First Look: Highlights of Nordstrom’s long-awaited NYC flagship

Marianne Wilson
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Nordstrom is betting big in one of its biggest markets, with the largest single-project investment in the brand’s storied history. 

The upscale retailer has opened its first full-line department store for women in New York, a towering, seven-level, 320,000-sq.-ft. flagship in the heart of Manhattan. The just-opened Nordstrom is located at Broadway and West 57th Street, in the base of Central Park Tower, the tallest residential building in the world, and across the street from the Nordstrom Men's Store, which opened in spring 2018. 

The new Nordstrom is sleek and modern, with an iconic glass wave façade (the store was designed is a collaboration with James Carpenter Design Associates; CallisonRTKL is the architect of record) that brings in natural light and provide an interactive viewing experience for customers inside and at street level. The all-transparent façade has no boxed-in windows, making the entire store a display window to passers-by. An open, hyper-flexible floor plan allows for an evolving curation of how products are displayed. Fifty-four original pieces from up-and-coming artists are located throughout the space — customers can even take an audio-guided tour of the collection via the [email protected] app.  

MERCHANDISE: The merchandise assortment includes a curated offering across categories and price points, ranging from iconic luxury brands such as Saint Laurent to up-and-comers like Birdies and Everlane to the more accessible Madewell and Topshop. Many have their own pop-ups or in-store shops, including:

* The Christian Louboutin pop-up features an exclusive 30-piece capsule of footwear, handbags and gift items, with the space inspired by a museum near Louboutin's childhood home in Paris. 

* The Burberry concept is housed within a giant, immersive installation spanning five rooms, and is accented with wood-paneled walls and raised theatre-style seating. It even has its own café offering British classics.

* Nordstrom x Nike (NxN) is designed as the ultimate women's sneaker boutique and features Nike product with a curated selection of merchandise from fashion brands.

* Space: A boutique dedicated to advanced and emerging designer collections as selected by Nordstrom VP of creative projects Olivia Kim. It also includes the first branded in-store shop from Acne Studios and a one-of-a-kind Comme des Garcons shop designed with artist and furniture designer Marc Hundley.

* Pop In @ Nordstrom, on the fifth level, will feature a different brand every six weeks. It opened with a collection of items from Everlane. 

BEAUTY:  The two-level beauty department is Nordstrom’s largest to date, with more than 100 brands and 16 shop concepts. It combines traditional beauty counter service with digital features, including an augmented reality (AR) assisted mirror, “Lipstick Finder,” that shows a customer how her lips will look in any of 400 colors and an interactive mirror that allows customers to virtually 'try on' trend makeup looks.

The department also boasts a full-service spa, the Beauty Haven, whose offerings include blowouts, facials, manicures, waxing, threading, spray tans, makeup applications, brow styling, and Botox injections.

SERVICES: The wide range of services, many of which connect the physical and digital, including 24/7 online order pick-up and delivery; same-day delivery to eligible addresses; on-site alterations and tailoring, including express alterations in 30-60 minutes; gift wrapping; shoe, handbag and small leather goods repair; connected fitting rooms; digital directories; cell phone charging stations and more.  Styling services including a stylist's lounge offering one-on-one appointments.

FOOD/BEVERAGES: The store houses seven different food and beverage outposts, including a cocktail bar in the middle of the shoe floor; a dessert shop with gluten-free donuts; a pizza and pasta restaurant; and a colorful, Pacific Rim-inspired restaurant.