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The flower was the store's logo since the Forties but as the chain lost cachet in the Eighties and Nineties, the rose started to wilt and was phased out over time. The store's lavish Rose Award gala, which each year honored a great talent or humanitarian (Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt were among the recipients) was discontinued even earlier.
Now, after several seasons of remerchandising and image updating at the store and a sense that Lord & Taylor is on the upswing, there will be an official relaunch of the rose on April 1. The latest incarnation, in the yellow-orange or "sunrise" tone seen on the current generation of shopping bags, boxes, gift cards and store visuals, will be brandished on the Fifth Avenue flagship's awnings and windows and visible at the other 46 L&T stores until Memorial Day. However, the look of the logo will change annually through a contest being staged by the store. L&T is asking artists to submit concepts that will be judged by experts and the public in a series of elimination rounds. Entries will be posted on the L&T Web site, and the winner will be revealed July 2. Besides having his or her Lord & Taylor rose showcased next spring, the winner will receive a $10,000 cash award.
"We are planning to bring back the Lord & Taylor rose each spring, each time a different version created by a different artist," said Jane Elfers, L&T's president and chief executive officer.
There's speculation, too, that L&T is considering reviving the prestigious Rose Award party, but there is no official word yet.