Bloomingdale’s Gets Its ‘Game On’ With Carousel Shop Curated by Venus Williams

Bloomingdale’s next Carousel is appropriately titled “Game On.”

Curated by Venus Williams, The Carousel @Bloomingdale’s: Game On, in partnership with Air France, features an array of items across categories, including an exclusive collaboration between Williams, the seven-time Grand Slam singles winner and entrepreneur, and Bloomingdale’s private label, Aqua.

The shop is available both in-store and online.

“As a longtime admirer of the brand, I am very excited to have my own exclusive Aqua collection at Bloomingdale’s,” said the 43-year-old Williams. “This collection is a special opportunity to draw inspiration from my personal style and create chic pieces that can empower women to feel great and look great for any occasion.”

Offerings run the gamut from preppy athleisure, and nostalgic retro apparel to accessories and summer beauty items. In addition to Aqua x Venus Williams collection, the shop will carry exclusives from brands such as Anine Bing, Longchamp and Williams’ own brands, Happy Viking, a plant-based superfood nutrition company, and Asutra, all-natural self care products.

Frank Berman, executive vice president, chief marketing officer, at Bloomingdale’s, said The Carousel @Bloomingdale’s: Game On “reinforces Bloomingdale’s position as a culturally relevant retailer at the forefront of what is new.

“The multicategory products featured within The Carousel are inspired by the summer’s biggest events, and we’re so excited for shoppers to discover new must-have,” he said.

The shop will be anchored by the exclusive Aqua x Venus Williams collaboration, a sporty line of athletic and ready-to-wear apparel and handbags inspired by Williams’ style both on and off the tennis court. The 36-piece collection consists of active sets, including hoodies, joggers, sports bras, skirts, leggings, tennis dresses and rompers. There are also statement pieces such as cashmere cardigans, a maxidress, polos and a vest, among other items.

Kevin Harter, vice president of integrated marketing at Bloomingdale’s, said, “When we were brainstorming what the summer of 2024 would look like, knowing that there was going to be the Summer Olympics, and this passion for tennis and even golf seems to get bigger and bigger, we felt this was the perfect moment to do something like this.” He said they started planning this out more than a year ago.

He said The Carousel has both fashionable and athletic elements “whether it’s a tennis jacket or a cute skirt.” The Aqua x Venus Williams collection is only women’s, but the shop has some men’s apparel items. “But the Venus collection is the star of the concept,” said Harter, adding he believes “it will blow out quickly.”

Further, he said with the Summer Games being based in Paris, it was the right time to pair up with Air France. “I think it really resonates with our customers as well because the Bloomingdale’s customer is a European summer traveler in general,” he said.

In addition to the 1,600-square-foot Carousel at the Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship are three Carousel shops within other Bloomingdale’s locations. All of the Bloomingdale’s stores will carry the Aqua x Venus Williams collection. Harter added that when you walk into the Carousel, “You’ll get that summer vibe.”

Harter said he loved working with Williams on the collaboration. “She is such a professional. She was so involved with this collaboration. She was so collaborative with not only our product team, she was involved in every single piece. We also did a photo shoot with her, everyone on set was in awe of her. She showed up on time and was so lovely to the entire crew. She was one of the easiest collaborators, and so passionate,” he said.

He said that Game On will be marketed through the website’s landing page, emails and social media.

Describing the collection, Williams told WWD that she created products that will appeal to all types of sports enthusiasts and fashion lovers.

“The pieces are a blend of athleisure, chic accessories and summer beauty essentials — everything you need to look and feel your best this summer,” Williams said. She said she took inspiration from her own personal style both off and on the court and wanted to create pieces that women can feel confident and powerful in.

“This collection is not your typical athleisure collection,” Williams said. “We have some statement pieces that include cashmere cardigans, polos, vests, a maxidress, etc. that you can either dress up or down. They are all so versatile and perfect for any weekend look, travel wear or just simple athleticwear,” she said. Williams said her favorite looks are the “cashmere and tweed pieces.”

As for what Williams thinks will be bestsellers, she said, “I personally love a cashmere moment. It is comfortable and cozy, but super elevated and simple at the same time.” She believes the Aqua x Venus Williams collection is “really made for anyone who wants to feel a bit elevated in their athleticwear and just confident in their day to day. “The great thing about this collection is there’s a little bit of everything — you can wear it to the office, out to dinner with friends, or just staying at home,” Williams said.

When asked what prompted her to do this collaboration, she said, “I love fashion, but most importantly, I love when people feel their best and empowered to conquer anything. With this Carousel and Aqua collection, I just wanted to share the products and pieces that allow you to express yourself and feel confident,” said Williams, who previously had her own tenniswear line called EleVen by Venus Williams, that she founded in 2007, but paused last February.

Coinciding with the Carousel, Bloomingdale’s will host exclusive activations for 59th Street shoppers including an Air France Travel Sweepstakes. From Thursday to Monday, those who stop by the 59th Street Game on Carousel shop can enter for the chance to win two roundtrip business class tickets to Paris. On Thursday, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Williams will be in-store at the 59th Street flagship to meet customers as they shop her curated carousel and the Aqua x Venus Williams collection.

In addition, on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., Bloomingdale’s will host an event for 59th Street shoppers in celebration of the Carousel opening with Happy Viking protein samples, Asutra hand massages, a Little Words Project tennis bracelet bead bar, Air France macarons and full-sized Vacation Chardonnay Oil SPF 30 gifts with Carousel purchases.

Game On officially launches in select stores Thursday and online on Monday. The shop will stay open through Aug. 26.

SOURCE: Women’s Wear Daily

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