Welcome to the new or altered world. The time to protect us from deadly virus, COVID 19. The viral pandemic which has swept the world and has had a lethal affect or made too many stay at home with a serious flu like illness. SARS CoV-2 is circulating and permeating the atmosphere. We will not find closure until a vaccine or effective medication comes on the market which might be in 2021. Frontline health care workers, medical organizations, PPE -medical manufacturers, researchers and bio tech scientists are focusing on treating COVID patients and protecting those who remain healthy. Yet, the world is starting to reopen businesses which have been shuttered for a few months or longer. The post COVID19 world is going to be one of facing changes which affect facets of our daily lives and all industries. The fashion world, of course, is no exception. The news broadcasts of bankrupt stores such as; J. Crew, Barney’s NY, Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s. The traditional department stores, in the last ten years, have seen declining sales due to one being able to click with online shopping and the appeal of going to boutiques. Many larger stores have tried to hold on and are going to try and refinance, but are hanging by financial threads. 90% of the luxury market for higher end stores are international buyers, primarily, the Asian and Middle Eastern markets. These groups have changed shopping patterns by going less frequently to brick and mortar stores due to online shopping and, now, COVID. This has caused an accumulation of sales revenue losses. Yet, malls in Dubai, pictured in the media, have been refilled with shoppers post quarantine. Before COVID19, retailers thought of new ways of branding merchandise, remodeling, adding high tech, bringing an interactive approach to bring back shoppers to exclusive stores like; Saks Fifth Avenue. The flagship Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC, redesigned their cosmetics and beauty floor, installed a colorful modular paneled escalator by designer, Rem Koolhaus, hired live musicians and brought in food and fashion pop ups. Sak’s organized fashion guru speakers, scheduled facials and makeup artists, as well as inviting the CEO’s of perfume and fashion companies to make appearances. A new outlook and restructuring plan for Sak’s Off Fifth, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Nordstrom’s Rack was in the works, now they have massive online sales. The Dallas based Neiman Marcus opened NYC’s first anchor store, last spring, at The Hudson Yards Shopping Center. NM and the mall’s fate, remains to be seen as to when the glass multi story retail complex reopens. Bloomingdale’s NY, San Fransisco and LA opened, The Carousel Project, in which a section of themed merchandise rotates every three months.
This past week, The Sak’s in Houston, reopened and shoppers began their journey in a new era of retail. According to a New York Times article, the Houston Saks, opened its gilded doors under state guidelines which will protect employees and shoppers. Some of the changes: the marble floor marked with indicators for 6ft social distancing, a hold on bra fitting and in person makeup applications, elevators closed except for those with a disability or for those who are pregnant, hand sanitizers in every corner and escalators with limited capacity. Clothing will be touched less, changes in return policies, curbside pick ups and sales ambassadors/employees undergoing testing and wearing required masks and gloves are in effect. This includes shoppers as well, they will be wearing a mask, whether it be Gucci, an LA Made Clothing tie dye style or an N95. Say goodbye to the causal stroll through the aisle rack, the posh dressing rooms with stylists and to the interactive perfume sprayer. For now, these days are gone. We will be using virtual computer screens for makeup and clothing and stores will have electric thermometers, contactless payments and limited services. Social media site, Pinterest, has launched a device where a camera and search box will let users try on lipsticks from: Estee Lauder, bareMinerals, NYX Pro makeup, YSL Beaute, Sephora, Neutrogena and Urban Decay. In addition, L’Oreal and Amazon have virtual lipstick try ons which use Modiface technology. Garnier and Feria haircare has a select your hair shade tool and camera try on, in order to pick the right color without a trip to the salon. Social media sites such as; Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest add a Wi-Fi approach to cosmetics and fashion with live videos, new apps and pictures of the latest looks which can be seen from the comfort of your home. The upscale NYC nail salon chain, Paintbox, has nail Zoom parties and video tutorials which will keep your nails looking fleek. The salon shows images of summer colors and unique nail art designs. Virtual stylists will replace in person stylists and bring you convenient and safe shopping options. All will persevere and we can find a unique way to refresh ourselves with the latest from Maison Margiela, Missoni and Sisley.
Virtual Try on in Magenta of Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick from Estee Lauder