Barneys Takes On Bankruptcy Headlines With Clever Store Signage
Barneys New York, a store synonymous with fancy stuff and excess, is doing its best to silence the haters who would dare believe the #fakenews that it's in financial trouble and possibly heading for closure.
It would be a lot easier to believe Barneys' story if the company hadn't filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August.
However, the store is firing back against the reports of its death (which it swears are greatly exaggerated) by hanging up some window displays "inspired by sensational headlines."
Some of the signs say "BARNEYS TIL I DIE," "NOT CLOSED" and "THE EMPEROR HAS CLOTHES."
Barneys is NOT CLOSED https://t.co/CQvwLl7gdT
— rachel seville tashjian (@theprophetpizza) September 10, 2019
Rather than firing back at the press directly, Barneys decided windows would be a better way to get the message across.
"Putting something in the press, putting [together] something that can be broken apart, doesn't feel right," Barneys creative director Matthew Mazzucca told GQ. "This is something that, like, you can't disassemble and make a different thing out of."
That sounds like a challenge to would-be vandals, but there is a point there. Writers and analysts can pick and choose information from a press release. A sign pasted on the front of the store is a more defiant thesis statement that Barneys is there to stay.
GQ's Rachel Tashjian writes:
Plus, it’s, ya know, on brand. Window witticisms have been a Barneys New York signature for decades, a tone long set by creative-ambassador-at-large Simon Doonan. More generally, acerbic but stylish advertising is part of Barneys’ DNA, since it transformed from a discount menswear store into a temple to forward-thinking fashion in the late ’70s. The company put Andy Warhol in commercials in the ’80s, and in the ’90s, creative director Glenn O’Brien (himself an Interview alum) put the season’s best fashion into painted advertisements by Jean-Philippe Delhomme, complete with dry creative upper-class ripostes: “Ruth had multiple personalities. They all had credit cards.”
Handling something like filing for bankruptcy while existing very much in the public eye is a tough balancing act for businesses, and especially retailers. There are a million ways to play this hand, and most of them end with embarrassment or ruined reputations. Barneys chose to lean into the news in its own way, continue to operate with the tone it's always used and take on the negative press on its own terms.
Barneys Til I'm Dead.