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I Went to the American Dream Mall’s Luxury Shopping Wing on Opening Day — Here’s What I Thought

After months of pandemic-related headwinds, American Dream opened its luxury retail shopping wing on Friday.

Dubbed “The Avenue,” the 300,000-square-foot plaza includes a slew of upscale shopping and dining experiences, with stores such as Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Saint Laurent and Mulberry. A 110,000-square-foot Saks Fifth Avenue serves as an anchor to the plaza and marks the retailer’s only location in New Jersey.

For nearly two decades, financial and legal setbacks have delayed the opening of the $5 billion mall. The pandemic exacerbated existing issues and forced the mall to close in March, upsetting plans for a grand opening that month. The mall eventually reopened in October after an almost nine-month closure.

The complex, which includes a Nickelodeon Universe theme park, an indoor ski slope, a ferris wheel and an indoor DreamWorks waterpark, also features 3 million square feet of retail, including the Avenue.

“We have long waited to bring this glorious gem to New Jersey,” said American Dream chief creative officer Ken Downing, who led creative design across the mall.

As more people return to in-person events, work and travel, the luxury sector is seeing strong signs of recovery. American Dream is banking on this comeback to fuel interest in its newly opened luxury wing.

I stopped by American Dream’s new luxury shopping experience to see what the mall had to offer. And while it’s still too early to tell, the design elements and high-end stores will likely be a huge draw to wealthy shoppers looking for a unique and in-person luxury shopping experience.

jonathan adler
The Avenue Features work from potter Jonathan Adler.
CREDIT: Shoshy Ciment/Footwear News

The corridors of The Avenue feature sculptures from Jonathan Adler, a potter and interior decorator from New Jersey famous for his work that features faces and profiles.

“I needed to up my game and create a sense of spectacle,” Adler said of his sculptures in The Avenue.

American Dream COVID-19 rules
Safety guidelines for American Dream
CREDIT: Shoshy Ciment/Footwear News

Like many retailers in recent months, American Dream has cautiously reopened its doors with new COVID-19 related guidelines. Then mall is not requiring masks for vaccinated guests and is recommending that unvaccinated guests still wear masks.

The Avenue Johnny Was Store
Johnny Was at The Avenue at American Dream

The Avenue has a variety of luxury retail stores, including Johnny Was, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès and more.

Saks Fifth Avenue American Dream
Saks Fifth Avenue at American Dream
CREDIT: Shoshy Ciment/Footwear News

A massive 110,000-square-foot Saks Fifth Avenue store serves as the anchor for the luxury wing. The store marks the retailer’s only New Jersey location. Gucci and Louis Vuitton both have shop-in-shop locations at this Saks.

Carpaccio restaurant american dream
Carpaccio restaurant at American Dream.
CREDIT: American Dream

The Avenue also has an option for fine dining with Carpaccio, the first Northeast location of the popular Bal Harbour, Fla., restaurant. The restaurant is located right next to Saks.

The Avenue carts
Pink gold carts at The Avenue at American Dream
CREDIT: Shoshy Ciment/Footwear News

Everything about The Avenue was designed according to a specific style and color scheme. Even the golf carts fit in with the pink decor.

The Avenue American Dream
The Avenue at American Dream
CREDIT: Shoshy Ciment/Footwear News

Overall, The Avenue offered a memorable luxury retail experience, complete with high-end stores, dining and a unifying design theme throughout.

“There are few moments that make me as proud as unveiling The Avenue at American Dream,” said American Dream CEO Don Ghermezian in a statement. “The addition of luxury shopping from the most sought-after fashion brands to our world-class attractions and contemporary retail has solidified American Dream as a destination not seen anywhere else.”

Retail stores at American Dream mall are opening between 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. every day, though hours vary on Sunday depending on the store.

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