Dreams of Field’s: Famed Chicago Store Embarks on Overhaul

Marshall Field’s is reinventing its wheel with a three-month renovation of its State Street flagship in Chicago and an expanded vendor leasing program.

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Field’s has both solicited leases and received requests.

“It’s been more of a two-way street,” Jaeger said. “Vendors have asked to become our partners. People recognize the strength of both brands.”

Meanwhile, the corporation will keep a close watch on the program’s progress.

“Our goal is to start with State Street and use it as our lab,” Jaeger said. “We may use this concept in some of our bigger stores, and maybe into all our doors.”

“It’s been very positive,” said a company spokeswoman about the process of creating in-store shops. “Once we started going, the ‘aha’ moment hit and we realized this is the direction we need to go in — and at lightning speed.”

Hughes concurred. “This is a good laboratory for the corporation. This is truly a reinvention of our department store business. We’re doing things that other people would find roadblocks and barriers to.”

Besides leasing space to vendors, Field’s is increasing its offering of several brands, providing the feeling of mini-boutiques throughout the store. For example, Field’s moved its hosiery from its highly trafficked first floor to the fifth, near intimate apparel, to make room for an Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche accessories boutique and sections for Bottega Veneta and Kate Spade handbags.

Regarding women’s apparel, Field’s plans to expand and remodel its St. John collection on the third floor and lease space to Olsen Europe, a European sportswear brand. The space will represent Olsen’s first American boutique.

Additionally, Field’s will present an array of new lines, including Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Fenn Wright & Manson and Miss Sixty, the spokeswoman said. It’s also expanding its collection of French Connection.

Each floor is receiving upgraded lighting to brighten the store and its contents. In some areas, the light level will be doubled.

“We’re increasing the ambient light to create a good feeling. It makes you want to stay longer,” said Jaeger. “For me, as a consumer, then I can see the difference between navy and black.”
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