Founded by Joseph B. and Lyman Bloomingdale in 1861 as a Manhattan dry goods store, Bloomingdale’s Hoopskirt and Ladies’ Notions Shop metamorphosed into Bloomingdale’s department store and finally an extensive luxury chain. First located on the East Side, they moved to 59th Street and Lexington Avenue in 1886, which was an isolated location at that time. As New York City expanded around them, the business flourished. The Art Deco era flagship store and headquarters remains at 59th and Lex. In 1930, Bloomingdale’s merged with Federated Department Stores. According to Caroline Rennolds Milbank in New York Fashion The Evolution of American Style, as of 1931, French models copied in the exact fabrics could be found in the Third Floor Green Room. Models were from Molyneaux, Patou, Lyonlene, and Chanel.
After World War II, Bloomingdale’s featured the Bloomingdale’s Collection in 1947 with designs from Adele Simpson, Claire McCardell and Pauline Trigere. In 1949 the first branch store opened in Flushing Meadows. In the 1960s and 1970s, Bloomingdale’s carried deigns from or had boutiques for Halston, Norma Kamali, Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren, and Yves St. Laurent, among others.
Plaza II was a house line for Bloomingdale’s in the 1970s and 1980s. The Second Floor of Bloomie’s at Lexington and 59th St had Plaza 2 Departments for Sportswear, Dresses, Coats, Suedes & Leathers, Shoes, Handbags and Juniors. Ads found for this line to date range from 1977 – 1987.
Today, as part of Macy’s, Bloomingdales has 54 locations open in the US, with 20 of those outlet stores.
Written by Hollis Jenkins-Evans