Hermès US CEO Robert Chavez
Hermès US CEO Robert Chavez and PaperCity editor in chief Holly Moore
The ribbon fell, and a mad dash ensued. Houston’s elite politely but exuberantly filed into one of the most anticipated events of the season. No, it wasn’t a charity function or grand ball. It was the opening of the Hermès boutique in River Oaks District.
At precisely 10 am, a doctor in scrubs who had been waiting outside for some time purchased a limited-edition Kermit Oliver-designed scarf that was specially reissued for the Houston store opening. His patients would have to wait. Another well-heeled woman in black, Birkin in tow (not unlike the rest of the patrons this morning), bought a kelly-green Kelly. And, of course, the coveted diamond-encrusted Birkin was up for grabs — Hermès customarily reserves one for every store opening.
There were unique finds at every turn, as well as many product categories never represented in Houston before: furniture and lighting, fine jewelry and an expanded equestrian stable, as well as the house staples — men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, handbags, scarves, watches, belts, gloves, shoes, hats, perfume (an entire bar now devoted to Reveries), leather goods and accessories, baby goods and even luggage.
Incredibly, however, the merchandise was second to a magnificent new space that rivals its counterparts worldwide. Taking a cue from the Hermès landmark flagship at 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, the Houston store references historic design elements in fine stone and rich woods, as well as sleek modern updates in steel and glass, with an immense continental oak staircase as its focal point. The stairs ascend to the second floor, where countless new offerings reside, including selections from the equestrian, tableware, lighting and furniture collections.
Hermès U.S. CEO Robert Chavez and store director Jeremy Garcia ushered in the crowd with warm handshakes and big smiles. And why not? Hermès finally has the home it deserves in Houston.