When the time comes to hit the road, you need to be sure you’re properly outfitted. For Barneys, that typically means sporting shoes and bags we love from designers we adore, but even the freshest accessories can only take you so far—there are times you need a set of wheels. So as we celebrate the season’s new arrivals from the likes of Balenciaga, Fendi, and Loewe, we can think of no more fitting partner than Lexus and the luxury carmaker’s latest addition, the 471 horsepower LC 500 coupe. That’s why we’re so excited to unveil ‘Haute Pursuit,’ our Madison Avenue window installation that highlights the best of both high fashion and luxury automaking.
“The LC 500 represents a new era of Lexus performance and design,” says Brian Bolain, the USA General Manager for Product and Consumer Marketing for Lexus. “The craftsmanship and styling of the LC 500 make a bold statement, so launching a dynamic and striking window display on Madison Avenue was a perfect way to celebrate our newest flagship vehicle.”
The pairing is a natural fit for Barneys, too, and ‘Haute Pursuit’ is the latest installment of a yearlong partnership between the two brands. “Both the Lexus customer and the Barneys client look for an exclusive relationship to the product that differentiates it from anything else on the market,” says Barneys creative director Matthew Mazzucca. “What also aligns the two brands so much is that we’re always trying to find new, smart, and sophisticated ways of retelling the story of our brands without losing our core identity.”
Building on this synergy, ‘Haute Pursuit’ draws inspiration from key elements that differentiate the Lexus LC 500—each of the four Madison Avenue windows focuses on one aspect of the prestigious coupe and puts it front and center. “It’s been an exciting and eye-opening process to be able to understand the engineering behind this unique vehicle firsthand,” Mazzucca tells us. “We wanted to isolate these elements in a way that’s abstract enough to relate to our customers’ approach to aesthetics, but focused enough to take some of the key elements of the LC 500 and convey one clear message across all four windows.”
First up are the vehicle’s lightweight, forged alloy wheels, whose polished finish is reflected in the window’s chrome finishes and gloss black accents. The coupe’s high-performance tires also make an appearance, since they too have become a visual feature of the LC 500. “The feeling of the first window is largely driven by the texture of the very special, performance-based tires,” Mazzucca says.
Moving up Madison Avenue, next comes the window focusing on elements of the vehicle’s rich interior, which was painstakingly crafted by Lexus’ meticulous Japanese artisans. “The interior is where people spend all their time,” notes Bolain. “So our focus was on maximum driver engagement, but also providing a bespoke quality—a handcrafted feel—to the driver experience.” Details like the elliptical steering wheel, distinctive contoured door panels, and perforated leather have been photographically enlarged to create an abstract, landscape-like environment for a selection of men’s shoes and bags.
Next up, just north of the store’s main entrance is a window dedicated the vehicle’s Mark Levinson-engineered sound system and its connection to the LC 500’s revolutionary Active Sound Control. Speakers in the front and rear of the car respond to changes in RPMs of the engine, like when you shift or accelerate, to further enhance the driving experience. The sound of the engine—the mechanical noises as well as the air intake and exhaust—have been engineered as part of the vehicle’s design, and the speakers further emphasize this. “Part of what makes that sound happen are the dual exhaust pipes that live under the car. Lexus sent the actual parts to us, and we then refinished them for display,” Mazzucca tells us. “We then clad the room in a print of acoustic panels and built the plinths into speakers, which are fed by wires that come directly from the exhaust pipes themselves. It’s the idea of how you translate the sentiment into display.”
Lastly, the fourth window is a tribute to the exterior design of the LC 500 and features a life-sized line rendering of the luxury coupe. “Two key features that are very specific to Lexus are their headlights and their grill, so we augmented the line drawing of the car with real, 3-D version of these elements,” Mazzucca says. “It creates the feeling of an exploded diagram of the car’s façade.”
While each of the windows hones in on a specific aspect of the Lexus LC 500, the four come together to form one view of this incredible vehicle, as well as to tell the story of the partnership between Lexus and Barneys. “The best thing about working with Lexus is that allow us to take an idea, expand upon it, and show things in a very interesting way. They give us tools and assets to create new stories and go beyond the straightforward window to showcase something truly artistic,” says Mazzucca. “Our goal is to show Lexus to our customer, because we believe in that product, as well as to their brand DNA.”
The ‘Haute Pursuit’ window installation is now on view at Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship and will run through Sunday, July 16th.