Bergdorf Goodman Debuts Men’s Dept.

NEW YORKBergdorf Goodman looked to the library to change things up in men’s shoes.

In the midst of a major remodel, the department store recently opened an expanded shoe department with a bookish theme on the main floor of its Fifth Avenue men’s store.

The space has doubled its previous allocation and now incorporates Bergdorf Goodman’s designer offering, which had previously been housed on the third floor.

“Men don’t want to have to take their shoes off twice,” said Mimi Fukuyoshi, VP and DMM of men’s sportswear and shoes. “And we felt like we were deciding for them: If you’re a classic guy, go to the first floor. If you’re a designer guy, go to the third floor. Now we can cover all his needs in one place.”

The offering, too, has become much broader, with several brands and additional styles now part of the mix. New labels for the store include Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Fratelli Rossetti, Florsheim by Duckie Brown, Louis Leeman and Tod’s.

“We’re already planning for Tod’s to be our second-biggest vendor its first season out,” said Fukuyoshi, adding that Prada remains No. 1.

Exclusives continue to be important to the store. About 30 percent of the inventory is sold only in New York at Bergdorf Goodman, said Peter Guarraci, director of men’s shoes. Some brands here include Bontoni, Visvum, O’Keefe and Max Verre.

Additionally, to celebrate Bergdorf’s 111th anniversary this fall, the store asked several designers to create special shoes for the event. Prada, Jimmy Choo, Salvatore Ferragamo and Magnanni all heeded the call on the men’s side.

Conceived by an in-house design team, the new shoe department features a library theme, with custom shelves that also function as bookcases. Susan Homan, VP of visual presentation and store design, said the inspiration came from Milan’s Villa Necchi Campiglio from the 1930s and Italian modernist design.

“We thought it felt a bit like a gentlemen’s club or library,” said Homan.

The achieved look is very welcoming, noted Danny Livingston, GMM of Florsheim by Duckie Brown. “The floor is a perfect [men’s] floor,” he said. “The brands look great, [and] the attitude is dead on. [It’s] as luxurious as luxurious can be. When you walk in, you can’t leave — you want to stay all day.”

The department store plans to host more trunk shows in the new space. Magnanni held one there last month. “I was very impressed with the way Bergdorf Goodman was able to create a unique shopping experience for men,” said Pascual Blanco, president of the brand. “It has a very relaxed atmosphere where customers can find the highest-quality shoes from all around the world.”

The men’s store’s expanded third floor also has been unveiled, and next up the retailer plans to renovate the rest of the main floor, as well as parts of the second floor. The work is expected to be finished by September 2013.