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Welcome to Shoe Week: a five-day celebration of all things footwear, from the best new arrivals to our favorite places to shop for heels, flats, and everything in between.
In 2012, three of the major department stores—Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's—all dramatically revamped their shoe departments. Noticeably missing from the list was Bergdorf Goodman, but not for long. Late last month, the company announced it would expand its shoe salon by 20%.
After the jump, we've listed everything Bergdorf would need to do to surpass the other three salons, using the same criteria we used to measure them up in last year's Shoe Department Showdown. Read on to see how BG might stack up if it plays its cards right.
1. The general vibe
Out of all three stores, this category came down to Barneys vs. Saks, with Macy's eliminated early for being "like a 16+ club." Overall, Barneys took the win—largely because it was just as elegant as Saks, but quieter and people were speaking with "indoor voices." To top this, Bergdorf would probably need to ban any conversation higher than 35 decibles, which registers to the normal human ear as background noise—or, the feverish opening of shoe boxes.
2. The decor
Tough call. Saks was "bubbly, sparkly, and glitzy," while Barneys was "luxe, posh, and elegant." (Macy's, unfortunately, was "trendy, monochrome, and youthful"). To beat out both Saks and Barneys, ideally Bergdorf would need to become a hybrid of both—six characteristics which might be accurately personified by someone like Diane von Furstenberg.
3. The music
So long as Bergdorf doesn't play "forgettable, updated elevator music" like Saks, "loud Top 40 spun by an actual DJ" like Macy's, or Foster the People, they should be good.
4. The attentiveness of the sales staff
In this category, the sales associates at Barneys straddled the line of distant and over-eager perfectly. Our reporter noted they were "present and willing to help, but not pushy." Also, they had a "good noses for shoppers versus browsers." The sales associates at Bergdorf's new salon would do well to replicate this strategy, which could easily be enhanced by the offering of free snacks.
5. How comfortable the seats are
On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being a ditch by the side of the road and 10 being a fluffy pink cloud, Barneys and Saks both came in at a 7, with Macy's trailing behind at a 5. To pull an 8 or higher, we suggest Bergdorf invest in an actual, fluffy pink cloud.
6. The highest heel available
The winner here was a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti platform booties at Saks, clocking in at a whopping eight inches with hidden platform. That shit is child's play to Bergdorf, who carries this Giuseppe Zanotti heel with an eight inch molded wedge and a five inch statement platform. Also, it's covered in crystals.
7. The most expensive shoe
At the time our showdown was conducted, Saks was pushing a nude bedazzled pair of Chrisitan Louboutins, priced at a jaw-dropping $6,395. For now, it's a forfeit.
8. The cheapest shoe
Bergdorf would have to beat Macy's Penny Loves Kenny jelly flip-flops, which were just $4.99. Also a forfeit.
9. Notable celebrities to attend the debut
After Macy's debuted its new shoe salon, it was rumored that Oprah came by to check it out. Bergdorf could probably only beat that with the combination of Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Blue Ivy—or Michelle Obama.
· Shoe Department Showdown: Saks, Macy's, and Barneys [Racked NY]
· Bergdorf Goodman Prepares to Renovate Just About Everything [Racked NY]
· All Shoe Week 2013 Coverage [Racked NY]