When the iconic Barneys New York retail store closed its doors on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills five years ago, a collective sigh of despair could be heard from its loyal customers. But among shopping devotees, excitement is building for the opening of a completely new Saks Fifth Ave women’s store inside the iconic Barneys building.
It’s set to debut on Feb. 8. Says one industry source who has had a sneak preview, “I’m excited for the life it’s going to bring to Saks. The location is better. You cross the street at the corner, walk a block, and you’re on Rodeo Drive.” The source adds, “Everyone is raving about the gorgeous design. They even kept the old Barneys centerpiece — the infamous spiral staircase that connected all the floors!” One would presume that Barneys enthusiasts will feel very nostalgic just walking up the stairs!
Expect some changes as to where departments — like cosmetics — are currently located, but rest assured that the major designer boutiques, and there are plenty, will have their unique showcases. “It’ll be like Rodeo Drive under one roof,” says another source.
The icing on the cake: The new Saks Fifth Avenue women’s store in Beverly Hills will also introduce an expanded and exclusive Fifth Avenue Club, dedicated to personal shopping and styling, accessible via its own elevator and featuring gorgeous private suites. These new digs are where Saks dedicated team of stylists will be taking appointments, just in time for the stars to shop for their Academy Awards ensembles.
Los Angeles-based, independent VIP stylist Jill Bronstein, who often works with Saks personal shoppers, muses about the new store: “I would be excited if they paired the best of the established designers with the emerging designers, using the same creative flair that the Barneys store had.”
Raquel Allegra was one of those emerging designers at Barneys back in the day. A favorite designer with the hip fashion set, Allegra will be showcasing her clothes at the new Saks store. “I started my career as a sales associate at Barneys 17 years ago,” says Allegra. “That building is hallowed ground. So many great memories. I’m excited to be included in their next chapter.”
And what will become of the old Saks store? Future plans for the site — which is owned by StreetWorks Development, the real estate division of Saks parent HBC — are to build a boutique hotel with a restaurant that would be on the level of popular Paris restaurant L’Avenue (which opened a satellite at Saks in NYC in 2019). The men’s Saks store will remain where it is. There’s a plan for a 4-acre project surrounding the hotel which would include retail and office space, residential condos, a social club and a spa. Wow. But this will take a while. They need to get their permits first, and this is Beverly Hills, after all.