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Peter Marino’s Moment

Surrounded by about 120 of his peers and friends from fashion, visual merchandising and display, store design, retail, academia, art and photography, Peter Marino received the prestigious Andrew Markopoulos Award at the Ralph Pucci International gallery in Manhattan Tuesday night.

“It’s always special when you get recognized by people in your own industry,” Marino told WWD.

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While accepting an award of such high-standing, Marino managed to keep the festivities light. “This follows the Emmy Awards and the Golden Globes,” he said, quipping his way through the event, while keeping his acceptance message short but heartfelt, and asking some in the crowd, “Have you seen Tiffany’s?” That, of course, was one of his tour de force renovation projects, reimagining and modernizing the Fifth Avenue flagship into a modern, contemporary and highly detailed setting.

Regarding what’s next for the New York-based Peter Marino Architect firm and its team of 160, Marino said, “We’ve got lots of projects going on. Chanel fine jewelry opens Feb. 7 on Fifth Avenue. It’s a big one.” He’s got other flagship projects in motion in Manhattan and beyond, including the Dior renovation and expansion on 57th Street, and he’ll be working on the Louis Vuitton renovation, also on 57th Street.

The annual Andrew Markopoulos Award recognizes outstanding retail design professionals. Markopoulus, who passed away in 1999 at the age of 68, was a leader in store design and display and the creative force behind some of the most dramatic flagships in the country, including Dayton’s in Minneapolis, which he designed in the guise of a 1920s ocean liner, as well as recreating Marshall Field’s in Chicago, and Gimbels in Philadelphia.

At Dayton’s, he held the title of senior vice president of visual merchandising and store design for department stores. He also developed some of the most innovative merchandise campaigns and rocked the retail world when he pioneered a 360-degree workday casual program in the late ’80s, initially blocked by Dayton’s management as cost-prohibitive. But Markopoulos pushed it through, with billboards, shopping bags, front-and-center in-store displays and windows. According to Chuck Luckenbill, who worked with Markopoulos, that program ended up giving Dayton’s “It’s biggest bang for the buck.…Andrew was my mentor.”

“My father changed the lens through which people looked at visual merchandising and store design where it became an art form and a way of expression,” said Nicole Markopoulos, Andrew’s daughter. “He dared to think big, pushed people beyond their comfort zone, and asked the question, ‘Why not?'”

Among those in the crowd were several previous Andrew Markopoulos Award recipients — there have been 26, including Marino — including Linda Fargo, Bergdorf Goodman’s senior vice president of the fashion office and store presentation; Eric Feigenbaum, an editor of VMSD Magazine which sponsors the Markopoulos Award, and Dan Evans, currently a retail consultant and formerly in the mannequin business.

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