Fashion / Shopping

After Surviving a Pandemic and Winter Storm Uri, Tootsies is Back in Dallas — And Better Than Ever

The Texas Fashion House Returns to Serve Its Loyal Clientele and Welcome New Neighbors

BY // 12.10.21
photography Tamytha Cameron

For most, opening the doors to your store in a post-Covid world would be a nerve-racking experience. Will people come? Will they even like it? In the case of Tootsies, however, there’s little doubt. “They’ve been banging down the doors,” shares sales manager Dustin Holcomb. “A woman popped in just last week and said, ‘Thank God. Dallas wasn’t the same without you here.’”

Of course, Tootsies never truly went away. When the pandemic arrived in Texas, the Dallas institution, which has resided in a former Neiman Marcus store in Plaza at Preston Center for nearly 30 years, closed momentarily like all retailers. And when Winter Storm Uri filled the two-story luxury fashion house with 400,000 gallons of water, the store moved into a small, temporary space along Preston Road.

The reopening isn’t just a welcome return to the Houston-based company’s decades-long Dallas home, but a new vision for Tootsies. A to-the-studs renovation reunited the store with architect David Droese, who had a hand in the original 1990s design and led a Droese Raney team for a fresh look. Droese also teamed up with Tootsies visual director Matthew Gilley for “Mickey’s Bar,” a tribute to the store’s late founder, Mickey Rosmarin, using salvaged materials from the beloved Houstonian’s personal collection. Armed with complimentary seasonal cocktails for shoppers, the lacquered black bar suits the new space, a monochrome nod to Rosmarin’s favorite color combination — with dashes of gold and lush emerald.

1Tootsies.21
“Mickey’s Bar,” an ode to Tootsies’ late founder, Mickey Rosmarin. (Photo by Tamytha Cameron)

Another notable change: a 12-foot-wide runway spanning the entire length of the store. It’s visually striking, but the layout serves an equally functional purpose.

“We really wanted to focus on shoppability,” store director Nerissa von Helpenstill explains. “A lot of our clients enjoyed how the much smaller temporary space was laid out because they could see everything. We took that feedback and focused on streamlining.”

Even as Tootsies looks to the future, the storied Texas shopping center, known for its highly personalized approach (a major boon in today’s retail world), remains firmly in touch with its history. While stopping in for the latest from Oscar De La Renta, Chloé, and Zimmermann, keep an eye out for hidden gems, like the original Neiman Marcus elevator doors adorned with Southwestern-style engravings from the 1950s. The Terrazzo floors gleam like new, but an illustrious past is very much present.

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