September 19, 2007

the big day is here.


the barneys in san francisco is finally open!

i stopped by there today to check it out and get a feel for the merchandise and decor. first off, the store is absolutely gorgeous. the architecture was a joint effort between jeffrey hutchinson & associates and gensler, and the goal was to preserve the vintage aspects of the building (it was built in 1909, was later home to joseph magnin department store and later fao schwartz) with barneys touches.

artist john-paul philippe designed the bronze grilles on the outside of the building as well as the art that graces certain departments.

when i arrived at the store, simon doonan, barneys creative director was checking things out, making sure that all the displays, etc. were in tip top shape. i got to talk to him briefly about the store windows and san francisco fashion. he said the inspiration for the windows was really about introducing barneys to san francisco, so they used images from the barneys archives–past ads and campaign images along with the mannequins. he said that later this fall, the windows will have a green theme and the store has paired up with alice waters’ edible garden project, where children will do drawings that will appear in the windows. when i asked simon what he thought about san francisco fashion, he said women here are much more sophisticated now, very worldly, and that this is the city of the counterculture…”if you care about what others think of your clothes, you’re living in the wrong city.” so true, simon.

the balenciaga mannequins

inside the store on the first floor, there’s fine jewelry and tons of bags. lanvin, prada, givenchy and lesser seen brands like dries van noten, marni, and valextra (but no balenciaga…i was seriously bummed)! instead of an escalator, the store has a large grand staircase with the same bronze trimming as outside. the stairs lead to the mezzanine level, also known as shoe mecca. louboutin, prada, derek lam, blahnik, chloé, balenciaga, plus cheaper (ha!) brands like sigerson morrison, marc by marc and moschino cheap and chic. the third floor is reserved for designer collections, and i was happy to see lines like anne klein, rick owens, vionnet (barneys exclusives all), balenciaga, proenza schouler, and l’wren scott. they also had a small rack of clothes by the row, and i was pleasantly surprised by it. there was a great lightweight leather jacket with front draping, hip slung trousers, and a gorgeous tuxedo blazer (along with their signature t-shirts).

the co-op department

on the fourth floor is the co-op department. in the center are glass cases with jewelry and against the wall are handbags by marc by marc, phillip lim, bing bing, and sunglasses. designers include diane vonfurstenberg, vena cava, mayle, helmut lang, rag & bone, and more. there’s a big section for theory, vince, and t-shirts by splendid, c&c, and james perse.

there’s a huge denim section (with a cool mannequin dressed in a denim “ballgown”) with designers like 18th amendment, earnest sewn, acne, and tsubi. even though they carry seven and citizens, the co-op department has limited edition washes and cuts that aren’t available elsewhere. the basement level holds “the foundation” with beauty and skincare, those famous frédéric malle perfume chambers, more bags by marc jacobs and miu miu, sunglasses, and chelsea passage, the home (furnishings) section.

all of the salespeople were very friendly (asking me how i liked the store, did i need help, etc.) and they did a great job incorporating the existing architecture while still making the store fresh and hip.