Saks Fifth Avenue is set to debut a Manolo Blahnik boutique in its eighth-floor 10022-SHOE salon on Saturday, a move that will undoubtedly shake up the New York department store scene.
The opening marks the first time Blahnik will be sold in Saks’ flagship. “It’s terribly exciting to finally be present at Saks in New York City,” Blahnik told FN. “It has always been one of my favorite department stores and I can’t wait to see the new space, which I’m sure will be beautiful and very feminine.”
The 760-sq.-ft boutique, a modern take on residential design, will feature two rooms custom-designed by the Saks team in collaboration with the designer.
The first room evokes the feeling of a sophisticated woman’s boudoir enveloped by walls of shoes. A large antique Murano glass chandelier will serve as the centerpiece. Custom metal and mother-of-pearl screens will lead customers into the second space, a sitting room featuring a Venetian glass mirrored wall.
“Manolo Blahnik is a footwear legend. We proudly welcome his brand to our New York flagship,” said Tracy Margolies, chief merchandising officer at Saks Fifth Avenue. “This partnership signifies yet another milestone in Saks Fifth Avenue’s continued evolution into a global luxury retail destination.”
George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik USA, said that Saks is a hugely important part of the New York retail landscape.
“I can remember first coming to the city when great American designers — Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene, Ralph Lauren — were all in the glorious windows of Saks Fifth Avenue. To a kid from Texas, this is what I had always dreamed fashion was about,” Malkemus said. “Now to be there with our own Manolo world is truly wonderful.”
The legendary designer already has a strong business in the Big Apple with both Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York. The label also operates its own New York store on 54th Street. While the U.S. has always been the Blahnik’s largest market, he has recently been expanding across the pond. Last year, he opened an elegant in-store boutique at Harrods Shoe Heaven.
To support the Saks launch, Blahnik will make an in-store appearance at the new boutique on Sept. 10 during New York Fashion Week. During the event, he will celebrate his new book, “Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions,” which goes behind the scenes of his career, which has spanned more than four decades, and the people, places and things that inspire him.
Saks also plans to make a splash with its windows to celebrate the designer’s arrival. And its fall 2015 Magalog features an exclusive conversation between Blahnik and Valerie Steel, director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The designer will receive FIT’s 2015 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion on Sept. 9.
Click through the slideshow below to explore Blahnik’s fall 2015 collection.