Su­per Saks

The store tapped 26 brands to cre­ate more than 70 ex­clu­sive prod­ucts for the big game.

WWD Digital Daily - - Front Page - BY JEAN E. PALMIERI

The Big Game will be held in Atlanta, and the Saks Fifth Av­enue there has lined up a slew of men’s col­lab­o­ra­tions to cel­e­brate it.

The teams for the next Su­per Bowl may not be set, but Saks Fifth Av­enue al­ready has its mar­ket­ing plan in place.

Su­per Bowl 53 will be played at Mercedes­Benz Sta­dium Atlanta on Feb. 3. Saks has one of its most suc­cess­ful men’s stores in that city and is hop­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on the buzz by team­ing with 26 brands to cre­ate more than 70 ex­clu­sive items for the game.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing brands in­clude Off-White, Ver­sace, Valentino, Dior, Bal­main, Fear of God, Hugo Boss, Palm An­gels, Kappa Isaia, Canada Goose and oth­ers. The prod­ucts range from ready-to-wear and sneak­ers to ac­ces­sories and were de­signed to cel­e­brate the game.

This isn’t the first time a ma­jor depart­ment store, or even Saks, has cre­ated a prod­uct ini­tia­tive around the

Big Game. In 2014, when the Su­per Bowl was held in New Jersey, Bloom­ing­dale’s teamed with the Na­tional Foot­ball League and the Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica on the cre­ation of a col­lec­tion of “haute cou­ture” foot­ball hel­mets.

Saks is not work­ing with the NFL on this ini­tia­tive but un­der­took it in­de­pen­dently, said Louis Di­gia­como, gen­eral mer­chan­dise man­ager of men’s wear for the re­tailer.

“Ev­ery year we work with the store in the city the Su­per Bowl is in,” he said. “And this year was per­fect be­cause the Atlanta men’s store is one of the fastest grow­ing in the chain.” He said the store has “a new vi­sion,” one cen­tered more around “the de­signer matrix, fash­ion and key cat­e­gories.” So the game be­ing in Atlanta was a good way to in­tro­duce the up­dated mes­sage to cus­tomers.

“The tim­ing was per­fect and led us to do some­thing big, im­pact­ful and dom­i­nat­ing,” Di­gia­como said.

Saks has had a long­time as­so­ci­a­tion with the be­lea­guered New York Jets, where it of­ten part­ners with the team and its play­ers on char­i­ta­ble ini­tia­tives. But Di­gia­como said this is dif­fer­ent.

He said Saks knew it wanted to make a strong fash­ion state­ment for this ini­tia­tive and reached out to some of its most val­ued brands to ask them to par­tic­i­pate.

“We started on this eight months ago,” he said. “We got on it re­ally early since we knew it would take a while to cu­rate.”

He said Saks con­cen­trated on cat­e­gories that have “dom­i­nated in the past few sea­sons” such as rtw, ac­ces­sories and sneak­ers, along with T-shirts and sweat­shirts. Then it gave the de­sign­ers

“free rein” to de­velop what­ever they wanted “based on their cre­ative minds. The prod­uct is un­be­liev­able.”

That in­cludes a “Train­ing Camp” hoodie from Off-White em­bla­zoned with a hel­met in the cen­ter, and sneak­ers from Fendi and Ver­sace, among oth­ers. Most of the mer­chan­dise is cen­tered around a sporty mes­sage rather than the game it­self.

Price points range from $65 for a G-Star Raw T-shirt to $4,000 for an Isaia din­ner jacket. The mer­chan­dise will be avail­able be­gin­ning to­day on­line and in stores on Jan. 20. In ad­di­tion to Atlanta, se­lect pieces from the col­lec­tion will be sold in New York; Bos­ton; Bev­erly Hills; Houston; San Fran­cisco; Chevy Chase, Md.; Bal Har­bour, Fla.; Chicago; New Or­leans; Philadel­phia; Toronto, and Hawaii.

Two weeks be­fore the game, the Atlanta store will de­vote its win­dows to the Su­per Bowl. One will dis­play the in­side of a locker room and the other will dis­play a replica of a foot­ball field; both will fea­ture the ex­clu­sive men’s items.

In­side the store, there will also be an Isa­iabranded cock­tail bar, a Mon­cler juice bar and an Études cof­fee bar from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

A foot­ball-in­spired hoodie from Off-White.

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