From the outside, the new Lucchese store in Highland Village looks a bit like a Ralph Lauren boutique, with blue awnings over big windows and a large wooden door with a carved "L" handle. In some ways, the longtime luxury bootmaker is trying to emulate the iconic designer in creating a fashionable lifestyle brand based on a glorious heritage.
The store also carries a large selection of fashion-forward items, including hip-looking stilettos and Equestrian-inspired handbags that can be worn with designer wear.
The 130-year-old El Paso company is aiming for a larger audience at its new flagship store in the former Ann Taylor space next to Escalante's. Sure there are lots of cool-looking boots, including a red version made uniquely for the Houston store and a paneled room in the back of the store — completed with a fully stocked bar with the best bourbons — where customers can custom order a pair of handcrafted boots, selecting from hides ranging from elephant to crocodile.
But the store also carries a large selection of fashion-forward items, including hip-looking stilettos and Equestrian-inspired handbags, clutches, totes and cross-body bags that can be worn with designer wear. Other eyecatchers are a series of Hamilton Shirts created by Lyle Lovett, Hudson jeans, Peyote Bird Designs jewelry and one-of-a-kind belt buckles handmade from silver, gold and precious stones by Clint Orms Silversmith.
The store, created by Dallas-based Droese Raney Architecture, has a upscale rustic theme, with a ceiling made of hand-hewn white oak beams reclaimed from barns built more than a century ago, hardwood floors and white oak display fixtures. Dallas-based designer Lyn Muse of Lyn Muse Interiors, who owns Lucchese with her husband John, divided the store into two distinct areas, with the left side in darker, more masculine colors featuring men's boots, shoes, apparel and accessories, and the right side in lighter, more feminine shades for ladies merchandise in lighter.
A display of cowboy boots saluting every state in the nation is featured prominently in the middle of the store. The Texas boot shows the state flag and state bird, the mockingbird. The boots, which are not for sale, took four years to create, says director of retail sales Jay Hamby.
The brand has been embraced by nearly every U.S. president and has become a noted accessory at celebrity weddings. Blake Shelton wore custom Lucchese boots when he married Miranda Lambert in 2011 as did Kings Of Leon's Jared Followill and model Martha Patterson when they wed in 2012.
Channel 11 Morning News anchor Lily Jang and I toured the new store for this week's KHOU CultureMap Moments. See the video here: