“There’s hardly anyone who’s lived in New York City who doesn’t have a Barneys moment,” says Barneys Creative Director Dennis Freedman, speaking of the bond between Barneys and our hometown. Now, for the first time, the intertwined histories of both are being showcased in a new coffee table book from Rizzoli entitled, simply, Barneys. “By going back to the beginning, you get an understanding of how it all began,” Freedman continues. “Everyone who reads and looks at this book is going to discover surprises.”

barney new york book
Ideas and images reinforce each other throughout the book, as illustrated here by a quote from Christian Louboutin paired with an image of Barneys-created windows for the brand.

Freedman began the project by engaging one of Barneys’ core stratagems: the power of collaboration. The book owes its distinctive layout to the design firm Sagmeister & Walsh, while Vanity Fair contributor David Kamp wrote the book’s forward. The book’s historic imagery comes alive through the words of Christopher Bollen, novelist and editor-at-large at Interview magazine. “When you look back to see all the people that have contributed over all these years to building the brand, it’s a history of New York City,” Freedman says, referencing the legendary New York artists and celebrities featured in the book alongside the work of photographers like Steven Meisel, Corinne Day, Nick Knight, Juergen Teller, Bruce Weber, and Mario Sorrenti, all of whom created iconic Barneys New York ad campaigns.

barney new york book
Iconic window dresser Simon Doonan has had a long history with Barneys and his work is featured throughout the book. Here, he puts the finishing touches on a Prince mannequin for a 1992 holiday window display.
barney new york book
A more recent window display, this amazing sculpture was created by Bob Recine and the Barneys visual team to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Chloe in 2013.

Bollen echoed these sentiments. “The book presented an opportunity to really see how New York was built, through the lens of this store that started in a tiny shoebox of a space in one corner of Manhattan and really grew into something more,” he says of the brand’s undeniable presence in New York culture. “Barneys managed to build a renown as a mecca of cool,” Bollen continues. “Growing up, it was where all the people I was obsessed with went to buy their clothes. It appealed to anyone who had that thirst for New York. It’s always been aspirational, but to a specific person who was maybe alternative and artistic.”

barney new york book
A timeline chronicles key moments in history alongside examples of how Barneys tapped into these cultural references. During the 1990s, Steven Meisel shot many Barneys campaigns, including the Linda Evangelista example seen here.
barney new york book
Sprinkled throughout the book are recipes created by executive chef Mark Strausman for Barneys’ Freds restaurants.

Between the tales of Andy Warhol shopping at the original Chelsea location and the stories of an endless stream of New York men who made a Barneys New York pilgrimage on the hunt for their first major purchase—a Bar Mitzvah suit—the book makes one thing clear: It doesn’t get any more New York than Barneys.

Rizzoli’s Barneys is available in both a standard version and a limited-edition deluxe version.