Fashion / Shopping

Dallas’ Most Beloved Fashion Mecca Sets Its Houston Opening Date — and it’s Just in Time for the Holiday Frenzy

BY Rob Brinkley // 11.21.16
photography Mindy Byrd

A retailer of biblical proportions takes on Houston, with the opening of the first Forty Five Ten store outside of Dallas. It’s set to throw open its doors on Wednesday, November 23 in River Oaks District.

Cult is a fair word. So are nexus, zeitgeist, and wow. For nearly 17 years, the boutique Forty Five Ten, named for its original street address in a leafy little district of Dallas, has consistently attracted with a religious fervor clotheshorses, dandies, design junkies, celebrities, tourists, journalists, bloggers, visiting designers, VIPs, and the ladies who lunch — especially that last bunch, who come almost daily to meet, eat, and shop. And shop. And shop.

They all come, these moths to fashion’s flame, for design-driven clothes for women and men, evocative fragrances, collectible jewels, home goods, shoes, handbags, makeup, books, candles, and a certain camaraderie. If you shop at Forty Five Ten, you are in the club. Any minute now, that club is about to grow — into Houston’s tony River Oaks District, where its influential neighbors include Dior, Etro, Hermès, and Tom Ford.

The new Forty Five Ten will open Wednesday, November 23 in a 3,300-square-foot space.

Why Houston, for such a Dallas institution? “Easy,” says Forty Five Ten president, partner, and co-founder Brian Bolke. “We have almost 17 years of great Houston clients begging us to do it.”

Bolke’s business card is crowded: He is president, partner, and co-founder, and his retail C.V. includes I. Magnin and Neiman Marcus. And just two weeks ago Bolke and team opened a stunning new four-story flagship in downtown Dallas.

Holiday Gifting

  • Wayne Smith
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Cotton Club
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Elaine Turner - GiGi Flats
  • Wayne Smith
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Cotton Club
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Elaine Turner - Felicia Stole in Magenta
  • Asher Gallery
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch

For Forty Five Ten’s expansion, he has brought on some rather high-profile help: Taylor Tomasi Hill (whose fashion creds include W, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, and top shopping site Moda Operandi, where she was creative director) has signed on as VP of creative and women’s fashion director; Nick Wooster (whose checklist includes Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Barneys New York, and Bergdorf Goodman) signed on as men’s fashion director, the same position he held at Neiman Marcus; and Rob Dailey, an affable Dallas interior designer known for supremely chic spaces, has come aboard as home creative director.

forty five ten
Illustrator Donald Robertson for Forty Five Ten River Oaks.

If you’re a fashion-obsessed female or male, you may want to secure some smelling salts. Among the ready-to-wear women’s labels: Carven, Christopher Kane, Faith Connexion, Gabriela Hearst, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Monse, Rochas, and Rosie Assoulin, plus shoes from Dorateymur, Newbark, Nicholas Kirkwood and Tabitha Simmons; and handbags from JW Anderson, Mark Cross, Valextra, Smythson and more.

The fine- ewelry roster includes Monique Péan, Kimberly McDonald, Tina Craig x Nouvel Heritage, Jade Jagger, The Woods, Spinelli Kilcollin, Mark Davis, Of Rare Origin and other names.

For men? Ready-to-wear from Comme des Garçons Shirt, Sacai, Seraphin, Lanvin, Maison Margiela, and The Elder Statesman. Modern-day dandies will beeline to shoes and accessories from Hender Scheme, John Lobb, Common Projects and Nick Fouquet.

The offerings for beauty and fragrance, are heady featuring Forty Five Ten’s Rare Beauty concept — exclusive fragrance, color and treatment from Bellatora, Derm Institute, Dr. Sebagh, Goop Skincare, Mila Moursi, Royal Fern, Vintner’s Daughter, and fragrances from A Beautiful Mind, Andree Putman, Eight & Bob, Escentric Molecules, Heretic Parfums and much more.

Home and gift includes Denis Colomb Lifestyle, Knoll, Pinel Pinel, Martha Sturdy, Bollen Glass, Smythson and Connor Stationery, as well as a complete Assouline department.

What is Brian Bolke’s big idea behind the confident curation? “Discovery,” he says. “I want someone who is coming in for a lipstick to fall in love with a shoe, or a woman shopping for herself to find a sweater perfect for her husband — or happening onto the perfect gift for the difficult mother-in-law. These things don’t happen when shopping online.”

“It’s very dramatic and expansive,” says David Droese, AIA, of Dallas-based Droese Raney Architecture, “and it plays on the pedestrian vibe of River Oaks District.”

Droese and partner Lance Raney — they’ve designed stores for Billy Reid, Lush Cosmetics, Draper James, Lucchese, Stag, and Fred Segal Feet — devised the Houston outpost as a nod to Forty Five Ten in Dallas but with an aura all its own. Two walls are glass, stretching from floor to ceiling, and are a lofty 20 feet high.

Six steel-and-glass interior walls delineate various shopping spaces — spaces propped with furniture that is a mix of mid-century modern and brand-new Knoll. The dressing rooms? Those have steel-and-glass doors, perfect for seeing yourself in diffused natural light — or, if you wish, various lighting scenarios. Dimmer? A different hue? Just touch a button.

Click here to read our exclusive Q&A with Forty Five Ten president Brian Bolke.


Featured Properties