves.

Clu: “Through fit and fabric, Clu has raised the bar with their T-shirts.”

Elizabeth and James: “Effortlessly combines masculine and feminine elements with men’s wear-inspired blazers and delicate dresses.”

Geren Ford: “Pop colors and feminine details amplify her tops and dresses.”

“Former Vogue fashion writer Aimee Cho may have started with the
perfect trench, but she has seamlessly evolved her brand into a
well-edited, item-driven collection.”

Hanii Y: “Casual yet refined, Hanii Yoon plays perfectly with proportion, color and abstract prints.”

Haute Hippie:
“Bringing together the embellished and the basic, product ranges from
leggings to sequined tank dresses and feather boleros meant to be
layered together.”

Helmut Lang: “Urban and
minimalist. Nicole and Michael Colovos have evolved the brand for the
contemporary customer without veering too far from the classic Helmut
Lang aesthetic. Highlights this season include their leather leggings,
classic denim and motorcycle jacket with feminine knit details.”

Organic: “Eco-friendly, fashion-forward product that doesn’t compromise on style or the environment.”

Rachel Comey: “Vintage-inspired prints and knitwear with unexpected, often quirky details that tell a strong story.”

Rag & Bone:
“[Designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright’s] British tailoring
influence is seen in their well-tailored jackets, classic button-down
shirts and perfectly fit denim.”

See by Chloé:
“Feminine, eclectic clothing that plays with pattern, volume and
proportion, highlighted by dresses and skirts in colorful prints.”

Superfine: “The perfect skinny jean with unique washes and treatments inspired by the British rock scene.”

Twenty8Twelve: “Designed by Sienna and Savannah Miller, the brand wonderfully interprets London ‘It’ girl style for our customer.”

Vena Cava: “Romantic fabrications and artisan-inspired details are what sets apart this original and sophisticated collection.”

What Comes Around Goes Around:
bohemian brand is complemented by actual vintage items, such as
perfectly worn-in Levi’s, to give you the slouchy boyfriend jean look.”

Source: WWD

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