There's a big pink elephant in the new Marc by Marc Jacobs store at the Forum Shops at Caesars. And by big pink elephant, we mean big pink elephant. It nearly touches the ceiling, is pulled by a male mannequin and mounted by a female one.
The window display doesn't represent some subject no one wants to address. It's just an easy way to get attention, according to Marc Jacobs President Robert Duffy. "In Vegas, you need something that's gonna stand out," he says.
As foot traffic outside the store comes to a halt and folks start clicking their cameras to capture the spectacle, it's clear he's accomplished his mission.
Marc by Marc Jacobs is the 12-year-old bridge line of more trendy, modestly priced pieces from the esteemed fashion designer for whom it's named. Marc Jacobs the collection is the luxury brand for which celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Meg White of the White Stripes band have posed in artsy, controversial advertising campaigns. The Marc Jacobs store is just an escalator-ride away from the new Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique.
The Marc Jacobs store is smaller and, at least on this day, quieter.
Aside from the fake elephant, clicking cameras and shoppers who've come to check out the new digs, the clothes at Marc by Marc Jacobs are also loud. Neon pinks, blinding yellows and bright blues give the eyes plenty of distractions.
Handbags cover the back wall with handle bags, frame purses and totes ranging in cost from $198-$538. Little denim shorts run $138 and a blue summer dress designed specifically for the Vegas store is $398. And, the ittier and bittier the swimsuits are here, the better they sell .
"We did a retro-style suit" with ample coverage "but in Vegas, forget about it," Duffy says.
In a nod to Nevada's cowboy roots, Duffy was also sure to include Vegas-themed cuff bracelets ($275) and belt buckles ($295). To have them made, he partnered with a designer he stumbled upon during a trip to Vegas that coincided with National Finals Rodeo.
As for menswear, there's plenty of it here. Other Marc by Marc Jacobs stores generally have much less to offer to men. Here, the 2,300-square-foot store is split down the middle. Men head to the left, women to the right. Pricepoints are in the $200-$500 area with a few exceptions. "Men can get a suit for $600 and jeans for $78," Duffy says. "People really respond to that."
Duffy took a trip downstairs recently to check on a Marc Jacobs customer. She had specific requests, most notably a bias-cut waist in her pants. He estimates her shopping trip took a good eight hours, alterations included.
"This (Marc by Marc Jacobs) customer is more spontaneous, more fun," he says. "They still look at it as an investment, but they definitely like trends."
For instance, the best-selling shoe at every Marc by Marc Jacobs store is a platform sneaker. Sensibility and longevity aren't the top priority.
At the entrance of the store, a bowl of condoms greets visitors with a "better safe than sorry" message and special items in the $10-$15 range immediately act as temptations. They consist of wishbone necklaces, lucite bracelets, and Las Vegas-themed playing cards. It's a strong rebuttal to the $500 key chain notable fashion brands with boutiques at the Forum Shops are known to carry.
Sunglasses, fragrances and footwear are also available. Neon sleeves for laptops and iPads aren't forgotten, either.
According to Duffy, Marc Jacobs was one of the first members of the fashion industry to get onboard with social media. "Ours has grown organically," he says of the brand's 575,000 Twitter followers. "We never bought followers. I know others have."
The brand's social media efforts certainly affected the new Marc by Marc Jacobs' opening day. It was supposed to fall on a Friday, but fans from California and the Midwest started lining up and snapping photos on Thursday. Duffy couldn't make them wait any longer and insisted the doors be unlocked.
Pretty soon, the store had a line of 200 eager shoppers standing outside. How'd they find out about the early opening? A little birdie called Twitter told them.
Marc by Marc Jacobs is located at the Forum Shops at Caesars, 734-0220.
Contact fashion reporter Xazmin Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.