Imagine going from a Gucci roller skating rink to a Prada pachinko parlor while taking in a flurry of activity happening from brands such as Balenciaga, Fear of God and Heron Preston. It may sound like a wild fashion dream in which you’ve taken a deep dive into a sea of luxury labels and streetwear stalwarts.
For Barneys New York, however, it’s all a reality. How so? At its Beverly Hills flagship store, the retailer is putting the final touches on the second installment — a West Coast edition — of a fashion and experience-heavy shopping event it had last year at its New York flagship on Madison Avenue.
The event on June 2 and 3 — called thedropLA@barneys — will feature special collections and in-store amusements from the aforementioned brands and other labels. Think custom grills by Dolly Cohen, temporary tattoos by Fun City Tattoo and custom sneakers, bags and (Balenciaga) sunglass cases. All of it will be set to a dance party-inducing soundtrack from DJs as well as live music from acts Simi & Haze, Siobhan Bell and Mathematics. (Barneys officials said a surprise musical performance in partnership with Live Nation will conclude the June 2 festivities.)
So why would a luxury retailer like Barneys put on such an affair? As consumers continue to bypass going to physical stores shop online, bricks-and-mortar retailers have had to become more creative. And many large department stores and niche shops — Barneys included — are offering shoppers unique or personalized in-store experiences often involving food, music, special services or designer appearances.
Barneys, long known for being a cool retailer with a quirky and insider take on fashion, is infusing that spirit into its thedropLA@barneys event. In partnership with streetwear blog Highsnobiety, the retailer and the involved brands plan to give shoppers surprises, treats, panel discussions with designers and Instagram moments during the two-day sartorial showcase. (For more information, visit www.barneys.com/thedropLA.)
At the Beverly Hills store event, Birkenstock’s garden lounge will serve shoppers and browsers Moon Juice beverages; a butterfly bar instillation will display jewelry; and an aquarium display will contain beauty offerings. (Perhaps this is what Instagram dreams are made of — and a reality of this new retail frontier.) For those who can’t make the trek to Beverly Hills, the “drop” of products and exclusives will be available on www.Barneys.com.
Daniella Vitale, president and chief executive officer of Barneys New York, said: “Fortunately for us, we realized early on that our customer wants more than just products,” she said. “They want a form of entertainment. Barneys has always been good at identifying partners and pushing boundaries, but this, I think, takes it to another level.”
By another level she meant that more than 90 brands covering the men’s, women’s, children’s, beauty and home categories will offer shoppers exclusive pieces as well as fresh collections. Those brands include Givenchy, Palm Angels, Balmain, Versace, Rick Owens, Wu Wear, Birkenstock, Fila, Dickies X Union Los Angeles, John Elliott and Renzo Cardoni X Starter. Barneys will have Jordyn Woods and Justine Skye on hand with their first-time shoe collaborations with the retailer.
Also, several designers are scheduled to make appearances, including Jerry Lorenzo from Fear of God, Jeremy Scott from Moschino, Jon Buscemi of Buscemi, and Greg Lauren.
“The event is a great opportunity to release ideas that don’t necessarily fit into the confines of a collection,” said Lorenzo, who participated in Barneys’ New York event last year and is scheduled for a June 2 in-store panel called “Fireside Chat: Jerry Lorenzo on L.A.’s Culture Influence.” “It’s a great opportunity for us to be expressive and offer our following something new from us.”
For fashion news, follow us at @latimesimage on Twitter.
For the Record
This article says Fun City Tattoo will provide temporary tattoos for Barneys New York’s event. It will offer regular tattoo services. Also, it says Dickies X Union Los Angeles will have a presence. Dickies Construct will be the label at the event.