by John Russel Jones

Saks Fifth Avenue has finished the first phase renovation of its seventh floor men’s Advanced Designer & Contemporary Ready-To-Wear department at its flagship New York City location. This portion includes 15 new shops, with 15 more to open by the end of the month, and even more by the end of 2022.

“This floor demonstrates the importance and power of Saks Fifth Avenue’s physical stores, as well as its digital platforms,” says SVP/GMM Louis DiGiacomo. “We want to be able to showcase product and demonstrate that we have the best assortments in the market.”

Powerful, indeed. The 40,000 square foot space is open and airy, stretching from the newly revealed Fifth Avenue windows all the way through to the mid-block “tower” area. Even that portion — still under renovation and occupying a portion of 623 Fifth Avenue, the 36-story building that was added in 1990 — will feel more connected to the rest of the floor, as a formerly solid surround of the escalator bank has been replaced with glass for a more expansive, connected feeling. Light gray imported Italian terrazzo tiles line the entire length of the level, tying the space together with the help of higher ceilings and bright, clear lighting. Designer shops flank either side of the department, from the elevator banks almost to the windows, with smaller shopping islands that also incorporate individual brand aesthetics, filling the center of the space. The result feels almost like shopping in an incredibly chic neighborhood. Wide aisles and stylish seating throughout the space allow for easy navigation and open sightlines while encouraging socializing.

The fifteen new shops include: Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Balmain, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Celine, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Givenchy, Gucci, Moncler, Palm Angels, Thom Browne, Valentino, and Versace.

Individual shop highlights include:

  • Alexander McQueen’s first concept shop designed by the brand’s Creative Director Sarah Burton in partnership with Chilean architect Smiljan Radic
  • Balenciaga’s first shop to reflect the brand’s new Raw Architecture concept, featuring stained and cracked concrete, oxidized steel, industrial lighting, and aged patina finishes
  • Balmain’s first men’s shop-in-shop in the United States featuring the brand’s new global concept
  • Burberry’s first concept shop in New York City reflecting the design of the brand’s Sloane Street flagship store in London
  • Celine’s first shop-in-shop in the United States, dedicated to Celine Homme.
  • Palm Angels first men’s shop-in-shop in the United States

Other shops due to open by end of the year include Dior, Louis Vuitton, Off-White, Saint Laurent Paris, BLK DNM, Celine, Frame, Jil Sander, June79, JW Anderson, Louis Vuitton, Maison Margiela, Martine Rose, Moussy, Nahmias, Nanushka, Wales Bonner, Who Decides War, and NSF. Spring 2023 will see the further addition of Bode, Comme des Garçons, Homme, Dickies, Drôle de Monsieur, Junya Watanabe, Sacai, Sky High Farm Workwear, and Undercover.

The floor’s denim selection moves to the tower area upon completion of that space’s renovation. The entire floor has been stitched to the store’s sixth floor — with its vaunted men’s shoe department that opened in 2019 — via a staircase encased in dichroic glass.

The Saks shopping experience isn’t only about Architectural Digest-worthy interiors, though: 50 tech-enabled Style Advisors with multi-brand product knowledge and the ability to connect customers with product in-store and online will also be deployed to assist customers and offer personal shopping sessions. Multilingual Service Advisors will also be on hand to help customers navigate the floor. This week, the Fifth Avenue store windows are also dedicated to the new section.

The concept will eventually be rolled out to the menswear departments of its other flagship stores (the store currently has 40 doors). This is just the latest step in Saks’ attempt to dominate the high-end menswear market. The store opened freestanding men’s stores in Boston in 2020 and Greenwich, Conn., in 2021, and expanded its footprint in Chicago by adding a third floor of menswear offerings.


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