Fashion / Shopping

Texas Retail Visionary Brian Bolke is Now Working His Magic in Houston’s River Oaks District

This Just In — The Conservatory Debuts With Exclusive, Need-to-Know Brands

BY // 09.23.22
photography Caroline Fontenot

When it comes to The Conservatory, Brian Bolke moves thoughtfully—and quietly. At least that’s been the case in his hometown of Dallas, where the retail veteran behind Forty Five Ten (he left the luxury company in 2017 after an acquisition by Headington Companies) returned from the splashy New York debut of his forward-thinking retail concept to discreetly open a 400-square-foot little sister store in Highland Park Village. His measured approach to reentering the market led to a third, 3,850-square-foot Highland Park outpost, The Conservatory on Two, which expanded to 9,000 square feet (including the addition of The Teak Tearoom) at the start of 2022.

There’s always plenty of buzz about anything Bolke touches. After all, under Bolke’s guidance (and late partner Shelly Musselman’s), Forty Five Ten became, arguably, Dallas’ preeminent luxury shopping destination (and absolutely its edgiest). The Conservatory maintains that mystique, stocking the shelves with emerging and hard-to-find clothing and lifestyle brands like Jonathan Cohen, Lapointe, Eva Fehren, and Rosetta Getty.

Which is why yesterday’s announcement that Bolke would debut a fourth installment of The Conservatory in Houston coinciding with the official opening of the airy River Oaks Store feels perfectly on brand. The sun-soaked, gallery-like space at 4444 Westheimer Road, F 100 (the former Houston home of Forty Five Ten) continues the tradition of curating thoughtful luxury names.

Crop_Portrait-BW-full (Photo by Rebecca Patton for Beckley)
Brian Bolke (Photo by Rebecca Patton for Beckley)

You’ll find women’s apparel by Gabriela Hearst, Maison Margiela, and Courréges (all exclusive to Houston), along with jewelry and accessories from Metier, Paul Andrew, Neous, Sidney Garber, Mallary Marks, Tabayer, Shihara, and Lisa Eisner (once again, all Houston exclusives).

“We are bringing new brands, many with a focus on sustainability, and unexpected edits to Houston — a discerning city where we’re looking forward to becoming a part of the community,” Bolke shared

The Conservatory Houston
A lineup of Nomad Noé candles and works by William Atkinson in The Conservatory in Houston. (photo by Caroline Fontenot)

In addition to men’s and women’s apparel, home décor, jewelry, and accessories, The Conservatory has always prioritized “wellbeing,” a blend of beauty and wellness that’s also the retailer’s fastest growing category. The serum Vintner’s Daughter and genderless fragrance brands like Maison d’Etto and D.S. and Durga are among the bestsellers.

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“For us, it’s not about selling stuff. Because for that, you should just buy it on Amazon,” Bolke told PaperCity earlier this year. “We’re selling discovery through curation, storytelling, and service.”

The Conservatory in Houston is now open Mondays through Saturdays (10 am to 7 pm) and Sundays (noon to 5 pm).

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