High luxury has a palatial new home.
Hermès has unveiled one of its largest flagships in the world at 706 Madison Ave., in New York’s tony shopping corridor. The magnificent garden-topped store occupies three buildings — two townhouses and a historic Bank of New York outpost, built in the federalist style — and offers unprecedented customer service, an array of handcrafted products, from an NYC-themed Kelly Mini bag to made-to-measure menswear, and plenty of Parisian savoir faire.
To celebrate the opening, the French brand took over three city blocks and threw a rollicking multimillion-dollar, Champagne and caviar fueled reception meets eclectic street festival. More than 1,000 guests, including Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Martha Stewart, Tory Burch and “Saturday Night Live” star Chloe Fineman, enjoyed an original musical named “Love Around the Block,” commissioned by the company and performed by Broadway stars and a brass band. The fashionable crowd dined outdoors at Hermès-wrapped food trucks serving iconic New York dishes, then boogied into the early hours at an underground nightclub in a former Hermès boutique.
Eight years in the making, the colorful new store is as glamorous and imaginative as the party. All 16 of the company’s métiers — including leather goods, women’s ready-to-wear by artistic director Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski, shoes and jewelry by Pierre Hardy, the silk universe, men’s clothing, watches, beauty, perfumes, tableware and furniture — are sold in sumptuous salons across four floors. A majestic Portuguese limestone staircase stretches from the ground floor to the fourth, where a dramatic curved-glass cupola floods the space with natural light.
Creative touches include a tile floor in Hermès signature mosaic, an 1830s hansom cab borrowed from the Émile Hermès collection, and dozens of paintings, photographs and etchings dating back to the 19th century. Several drawings by French artist Rosa Bonheur — the subject of a retrospective at Paris’ Musée d’Orsay — are on display. Reproductions of iconic silk scarves also grace the space, including “American Quilts” by Aline Honoré.
A special version of that scarf has been designed exclusively for the new address, along with several Kelly bags, a Bolide bag, two watches, a jukebox and a bicycle. Meanwhile, five artisans from different métiers will share a fifth-floor atelier for alterations and repairs.
As for service, it’s more like a five-star hotel than a store, with a concierge desk at the entrance. Each floor has butler service, and there are seating arrangements and refreshment options throughout: a ground-floor coffee bar, a Champagne bar on the third floor and a cocktail bar on four. Clients can take in the view from the magnificent.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.