MAC Unveils 5th Avenue Flagship


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Karen Buglisi, James Gager, Leonard Lauder, John Demsey and Fabrizio Freda.

Following the launch of its first-ever flagship store in Times Square roughly three years ago, MAC has arrived on Fifth Avenue with a shiny new outpost on one of the word’s most illustrious shopping streets.

The brand inaugurated the new space with a boudoir-themed fête featuring a performance by Sami and the Crooners, followed by a warm welcome from Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies.

“Each year, approximately one hundred and eighty-seven million people travel to Fifth Avenue,” said MAC’s global brand president, Karen Buglisi. “No makeup brand is more equipped and more global to cater to such a diverse and important audience.”

Befitting its luxe locale (on 689 Fifth Avenue, at 54th Street), the 2,500 square-foot space has been imagined with refined metallics, MAC said, breaking the brand’s signature tendency towards monochromatic black. “Everything is very diffused, pearlescent and sculpted in light,” described James Gager, MAC’s senior vice president and creative director. “Every one of our stores feels slightly different but tailored to its geography.”

The concept of a flagship store supports the notion that MAC behaves like a luxury fashion brand, Buglisi said, noting its seasonal trend collections and limited edition collaborations with stars in the worlds of music, art, photography and animation.

The brand’s third flagship store will open in Paris in 2013 on the Champs-Élysées—chosen, as was the Fifth Avenue location, for its international exposure and high levels of tourism.

In order to service a diverse clientele with different cultural preferences who speak different languages, 37 total makeup artists with an international profile will staff the store. “What makes the MAC experience so unique is that we have extreme diversity in our artists,” noted Gordon Espinet, MAC’s senior vice president, artist training and development and makeup artistry.

Also tendered for this unique audience will be previously unavailable product collections with a global position—in addition to MAC’s full range of 1,200 total SKUs. For instance, Artist Faves, an online collection of core products chosen by MAC senior artists, will make its debut at Fifth Avenue.

New to MAC—and to high-touch beauty retailing—is a Lash Bar, in which 40 variants are displayed and backlit. Consumers can also “try on” lash styles with masquerade mask-like testing units. “We are by far the go-to seller for lashes of any cosmetics brand,” Espinet said of the ever-expanding category. The store also houses numerous makeup stations, a VIP area and will showcase continual animation around new collections.

Going forward, the Fifth Avenue flagship will exisit as a hub for editorial broadcasting, filming and appointments. It will host PR events for bloggers and makeup applications for local and global media during New York Fashion Week, as well as serve as a venue for master classes and seasonal trend presentations.

All told, MAC touts a retail presence in 80 countries and territories around the world for a total of 1,758 doors.

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Renderings of the storefront, a private makeup nook and an interior long shot.
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Filmmaker Liz Goldwyn with Leonard Lauder of The Estée Lauder Companies. MAC’s Romero Jennings and Keri Blair.  

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