In the latest instalment of our interview series, Trunk Talks, we catch up with Bruce Pask, the Men's Fashion Director and curator of the B. Shop at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. Founded in 1899 by Herman Bergdorf, the luxury department store is among the city's most notable and historic department stores and has been a mainstay on Manhattan's 5th Avenue for over a century. Below, we get to know how Bruce got started in the fashion industry, his favourite spots in NYC, and what good retail means to him.
Images by Alex Natt
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in menswear and fashion?
I grew up in Arizona and went to school back east in Virginia. I worked retail during summers while in college and after graduation moved with friends to NYC. I got a job working as a stock person in Paul Smith’s recently opened store on 5th Ave and very quickly fell in love with fashion. I was introduced to the GQ team while there and was able to land a job as a fashion assistant where I started my menswear editorial career. I was there for about ten years, ultimately as Associate Fashion Director. I left to pursue styling and costume design and worked with many photographers including Annie Leibovitz for about three years before returning to Condé Nast to help start the new men’s magazine Cargo. After Cargo ended three years later I become the Men’s Fashion Director at T: The New York Times Style Magazine where I worked for seven years while also working on various other costume, styling, and retail projects. I joined Bergdorf Goodman in 2014 as Men's Fashion Director, bringing my experience in menswear editorial to the retail world and I absolutely love it. Each day is fascinating, unique, and filled with opportunity.
You now have your very own curated department at Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Avenue. How did the B. Shop come about and how does it feel to be part of such a storied business?
We just started our third year at the B. Shop! The idea for the shop stemmed from my work travels and seeing many brands, collections, and pieces that I liked but that I felt needed an environment to work together. The curated shop is very style-minded and wardrobe driven, with pieces that are closet builders that get their strength from being seen and merchandised with other like-minded items, paired with each other as outfit suggestions.
SS22 Trunk items at the B.Shop
We're honoured to say that you stock a selection of products from our in-house Trunk brand. What do you look for when you're choosing a product or a new brand for the B shop?
I am such a Trunk fan and so glad to stock the brand in my shop. It's such a perfect example of what the shop is about: great, easy, thoughtful, wearable items with a bit of design interest and great value. Our customers love finding brands that are unique to us and not seen elsewhere. When I attend Pitti Uomo or the trade fairs and showrooms I am always curious to look at everything. When a brand catches my eye I’ll spend time exploring it further, meeting with the designers and sales teams, and will make sure it adds something special to the overall assortment of the shop.
A big part of the B. Shop seems to be exclusive products and collaborations, how important is it to offer something new and unique to your customers? Have there been any particular favourites?
I do think that it is incredibly important to offer our B. Shop customers unique items and brands that aren’t available elsewhere. It adds a sense of discovery and excitement to the shopping experience. I enjoy expressing creativity through collaborations with designers and brand partners who are experts in their fields. I feel we each bring something interesting and distinct to the project that results in items that we’re all really pleased with. One of my first collaborations was with Common Projects, a grey textured suede Achilles low sneaker that continues to be a top shop item in-store and online (BG.com/Bshop). I have also worked with Le Mont St. Michel, the storied French worker jacket company more than a century old. We have developed a lightly stonewashed version of their classic moleskin jacket that is just a bit softer and perfect for our customers. My most recent collaboration is a six-piece leather and canvas travel set created with Herschel Supply Co. It’s so good! I'm using the backpack right now.
Can you tell us some of your favourite spots in NYC? Let's say morning to evening, what is your ideal day in the city?
I have lived in the East Village for almost the entire time I’ve been in NYC and I love its authenticity. The recently re-opened Temple Bar is a favourite spot for a cocktail. I love all of the west village restaurants from Rita Sodi and Jody Williams: Via Carota, I Sodi, Buvette, their new Shaker-inspired pub and restaurant Commerce Inn, and their great Italian-style Bar Pisellino. I love being in Bergdorf Goodman, working with the team and customers. It’s incredibly satisfying to spend time there throughout the week, always thinking of new ideas, projects, and ways to continue to excite our customers. After work I do love going to the theatre so will often stop by the very discreet Bar Centrale (slightly hidden in a brownstone) for a small bite and drink before heading to curtain time. Of course, I also love our Goodman’s Bar on the second floor of the men’s store. It’s such a jewel of a spot, a nice little hideaway with great food and drinks, perfect for lunch or after-work drinks and bites.
For those that follow you on Instagram, you have a beautiful cottage in Bellport, on the coast of Long Island. How do you best wind down when you're not in the office or travelling for work?
I love being in Bellport, a quick short drive from the city and spend most of my time there when not at work. I love to fuss in the garden, with a few raised beds where I grow herbs and some vegetables. I like to bike ride and visit the local farm stands, enjoying all the locally grown produce. On weekends I take my old Boston Whaler across the bay to the beaches on Fire Island where I love to spend time with friends. I also love cooking and baking so am often hosting small dinner gatherings with a couple of friends and visitors.
Finally, what does good retail mean for you?
Good retail for me is about creating community, providing an inspiring, thought-provoking space filled with informed and helpful people for customers to spend time meeting, discovering, talking and exchanging ideas with; creating special experiences and unexpected ways to delight and surprise visitors while providing the best customer service possible.
Thank you, Bruce!
Visit the B. Shop at Bergdorf Goodman's now to discover a selection of Trunk SS22 items.