"We love partnering with of-the-moment pop culture experiences," said John Antonini, director of stores at Saks Fifth Avenue, who was standing on the red carpet outside the Saks flagship Monday night. He was pointing to "The Emoji Movie" windows that were installed along 50th Street — so appropriate, considering it was World Emoji Day. "They really bring emojis to life," he said.
"Anytime we can bring technology into the windows is exciting," he added, pointing out that customers can interact, play and dance with the emojis.
Saks has partnered with brands such as Jason Wu, Mackage, Del Toro Footwear, Orlebar Brown, Gents and Havianas to create "The Emoji Movie" merchandise, ranging from swimsuits and bomber jackets to sweaters (with removable emojis) and flip-flops.
"The Emoji Movie," which opens July 28, has a pop-up on the fifth floor in the Collective, and items are scattered throughout the store in both the New York flagship and Beverly Hills store. The merchandise is geared to men, women and children.
The 3-D computer-animated comedy features the voices of such actors as T.J. Miller, Anna Faris, James Corden, Jennifer Coolidge Patrick Stewart, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Sofia Vergara, Christina Aguilera and Jake T. Austin.
Austin, who plays Alex, the only human character in the film, said, "It was one of the quickest projects," noting they started filming last October. "Everyone had a lot of freedom. I'm really happy with what I've seen so far." The movie is geared to people of all ages.
Tony Leondis, the movie's director and writer, explained that the emojis live in Alex's smartphone and they try to help him win the affection of a girl. He said it was fun "to play with these characters and come up with the voices." He pitched the story to Sony, and because the technology is changing so quickly, they were able to finish the entire project within two years.
Cole Wassner, chief executive officer of Wassner Management Group, which arranged the collaboration between Sony Pictures, Saks and the participating brands, said, "We wanted this to be something to bring people into the stores. It's fully immersive with the emojis. You can wear the product and send text messages with your emojis."