“Trust me, I keep asking myself why we’re opening now,” Brian Bolke says as he walks us through his newest project, The Conservatory on Two, which opens today on the second floor of Highland Park Village.
It’s an understandable question during a pandemic, but, incidentally, Bolke’s particular retail setup may feel safer than most. The airy 4,000-square-foot space is more gallery than store — there are even artworks sourced from internationally-renowned Lehmann Maupin. Edited displays of minimalist, beautiful things have products tags placed under washable plastic or glass, with Bitly links that allow shoppers to gather details on their phones and purchase later through the brand’s digital flagship. The Conservatory on Two will also host virtual shopping appointments, private in-store previews, and offers contact-free delivery. Even the space itself — wrapped in indoor trees and panoramic views of Dallas Country Club’s lush golf course — niftily brings the safer feeling outdoors in.
“The store was designed with a feeling of calm,” Bolke writes in a release. “We want our clients to have a level of comfort and feel relaxed.”
Of course, this isn’t just another new Dallas store. The Conservatory on Two serves as a more comprehensive version The Conservatory, which quietly opened in a tiny first-floor spot in Highland Park Village last September. More comprehensive still would The Conservatory’s original location, in a sprawling, 7,000-square-foot space in New York’s Hudson Yards (which remains closed during the pandemic), where sustainable fashion and a “low touch/high service” model blending ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retail — now likely more relevant to shoppers than ever — has been a part of the company’s ethos since debuting in March 2019.
The attachment of Bolke’s name alone makes a store opening newsworthy. One of the original co-founders of Forty Five Ten (along with Shelley Musselman and Bill Mackin back in 2000), Bolke exited the company in 2017 (Headington Companies acquired the store in 2014) to pursue what we now know to be The Conservatory, cultivated around the tenets of slow fashion and sustainability — Bolke calls it “considered luxury,” a term he’s had trademarked. Other familiar and much-loved former Forty Five Ten faces around the shop are Shasa Mitchum, a fragrance expert and The Conservatory’s new Wellness and Beauty Specialist, and Travis Christian, Manager of Client Experience.
Retail pedigree aside, however, the collection of unique brands would be enough to make The Conservatory on Two a must-visit. More than 40 collections are new and exclusive in the Dallas area, including modernist mens brand Salle Privee, Maison d’Etto’s artisanal fragrances, Saved Cashmere’s sustainable (and affordable) goods, Another Tomorrow’s consciously-made clothing, Eva Fehren’s minimalist jewelry, and luxe, London-based Asprey. Displayed items for all categories (men’s, women’s, wellness, jewelry, and items for the home) will rotate regularly.
The Conservatory on Two is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10am to 6pm at 100 Highland Park Village, suite 205, accessible via the elevator located between Chanel and Starbucks. This is the third location of The Conservatory — a fourth is scheduled to open in Napa Valley sometime in June.