MIAMI — In a city known for epic partying, residents are pretty spoiled with soirees. But Hermès threw them for a loop last Thursday with its Flamingo Party, which was held at a warehouse event space in Wynwood to mark the opening in the Miami Design District of the company’s third U.S. flagship.
Chief executive officer Axel Dumas, and Robert Chavez, president and ceo of Hermès USA, hosted giddy guests who couldn’t believe their luck, along with a gaggle of company executives and designers like Véronique Nichanian, Pierre Hardy, Henri-Louis Bauer, Florian Craen, Charlotte David, Olivier Fournier and Wilfried Guerrand. The occasion also drew about 35 members of the extended Dumas clan, many of whom visited Miami for the first time because they were curious about the new retail and cultural frontier.
“It’s our biggest store opening and event for the year in the U.S.,” said Chavez, as he expected more than a thousand revelers for the neon-drenched, Havana-inspired spectacle, which was replete with feathered showgirls and a vintage Ford Thunderbird convertible, one of many vignettes to promote rampant selfies. “The build-out took longer than usual, about two years, since it was from the ground up. I think our clients will see it was worth the wait.”
After shuttering its longtime Bal Harbour, Fla., store, the brand had operated in a temporary space around the corner in the Miami Design District since 2013. Denis Montel, artistic director for the RDAI architecture firm in Paris, designed the permanent, multilevel location with a rooftop garden at 163 NE 39th Street. His concept borrows from the city’s wealth of white minimalism, including a streamlined, sculptural staircase, but considers its wild nature and copious natural light. The glass facade’s grid of white-coated, vertical steel tubes implies a thick forest, while a real Guiana chestnut tree in a courtyard offers a zen moment. At 13,000 square feet, the size of the store is on par with the brand’s Beverly Hills unit; only the New York flagship on Madison Avenue is larger in the U.S.
“With more space, we’re able to expand the breadth and width of our assortment. We expanded women’s shoes and the watch and fine jewelry salon,” said Chavez, who also bulked up the home section with furniture, textiles and wallpapers, and launched the first shop in shop in the U.S. for Saint-Louis crystal. “Our previous store did a good business with Saint-Louis, so we felt our clients would react well if we gave it a more significant presentation.”
Rather than take the traditional route of merchandising the ground floor with accessories, the company displays its Men’s Universe and La Maison. The latter category, which occupies 1,000 square feet, links to the neighborhood’s home and design heritage. Saint-Louis’ adjacent shop-in-shop, whose additional 646 square feet can be accessed by a separate entrance, displays limited-edition pieces like Opercule boxes with colorful lids through a collaboration with Adrien Rovero.
Scarves, jewelry and watches are on the second floor, and women’s wear, handbags and the equestrian collection on the third.
Feting its tropical locale, the house issued accessories such as the Oran sandal and Pliplat handbag in exclusive colors like rosy salmon, yellow and blue. Other exclusive items are a turquoise silk Lourde tie and a matching swim top and bottom in Mykonos blue jersey. The commemorative Flamingo Party silk scarf and its beach tunic-sized version should make good Art Basel souvenirs. By then, Miami will be well-rested for the next party.