In today's WWD, Barneys CEO and whip-cracker Mark Lee gives a succinct summary of his company plans: "Our overall goal is to ensure Barneys is really, truly the best specialty store in the world." Means to that end have recently included reinventing (and restaffing) it from head to toe, bringing in Carine Roitfeld for the windows, and finally merging the men's and women's co-ops. But he's aware of what the company was before all that: "Barneys began as a men's store, and it's had that heritage since 1923. That gives it a unique position in the world and we need to work on keep moving that forward."
The article points out that one person who kept their job amid all of the shuffling—"one constant," if you will—is Tom Kalenderian, the executive VP and general merchandise manager of menswear, whose been there for 30 years and worked under Fred Pressman. Together, him and Lee have taken to fine tuning the men's department by adding new lines and exclusives.
One new additions to the store include Piombo, an Italian luxury brand that will make it's U.S. debut exclusively at Barneys. To announce the arrival, Piombo is getting two things: windows dedicated to the brand that will create "sort of a tiny forest," and a party tonight. Another recent arrival is Andrea Campagna, which has been in the store for a few weeks and is "performing exceptionally well."
Lee says that on two, "We've created a luxury Italian floor with a new energy and a nice connection to the third floor," meaning that Fendi has recently arrived to keep Armani Black Label and Prada company. He adds that the third floor has some "special things there," including the return of Alexandre Plokhov and the arrival of Black Fleece, the line designed by Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers. As for what to expect in spring, Lee says that Michael Bastian is coming back, and handmade shirts from Salvatore Piccolo will hit the main floor.
To sum, Lee says, "Nobody does men's better than Barneys. Tom is fantastic. He's a direct link to Fred Pressman and Gene Pressman [Fred's son and a former co-ceo]. Tom and Barneys have always managed to find new, rare and exclusive product. With me jumping in, it's just pushed that up a notch."
· Barneys New York Boosts Scope of Men's Dept. [WWD, subscription req'd]
· "Barneys Is My Bodega:" Scenes from a Retail Reinvention [Racked NY]
· The Co-Ops Will Be Merging Inside the Madison Avenue Barneys [Racked NY]