All the Secrets Behind Saks’ New Beauty Floor

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In the less-than-one-week since Saks unveiled its new flagship beauty department, much has been said about the space and the company’s endeavor to reinvent department store beauty as we know it. There’s the 32,000 square feet the space occupies, the move from the first floor to the second (and away from the infamous fragrance testers), and the fact that the floor plan now groups fragrances in one section, and cosmetics in another.

There are the boutiques in rows on either side of the floor—highlights include Aesop’s tiled-floor apothecary setup and Gucci’s highly Instagrammable space which feels like a living room on the inside of Alessandro Michele’s brain—and is also the brand’s first U.S. dedicated beauty space. There’s the fact that brands that historically could not have had square space at Saks now can—they live on the floor’s Apothecary section where smaller favorites like Tata Harper, Patchology, Slip silk pillowcases, and Dyson hair dryers can now be found. New brands to have counters include Swiss high-end skincare from Valmont, and former L’Oreal CEO, Sue Nabi’s clean, prebiotic-filled line, Orveda.

Still, the most enticing part of the new beauty digs are the ones that make it feel less store and more playground. The makeup buying experience is escalated and high-tech. At Givenchy, you can upgrade your lipstick bullet to colors inspired by Clare Waight Keller’s latest collection and add a monogram (the machine is not there yet, but is coming soon). At Tom Ford, huge, spaceship-esque mirrors with built-in iPads record video as you go through recommended makeup products. The material created is sent to you, of course, but also stored for your future shopping convenience.

A dedicated event space features guests like celebrity nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot and express treatments from Kiehl’s. Events are scheduled everyday and can be found on the website. They’re also free, though you’re asked to rsvp.

Then there are are the services. Of course, with the supposed death of retail in headlines every other day, these are key. After all, shoppers today demand an experience. Across 15 treatment rooms, Beauty 2.0 (as Saks has dubbed it), Kiehl’s, La Prairie, Sisley, Dior, and Chanel are just a few of the brands to offer services. Some are complimentary, some complimentary with a purchase (Sisley for example), and others have prices that rival any other top Manhattan spa. The Chanel treatment room, for example, tucked away at the back of the dedicated boutique, is modeled after the brand’s rooms at the Ritz Carlton in Paris. Facials there cost up to 0. Similarly, Dior’s replicates its spa at the Plaza Athénée in Paris. All of this without the transatlantic flight!

Then there are the vendors Saks has partnered with—the first U.S. location of FaceGym, a micro current, toning facial service with an outpost in Selfridges, Blink Brow Bar London for threading and lash extensions, Skinney MedSpa which offers services including CoolSculpting and laser hair removal, Sundays for manicures paired with meditation, and Martine de Richeville’s intensive lymphatic massages that fight cellulite. The result is a beauty-lover’s paradise that encourages exploration.

Budget at least an hour (facial, massage, etc. not included) to explore.

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