On Thursday, September 29, Hermès finally opened the doors of its new Flagship boutique at 709 Madison Avenue, halfway down the block from the former location at 691. With it came much fanfare, drama, joy – and, as the dust just begins to settle from the whirlwind surrounding the opening – perhaps a sense of the future of Hermès as the company continues its expansion and depth during its 187th year.
This was no usual store opening; indeed, while the Flagship has now been consolidated back to one boutique (after the prior move from 57th Street in 2000, the Men’s boutique was located across the street from the main store), the expansion, which now encompasses 20,250 feet of retail space in addition to several floors for offices, craftspeople, and storage (for a total of approximately 40,000 feet), was welcomed with an exceptional array of fanfare and a spectacular celebration attended by numerous celebrities and VIPs, including Martha Stewart, Grace Coddington, EJ Johnson, and Nicky Hilton, all to an estimated expense of several million dollars just for opening night.
Guests were invited to enter at various times from 7:00pm onwards. They were greeted with beverages and a store-roving Broadway-style musical titled “Love Around the Block,” which was, in fact, a complete theatrical production with a meta-plot involving the “perfect” store opening. The performers were engaging, wonderfully entertaining and, indeed, perfect in such an intimate and unusual setting. Wine and cocktails were offered at every turn.
As the show moved throughout the new boutique, guests were invited to follow along through the performance until all were (quite cleverly) brought outside to the closed-block party on the street, featuring covered seating and an array of beloved NYC food trucks, including Katz’ Deli, Junior’s Cheesecake, Hot Dogs, Tacos, Pies, and much more, and a spectacular finale on a stage set up on 62nd and Madison by the now-former Men’s boutique.
This was followed by the wonderful Hungry March Band leading the guests to 691, which had been completely gutted and turned into a one-night-only disco, with several bars on various floors and a DJ booth on the bottom level where the VIP room had previously been. Even when leaving the event, one couldn’t help but notice the adorable video, reminiscent of the party, playing on nearby digital screens.
The following two days were consumed with VIP store appointments, which gave the usual clients a one-hour timeslot to take a peek at the new floors, try a few things on, and perhaps be offered a bag or two. Leather offerings had been allocated beforehand, and while many were able to bring home a special treat, just as many were left waiting while production is still ramping up; bags are expected to be delivered regularly so that the new boutique can meet the incredibly high sales targets projected for the remainder of the year.
While there was a bit of line-waiting on Friday the 30th, by Saturday, the appointments ran much more smoothly, if still a bit over time, as Sales Associates began to get the hang of the new boutique. Despite any wait – which was, to me, quite welcome as a time to sit back and take the entire experience in – everyone was in very high spirits, buffeted along just by the mere pleasure of being there and seeing the sheer aesthetic beauty of the new location and all the new surprises that it entailed.
The store opened to the public on October 3, but it is highly recommended that you try to get an appointment so that you don’t have to wait in what will undoubtedly be a long line.
Address: 706 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10065
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm, Sunday Closed
featured image via Alyssa Lester for PurseBlog