Best Jewelry Line
Each of the Readers' Choice nominees for Best Jewelry Line is a leader in the industry. One is not only known for its signature jewelry, but also for the blue box that it comes in. Another is known for its handcrafted pieces, but it is also known for its many innovations. Another nominee is a newer designer on the scene who is inspired by Florentine jewelry-making, but also astronomy, celestial, mythological and astrological influences. Another nominee is synonymous with glamour and fame and has ties to some of the world's most famous jewels. Finally, there's a nominee known for the panache of its founder, as well as its vast collection of the world's finest diamonds.
Temple St. Clair
Tiffany & Co.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Best Watch Line
The Readers' Choice for the Best Watch Line nominees include a perennially favored brand among the watch-loving elite that is known for making the most complex wrist watch in the world. Another nominee is known for its functionally-themed luxury sport watches. The third nominee, while an historic brand with almost 200 years of heritage, is known for being a forward focused luxury watch maker of the future. A fourth nominee is perhaps the best-known luxury watch brand in the world, with a stellar reputation to match. Lastly, there's a watchmaker that epitomizes Swiss haute horology with its modern classics and technical innovation.
Best Leathergoods Line
The Readers' Choice for the Best Leathergoods Line for a Luxist Award include award-winning brands from France, Italy and London. One started out making equestrian equipment in 1837, and still makes its goods by hand; some of its handbags are so coveted, there's a two-year long wait list to buy one. Another was started in London by a former fashion editor who partnered with a couture shoe maker to create a company now synonymous with the "red carpet". The third nominee is known for its clean lines and simple classic color palettes while the fourth is a global force of tradition and innovation. And finally, the last nominee epitomizes luxury with its delectable designer bags and vaunted luggage--some of which command five figure prices.
Best Department Store/Boutique
Nominees for Readers' Choice for Best Department Store/Boutique include one based in London that has no fewer than 330 different departments, a staff of 5,000 from 50 different countries and is visited by as many as 300,000 people on a single day. Another, with roots in Texas, is known for its superior customer service, in addition to its luxury merchandise, including some of the world's most extravagant items. One New York-based store has a shoe department that is so large, it was given its own zip code. Another Manhattan-based store specializes in hard-to-find international designers, many of which it will help launch into fame. Lastly, there's an upstart from London that is so cutting-edge and up-to-date, it launches 300 new styles on a weekly basis.
Barneys New York
Saks Fifth Avenue
Best Clothing Designer
Readers' Choice nominees for Best Clothing Designer are award-winning fashion designers from Italy, England, France and the United States. One was started by a wunderkind who was named chief designer of one of the most respected fashion houses when he was still in his 20's. Another has been one of the leading names in fashion for nearly 100 years. A third nominee, known for its timeless style, has outfitted First Ladies on both sides of the aisle for decades while the fourth is famed for its understated elegance. The final nominee is synonymous with high fashion though its roots are in luggage and leather goods.
Oscar de la Renta
Best Jewelry Line
Sarah Jessica Parker once said, "If you're a nice person and you work hard, you get to go shopping at Barneys." It's not just Parker and her Sex and the City contemporaries in New York that frequent this Luxist-nominated department store -- flagship locations are sprinkled throughout the country from Boston to San Francisco.
According to legend, Barney Pressman opened his first store with the $500 he received for pawning his wife's engagement ring. He packed the 500-square-foot location at Seventh Avenue and West 17th Street in Manhattan with brand-name suits sold at discount prices. To get good deals on his merchandise, Pressman raided showroom sample sales and even a few bankruptcy auctions. He lured customers by offering free alterations and free parking.
Barneys expanded and focused on the high-end lifestlye during the middle of the 20th Century, emerging as a major purveyor of luxury goods. Barneys also expanded geographically, opening its first store beyond the Big Apple in 1988 and opened its first international location in Tokyo in 1990.
Today, the flagship Barneys in New York is located in midtown. Like the store's other locations, it peddles goods produced by hard-to-find international designers. Products from the likes of Manolo Blahnik, Diane von Furstenberg and Ermenegildo Zegna dot the displays. Though the Pressman family sold its stake in the company in 2004, free parking is still available -- if you can find it on the street.
Cast your vote for the Readers' Choice Awards at http://www.luxist.com/awards-vote/accessories-awards.
Gallery: More from Barneys New York
Manufactured in Italy using Italian and British cloths, Paul Smith Exclusive has a modern, tailored silhouette, "finished with the design twists and styling details that have become synonymous with the Paul Smith brand," such as colorful linings.
Suits feature subtle stripes and Prince of Wales checks on gray and navy grounds, while shirting is bright with striped and checked designs on white bases. Velvet evening jackets and weekend sport coats complete the exclusive and extremely natty collection. Smith also just opened a new store in San Francisco.
Last month luxury department store chain Barneys New York got a much needed cash infusion but it may not be enough to save two of its seven stores. The Wall Street Journal says that the company, which is owned by Dubai's Istithmar World, is seeking to close the stores to save money but the real reason may be that one of the stores is proving to be a dud.
One of the stores is the 85,000-square-foot location at the Shoppes at the Palazzo in Las Vegas. Barneys is the anchor of that complex which opened last year in an area clustered with luxury retailers. Barney's had hoped to generate $6 million at that location but with the huge downturn in Las Vegas travel the store has been only brought in around a quarter of that.
Should Barney's close that store it would leave a huge hole in the shopping area that would not be easily filled and so the store may have some trouble getting out of its lease. Also the Shoppes at Palazzo is owned by General Growth Properties which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Overall, business at the Shoppes seems to be pretty slow. It is a newcomer in a packed area that has several key shopping locations including the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. Barneys New York's competitors, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom are located at the Fashion Show Mall on the Strip.
The location of the other store to be closed hasn't been determined yet. Barneys cancelled plans for a restaurant in its Dallas store earlier this year.
In January I mentioned that Barneys New York might be up for sale but it seems that the Dubai-based investment fund Istithmar World will be holding on to the luxury department store a little longer (mainly because, right now, no one is buying). Reuters reports that Barneys got a major infusion of money that will allow it to pay for its shipments for the rest of the year.
It was a much needed boost which came immediately after Standard & Poor's cut Barneys to a deeply distressed level warning that vendors might limit shipments. Istithmar has not revealed the amount of the monetary pick-me-up but earlier this month the New York Post said that Istithmar planned to spend at least $10 million. The funds give the troubled department store a little breathing room to stay afloat during these times when spending is low. Luxury department stores have been hit hard by the recession and are cutting back on expenses and inventory until shoppers find their way back to the store aisles.
Luxury department store Barneys may be the next big brand seeking a buyer. The Dubai-based investment fund Istithmar World which bought the retailer less than two years ago is looking to sell. Bloomberg reports that Istithmar wants to sell for the same $942.3 million it paid in September of 2007. Of course things were a little different then and some say that it's ludicrous to expect the same price now. Luxury department stores have been suffering in recent months with both Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus reporting major sales declines and laying off workers.
Some say that Istithmar World is looking to raise ready cash and the state-owned fund is willing to sell its entire stake. Dubai's rapid real estate expansion and declining oil prices have put the country in deep debt.
Barneys has had a history of ups and downs. The store was founded by Barney Pressman in 1923. The Pressman family lost control in 1998 and the company flirted with bankruptcy.Jones Apparel Group Inc. for $294.3 million in 2004, a number that seems small considering what they were able to sell it for a few years later. Istithmar would have to hold on to the brand for a long time to get a similar return on its investment. The news comes just as Barneys has been in the news for creating window displays celebrating designer Isabel Toledo, the designer of Michelle Obama's inauguration outfit.
Filed under: Timepieces / Watches
Think of the holidays and of all the images that come to mind I bet none of them are the famous hippie symbol of Peace, but this holiday season Barneys is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the peace sign with an exclusive collection of Nixon watches all featuring a Happy Hippie theme. Designs include watch bands made of hand-stitched hemp, hand-stamped leather, and even one limited-edition version designed by Gabriel Urist that has a band of sterling silver with coral and turquoise inlays. The watches are available only at Barneys CO-OP stores (click here to find one near you) and prices range between $500 and $8000.
Filed under: Men's Style
As part of Barneys New York's 1960s Peace & Love "Hippie Holiday" theme, cooked up by creative director Simon Doonan, the store is offering a special set of Volkswagen Beetle cufflinks. The links, designed on behalf of a holiday partnership between Barneys and Volkswagen by the Caroline Collection, are modeled on the iconic 1967 Beetle. The whimsical "antiqued" cufflinks (above) are made of sterling silver and enamel in various colors and will retail for $550.00 a pair. Commenting on his adoption of the hippie theme, Doonan noted, "We only picked the cheery, upbeat aspects of the '60s! No overdoses or assassinations."
In it he espouses his theory of "eccentric glamour," which isn't about spending a lot of money but rather developing a signature style which says much more about you than the brands you wear. Running out and buying the latest Vuitton bag will only get you so far without a certain amount of savoir faire.
We asked Simon what advice he had for Luxist readers looking to make a suitable impression. "It's not enough just to festoon yourself with designer luxury," he explains. "Everyone needs to develop a few signature flourishes. It can be as simple as applying a bit of Maria Callas eyeliner, or as complicated as an Amy Winehouse beehive. These touches of eccentric glamour are what set you apart from the pack." So there you have it.
At the Barneys New York website, you can enter a sweepstakes to win lunch and a $2500 shopping spree with Simon and three of your friends.
Most of us have a collection of T-shirts we no longer wear. Now instead of donating them to the thrift store you can take them to Barneys. Barneys New York, the Sundance Channel and the eco-chic fashion brand Loomstate have created a national T-shirt recycling program that will start on April 13. Drop off the old shirts Loomstate will "re-fashion" the T-shirts (re-style, re-dye, re-print, etc.) as part of a new, limited edition T-shirt collection which will be sold exclusively at Barneys for Holiday 2008. Those who drop off a shirt will receive a 20% discount on women's Loomstate for Barneys Green and men's Loomstate merchandise from April 13-27. Proceeds from the program will benefit 1% for the Planet.
Filed under: Pets
Barneys New York always has the most stylish new accessories, so it comes as no surprise that their dog section is also to die for. This chic collar by Stray is perfect for any designer pooch or lovable mutt. Available in three sizes, with the words LEADER OF THE PACK spelled out in nickel studs, these handmade leather collars are available for $355 on the Barneys New York website. Stray dog accessories are made in Paris, by designer Venetia Rudland, who spent years as a designer at the Hermès ateliers making their famous bags.
Filed under: Handbags
If this bag were made of leather, it might seem too stiff and structured. But the fact that it is made with velvet certainly softens my perception of it. I love the muted colors and the contrasting stripes, but most of all I love the pretty gold-tone details - delicate little "R's"dangling beneath the hinged frame,which opens wide for total access to the interior of the bag. Inside, it's lined in leather and features a large zippered pocket. Also available in a camel/gray combination, the bag sells for $3,2000 at Barneys.
Filed under: Jewelry