On May 25th, the new Hermès finally arrives, equestrian goods and Kelly bags in tow, in a 6,000-square-foot retail space with a dazzling modern spiral staircase winding up its heart. You won’t find the staircase in the flagship location at 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, but other details channel the French landmark’s spirit—particularly the gray mosaic stone floors, Greque glass light fixtures, and glass panel walls, all sourced from Europe.
Where the former Hermès housed a limited selection of collectible scarves, the expanded shop features not only the classic 90-centimeter carré but vintage silk, dipdye, and pleated scarves. “I don’t think people will believe the scarf area when they see it,” says Robert Chavez, the president and CEO of Hermès USA. Shoe aficionados will be pleased to discover, at the top of the spiral staircase, an expanded women’s salon; the extra square footage also allows for more men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, additional handbags and watches, and an equestrian section. “There will be an entire area devoted to equestrian—from riding pants to polos,” Chavez says. Coming in fall 2010: made-to-measure men’s suits (from $4,300).
Because of the new location, the Chicago store has landed a spot up high in the brand’s delivery ranking, and that means locals will be among the first to get their hands on the new fall handbag line, So Black (from $5,300), which is remarkable for its glossy, blacked-out hardware. “Chicago is such an important market—we want to make this new location a Midwest flagship,” says Chavez, who adds that Chicagoans are particularly keen on the brand’s leather goods and scarves. Indeed, Hermès will celebrate the opening of its new store with the exclusive Paddock scarf ($375). The limited edition silk-twill number comes in four color combinations and reads “2010 Hermès à Chicago.”
GO: WHERE 25 E. Oak St. HOURS Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PARKING The best bet is in the Bloomingdale’s garage (900 N. Michigan Ave.): Make a purchase of $10 or more for parking validation, and the rate is $12 for up to three hours.
Photograph: Anna Knott