A number of New York City’s most well known department stores are undergoing or have recently undergone major revamps. Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdale’s unveiled theirs this year, Macy’s is slated for a $400 million four year update, and last night Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue flagship unveiled its new 8th floor Co-op.
Barneys’ flagship has always been one of the most welcoming places to shop. Never cluttered, never too compartmentalized, and always well laid-out, it has resisted the trend to become “mall-like” with a muddled slew of shop-in-shop (see Bloomingdale’s new main accessories floor). In fact, the space feels more open than ever and now stocks menswear in addition to womenswear. The Co-op is noticeably more minimal; aside from a pillar with the phrase “Boy Meets Girl at Co-op,” there are few of the floor’s previous funky, colorful, tongue-in-cheek trademarks. While it may now be more classic than upbeat, it remains bright, airy, and most importantly, easy to shop. Shoppers will also notice more prominently placed fitting rooms, which are no longer relegated to the inconspicuous back, but rather in the center of the floor.
Nine months in the making, the new eighth floor also now includes a restaurant and takeout counter called Genes@Co-op after former Barneys CEO Gene Pressman; astutely, the restaurant is also in proximity to oodles of denim. The restaurant is a casual alternative to Fred’s at Barneys, located on the 9th floor, and is situated in between the men’s and women’s co-op sections in a space that formerly housed a private events space. The restaurant has room for just 30 diners, each of whom are spread across a communal table with a glass top under which there are 30 computer screens (one for each diner) allowing diners to digitally order off the menu and scroll through Barneys’ digital content, especially convienient for diners dining alone.
In the coming 18 months, the seventh floor, which houses the second half of the store’s women’s Co-op lineup, will be renovated and the fifth floor, previously home to the menswear that’s now on the eighth, will eventually become the men’s and women’s shoe floor.
Mark Lee, Barneys newest CEO and the mastermind behind the makeover told WWD, “You don’t need to leave your house to shop in today’s world. So if you’re going to go out and spend time in a physical store, the experience of that — the entertainment aspect, the social aspect, shopping with your friend or significant other of the same or opposite sex — is all part of the experience. It just enhances the opportunity.” I couldn’t agree more.