It’s hard not to be effusive about the Henri Bendel opening in The Galleria. Not only is the 2,000 square-foot store beautiful and laden with baubles and bags, but it is a signal of the improving times and explosive growth of new, upscale brands calling Houston home.
Henri Bendel was blazing trails long before chocolate brown was an “it” color and Andy Warhol, the pop artist icon, was an illustrator for the company. The signature brown-and-white color scheme was an intentional branding move by Mr. Bendel back in 1895, and its relevance is evident today in the cocoa leather wraps on the shelves and reflected in the handmade Italian chandelier.
"If you are going to get serious about rolling out stores in America, and if you are really are worth your salt, Houston’s one of the top five markets in the country,” Fiori says.
“There is great attention to detail in the store.The fixtures are surrounded by luxury goods at accessible prices” Henri Bendel president Chris Fiore says. “We concentrate on creating the New York Bendel spirit here.”
They are also concentrating on aggressive expansion. A refreshed website and the unflagging desire to accessorize and beautify means 50 to 60 brown-and-white striped stores across the country.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve started looking for markets where we can resonate the Henri Bendel brand and relate to the customer. If you are going to get serious about rolling out stores in America, and if you are really are worth your salt, Houston’s one of the top five markets in the country,” Fiore says.
Houston’s rep as a serious shopping city is reflected in the merchandise. The store received a limited number of a black cascading necklaces ($298) and a $7,500 rolling jewelry trunk handmade in Morocco standing at the entrance of the store speak to the companies enthusiasm for the Houston shopper.
“This is really the best of who we are right now,” Fiore says. By the looks of the crowd on opening day, Henri Bendel’s best certainly seems good enough.