Friday, July 20, 2012

It's Fashion Friday!: Barneys - You're Not Purple And You Don't Sing... Please Don't Change.

I would walk in here and drool like a St Bernard on a hot day.

Very recently, a dear friend of mine, who I lovingly refer to as “Little One” moved forward in her career. She stepped up from being a successful sales associate for Bottega Veneta to selling accessories for Barneys. I’ve never really considered Barneys a huge presence in the Boston area, although I do love going into their Copley location. The buyers for their salon shoe department don’t even have to hit the nail on the head; they double dowel, screw and glue. I can’t remember a single time I’ve walked through there and thought, “What were they thinking?” I wish I had enough money to shop there. Regardless, since Little One kept me sane in my final months working at my worst job of all time, I decided that in her honor I would write up something on her new employer.
            Coincidentally, Barneys flagship (660 Madison Ave) opened a new SHOE FLOOR at the beginning of this week. You did read that right. A Floor. 22,000 square feet of high end, artfully chosen, designed, and constructed couture for your kickers – men’s and women’s alike. It is a well-known fact that I love shoes even more than I love scratch tickets. Of course, I jumped at the chance to talk about something shoe related. It is an excellent thing that I am not able to pop on over and check this new location out for anyone. My credit score and bank account balance would not survive that sort of research adventure, even if I tried to sell it to the IRS for hefty refunds come spring.
The pictures are quite appealing - bright, open, and expensively designed. They claim they will have exclusive styles from many luxury brands. I have to tell you, though, that is nothing new. Department stores and boutiques ALWAYS have exclusive styles. It’s the nature of how the fashion RTW industry works. The designers show their product to the buyers from the various establishments, and the buyers pick what they want to sell. Bloomingdales may not pick the same colors and styles that Saks or the boutique picks. That’s how you end up with a department store having something in patent leather that the boutique only had in satin. As a seller, I found that to be more of an irritation than a positive…. Anyways…
            You must drop everything and go and visit the shoe floor this weekend. I realize that is a tall order with not a whole lot of notice. Barneys is doing a good deed and donating 10% of their sales through this Sunday July 22nd to the Human Rights Campaign and its Americans for Marriage Equality Program. My first thought when I read that was “Seriously? Just 10%?” I’m just giving you a hard time, Barneys. That is a nice gesture and a brave one given how many people out there still think they will be personally harmed if gay people in another state get married (That makes ABSOLUTELY no sense to me…. It's like saying I'm going to have a heart attack because Arnold Schwarzenegger choked on a chicken bone while eating Cheerios). 
            So we already have three new reasons to fall in love with Barneys: shoes, social responsibility, and Little One. Let’s add a few more. I said I didn’t often visit their Boston Copley Plaza location; that doesn’t mean I don’t frequent their website! Aesthetically appealing and easy to navigate, this site is set up to help you find what you need, what you want, and what you didn’t know you needed or wanted. It’s mostly product and very little posturing. And if you’re trying to acquire something, isn’t that what you want? If you’re looking for all the other “stuff” they’ve been cramming into the department store websites these days, it’s not lost. Barneys has a section they’ve titled “The Window.” It’s full of articles and videos about fashion, art, travel, designers, and products you can purchase at Barneys.
            They have free shipping. You can buy things like $395 ice buckets. It’s pretentious as all get out. They’re not trying to convince you that they are anything but pretentious. Barneys actually began as a discount store, believe it or not. They very quickly realized that was not where they wanted to be and over the years built on their level of quality until they were importing the best of the best. They’ve had some financial difficulties in the last fifteen years, but hopefully that hurdle is in the past. So, go try and buy some beautiful shoes for me! I will live vicariously through you. Post pictures! Tell me what it’s like in that magical haven of podiatric pleasantry. I want to see what you get. And, Barneys, take care of my Little One! She’s a treasure that can’t be bought, even on the most magical of shoe floors.

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