I am standing inside Bergdorf Goodman, taking notes, although they have nothing to do with the Veronica Beard spring 2014 launch party that is happening right in front of my eyes, I admit. The fifth floor of the luxury department store, popularly known as “5F,” has a different feel than the levels below it, where mega brands, such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Prada, showcase their runway looks in exquisitely curated spaces. On 5F, the feeling is more causal: The walls are all painted white, and the ceiling is lined with neon lights that resemble a Dan Flavin piece. Rather than $8,000 dresses, you’ll find activewear by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Clover Canyon, Opening Ceremony...brands that are new(ish), exciting, up-and-coming.
After milling around for a few moments, a woman carrying a black Balenciaga Classic City bag and a flute of champagne essentially asks me if I am lost.
“How did you end up here?” she inquires. I explain that I am a writer waiting to congratulate sisters-in-law Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard on their first collection at Bergdorf Goodman.
“It’s a big deal to sell here, right?” she asks, even though she already knew the answer to her question.
I reply, “It can really help a brand grow.”
She nods. “Still, it must be so hard for designers to get here.”
Perhaps she was a designer. Which made me think, "What does it take for a brand to get their clothes sold at Bergdorf Goodman?" So I figured I might as well get the answer from the two women who just made that dream a reality.
“Well, first off, Linda Fargo has to like you,” says Veronica Swanson Beard, referring to the store's senior vice president of the fashion office and store presentation. "And you have to earn your stripes as a brand.”
Swanson Beard continues: “You have to have a jacket nobody else has.” She points to the duo's limited-edition jackets on display, which are quite good. “You have to be involved with your sales, too.”
I ask for one more. “Did the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund help?” (The duo were finalists in 2013.)
“It’s such great exposure,” she admits.
I’ve heard a lot of designers say that, and evidence of the CFDA’s power is clear: Just look at the success of companies like Jason Wu, Marchesa, Proenza Schouler, and Rag & Bone, all CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists. Their rise to fashion fame has been meteoric. But for the Veronicas, who recently told me that they are planning to do a limited-edition collaboration project with some “high-profile ladies” this year, last night felt like their moment in the spotlight.
“It’s something we’ve always wanted,” the designers said.
As the event wrapped up, I saw two women at the cash register -- one in a Veronica Beard jacquard sweater, the other wearing VB’s Spring 2014 animal print jacket -- buying a handful of VB dickeys and pants (some fans, these Veronicas have). The women were also carrying hand-painted tote bags, the treat du jour, by the artist Ryan Humphrey. But the excitement last night wasn’t about the “cha-ching” of the cash register; but rather the success story of a brand getting its wares into such a storied retailer.
On my way out, I saw a rep for Veronica Beard. “We did it!” she beamed.