Want to see some fancy footwork?
Step into Bloomingdale’s 59th Street New York Flagship and its 5th floor shoe department aka The Heart of Shoe York. The 27,000 square-foot “reimagined” department combines the original Contemporary (2nd floor) and Designer (4th floor) shoe floors into one new renovated space. The result is a unique mix of new and existing brands, and a whole new shopping approach to footwear.
“This revamp is in response to how women actually shop these days, “says Jennifer Jones, Bloomingdale’s OVP DMM/Women’s Shoes. “The big win here is having contemporary all the way up to designer. I watched a woman in the Jimmy Choo boutique try on a pair of Dolce Vita shoes. And you know what? She bought them both. It’s not an either/or proposition. This new floor format also lets women who buy contemporary get exposed to our salon brands and finally get her first pair of true designer shoes.”
Prices run a very broad gamut, starting at $28 for Havaianas flip flops and go up to $1,500 or $3,000 for something from Chanel or Dior (not counting a $17,000 one-off croco item from Chanel). It’s a high/low approach to shopping, all in one place, with a sweet spot in the designer/contemporary space.
Nine shoe boutiques have been added around the perimeter including Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Fendi, Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and others, each retaining their own brand DNA. In addition, Tory Burch and Stuart Weitzman branded shops capture the brands’ respective lifestyles with other items such as handbags.
On the main floor, shoes are grouped by brands and/or trend on marble tables (such as White, Brights, Pastels, etc.), with new brands from AQUA, Castaner, Chiara Ferragni, Creatures of Comfort, Joshua Sanders, Kenzo, P448, Schutz and Zespa. Notable is the launch of footwear into Bloomingdale’s private brand Aqua.
“The response to this has been fantastic as an answer to fast fashion,” notes Jones, with styles hitting all the trends at highly competitive price points. A pair of black studded mules was $99.
While Bloomingdale’s has always been aggressive with its proprietary 100% Bloomingdale’s branded exclusives, the shoe floor takes this one step further with its “100% Bloomingdale’s Exclusives for 59th Street” program featuring 34 shoes that can only be purchased in this location. “In addition to New Yorkers, who are always looking for something they can’t get anywhere else, this location is a big draw for tourists who want something exclusive on their visit to New York,” notes Jones.
Exclusive models are highlighted in vitrines and for sale on the floor as well. When creating their exclusives, many designers drew inspiration from Bloomingdale’s New York City heritage.
No detail has been spared in the creation of the floor. From USB ports behind the couches so women can charge their phones (or their guys can chill with their phones while their ladies shop), to the built-in pedi sock boxes to keep things neat and organized.
Another bonus? Custom-fit shoes from brands like M. Gemi and Margaux ballet flats offer customization that Bloomingdale’s has long valued. And for any footwear followups, visitors can utilize the location’s new Cobbler Concierge service, offering leather repair for men’s and women’s shoes as well as handbags.
ATHLETIC AND ATHLEISURE
Sneakers feature in prominently, both from an active and a fashion standpoint, with mannequins on stationary bikes to call out the department. Women can even purchase fitbits to start counting steps once they leave with their purchases.
Auxiliary add-ons like fun laces, lace locks, shoe-cleaning wipes and travel kits are sold to keep sneakers up to date and encourage personalization.
“We will be hosting events with artists doing live painting on sneakers, but fun laces and other add-ons is a way for consumers to style their sneakers all the time,” says Jones.
The floor has much more than just shoes. Personal appearances factor in strongly as well, with designers coming to the store to greet customers. For example, Mark Badgley & James Mischka (April 6); Sarah Jessica Parker (April 7th); and Brian Atwood, whose April 20th appearance will include a tequila tasting.
Also planned is a series of panel discussions called In Her Shoes. “This will be a monthly series with influencers, tastemakers, etc., who will talk about topics that influence women,” says Erica Russo, Bloomingdale’s Fashion Director. “It’s not necessarily about shoes, but we wanted to create experiential events on the floor that get women excited to attend.”
Of course, there are selfie moments, such as a selfie mirror with flashing words (that stop when you snap their photo or can be streamed for video), complete with a backwards stenciled #BLOOMIES59 hashtag that appears forward in the mirror.
To draw attention to the new shoe floor, Bloomingdale’s commissioned artists to create giant shoes, which are positioned around the entire store from the main floor up to the 8th floor. From giant graffiti-covered pumps to sneakers that engaged consumers with the sticker invite to “Dot It Up!” the shoes underscore Bloomingdale’s love for the dramatic, with many of the artists drawing on Bloomingdale’s New York City heritage.