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The store can no longer be expanded, making renovations all the more critical as a primary vehicle for increasing sales. Along the renovation route, Bergdorf's violated some rules. First, in 2000, a beauty floor was created in the lower level, breaking a longstanding retail tradition of housing cosmetics and fragrances on the main level.
Second, vendor shops were removed from the main floor to bring in a wider array of artisan vendors, fine jewelry and accessories, and project a greater Bergdorf's personality. Though many new vendors have been brought in, such as Verdura and Chrome Hearts, such brands as Hermès and Cartier remain on one, but without shop environments.
On the second floor, shops for important multicategory designer brands were created, designated internally as "world of" concept shops featuring accessories and ready-to-wear together. There are "world of" Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Dior, each bearing the signature designer decor, yet they all have black lacquer enframements bringing a sense of continuity to the floor, and again, to cast a Bergdorf's personality.
"We are holding true to our plan," Gold said. "On the main floor, we do not allow vendor designer boutiques."
In addition, a new shoe salon on two was created, which Gold called "the heart and soul of the store," with a price point that can go well above the $550 to $600 Minolo Blahnik's that fly out of the store. "On any given day, even when the rest of the store may be quiet, the shoe salon is buzzing," Gold said.
The fourth floor for luxury collections, including couture and evening, was next. It's the homiest of the floors, with vintage and contemporary furniture and extensive use of shiny, sleek mannequins, inset custom-made carpets and artwork, including a reclining nude mural obtained in a Paris flea market, Clingancourt, and a 10-piece photo mural by Christopher Beane commissioned by the store.
"Each of the floors has a different stylistic point of view and different color palette and different material palette, but one of the things that unifies the store, with the exception of the contemporary floor, is that we try to always reference things that are historical," observed Linda Fargo, vice president of visual merchandising.