Today, Manhattan’s mega luxury mall, Hudson Yards, opens its doors, and within its shimmering marble floored hallways (watch out, rubber soled-shoes encouraged) is a new shopping concept from a retail veteran that I had the chance to preview earlier this week.
Brian Bolke, one of the co-founders of Dallas’s pre-eminent luxury boutique Forty Five Ten (which is also opening a store at Hudson), has opened The Conservatory, one of the most precisely, and beautifully, edited lifestyle boutiques I’ve encountered. I would love to get one of their Rimowa suitcases and have the Gallery Director Dimitri (no traditional titles here) fill it with a little bit of everything so I could start my wardrobe from scratch.
As much as Hudson is a glittering mecca to traditional retail, The Conservatory is looking to upend the typical experience. Brian choose the name for its triple entendre–it’s a place of discovery, a place that brings nature indoors, and a place that suggests the idea of conservation. First off, you can’t walk out with a shopping bag (except for a Lewis Miller bouquet or plant from his latest venture, Urban Stems). Everything is ordered online, though you must first come to the boutique to sign up (trust me, #worthit). The idea is that you work with a sales person, who learns your sizing, your preferences etc, plus you come to see, feel and smell, which both will ultimately eliminate the wasteful process of online returns (carbon emissions) and the idea that stores have to sit on lots merchandise.
The store is also tightly edited; Brian has asked input from industry insiders and editors to further curate the store, from Cindy Weber Cleary (whom I’ve profiled before) for wardrobe editing, to the beauty brand guru David Pirrotta who has culled a unique group of beauty and wellness products, to Justin von der Fehr who chose home accessories. The mix of everything is excellent and unusual and there things even I had never seen before (Metier handbags, The Great Eros lingerie), plus other names I love like Wone workout wear and Dezso by Sara Beltran jewelry.
There are also beyond-shopping experiences: An escape room (not that kind) from Bastide where you can take a ten-minute shopping breather and pretend you’re in Provence, and the Teak Room, which features nibbles all day, plus afternoon tea and later tequila tastings (count me in for both).
Plus you can buy EVERYTHING–the amazing vintage photos lining the walls from the Staley Wise Gallery, the Eames classic furniture, even the Georg Jensen silverware in the Teak Room. At the center of the store is The Curriculum, where the concept will update every few months; this time it is OURS, the idea of couples, his/hers, fluidity, etc, with matching mens/womens Jil Sander white shirts (a style for each day of the week), Birkenstock clogs (if only I gardened) and customizable watches from Baume (Baume & Mercier’s new super cool, vegan line.) Wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t leave without registering and putting a vegan-leather Stella McCartney moto jacket and the new Francisco Costa’s Costa Brazil body oil into my shopping cart.
Bastide + Teak Room photos, courtesy The Conservatory, all others, The Flair Index