Bloomingdale’s, Dubai

Like No Other Store in the World: Bloomingdale’s first international store is in the Dubai Mall.
Posted March 29, 2010
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Bloomingdale’s has had its greatest successes in fashionable U.S. cities like New York and San Francisco. But perhaps no U.S. city has the appreciation for Western fashion elegance, or the ability to pay for it, that Dubai has. It’s fitting, then, that Bloomingdale’s very first international store has just opened at the Dubai Mall (now the world’s largest mall).

The road to Dubai for Bloomingdale’s was paved by the relationship between international consultant and former Bloomingdale’s ceo Marvin Traub and the Al Tayer Group, the Dubaian development and holding company. And Bloomingdale’s chairman and ceo Michael Gould was encouraged by the Dubaians’ desire to represent the brand the way Bloomingdale’s needed to be represented: “A full expression of the brand in its most modern version,” according to Jack Hruska, Bloomingdale’s executive vp, creative services.

To accommodate certain space challenges, the Bloomingdale’s Dubai store is actually two separate stores: a 146,000-square-foot fashion store and a 54,000-square-foot home store.

Working with Callison/RYA Studios (which, as RYA Design Consultancy, had created the San Francisco store), Hruska produced a store that “looks very Bloomingdale’s” – black and white floors, black lacquer and mirror finishes, luxurious fitting rooms, illuminated mannequin platforms, long sightlines, lots of original artwork and the use of furniture in place of fixtures in some places. “It’s a compilation of design details from our last five U.S. stores,” Hruska adds, “though Arabic influences are tenderly cushioned throughout the store as highlights.” And it carries the traditional Bloomingdale’s fashion brands, plus certain vendors the retailer hasn’t carried, such as Gucci, YSL and Balenciaga.

“There’s no mistaking our brand,” says Hruska. “You could be dropped in this store blindfolded, halfway across the world, and know you’re in a Bloomingdale’s.”