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Henri Bendel, established in 1895, is an American upscale women's specialty store based in New York City that sells the Henri Bendel brand of handbags, jewelry, luxury fashion accessories, home fragrances and gifts. Its flagship New York store is located at 712 Fifth Avenue.
Henri Bendel was the first retailer to have its own fragrance, to offer in-store makeovers, and to stage its own fashion show. The retailer is credited with developing the shop-within-a-shop merchandising concept that’s in use in some department stores today.Contents
Henri Willis Bendel was born in Louisiana in 1868 and moved to New York to work as a milliner. He opened his first shop, in Greenwich Village, in 1895. In 1907, he began branding the brown-and-white striped boxes that are still identified with the company. In 1913, Henri Bendel was the first retailer to sell Coco Chanel designs in the U.S.
After Bendel’s death in 1936, his nephew became the store’s president and served until his retirement in 1954. Bendel's nephew, who later founded Belgian Shoes, died in 1997.
Geraldine Stutz was president of Henri Bendel from 1957 to 1986. Stutz had “a legendary eye for discovering the newest designers and using them first,” including Perry Ellis, Jean Muir, Sonia Rykiel, Carlos Falchi, Mary McFadden, and Ralph Lauren. In 1958, Stutz turned the store’s main sales floor into a “U-shaped ‘Street of Shops,’" which some consider the forerunner of today’s shop-within-a-shop merchandising displays.
During the 1960s, Andy Warhol was an in-house illustrator. Beginning in 1994, Izak Zenou’s illustrations have appeared on Henri Bendel ads and promotional materials.
In recent years, the retailer has aimed to grow from an “iconic New York brand” into “a nationally recognized accessories company.” Beginning in 2008, the brand expanded beyond the New York store to become a national chain with 28 stores (in addition to the NYC flagship) across the U.S. In 2009, Henri Bendel stopped selling apparel. In 2014, the New York flagship store and website began selling only Henri Bendel-branded handbags, jewelry, fashion accessories and home fragrances, following the model set at its other stores.
Paul Blum was named Chief Executive Officer of Henri Bendel in 2016. Paul joined Henri Bendel from Fred Segal, where, as the chief executive officer his charge was to revitalize and expand the brand, reinventing the store environment and customer experience. Creative Director Pina Ferlisi joined the company in July 2012. Ferlisi had launched the Marc by Marc Jacobs line, became the head of design at Gap, served as the creative director for McQ in London and was executive vice president of design for Coach.
Henri Bendel was named Retailer of the Year in 2010 by The Accessories Council.
Wall Street Journal reported that Henri Bendel announced Closing of the brand after 123 Years in September 2018. Owner L Brands said the move was part of efforts to improve profitability and focus on brands like Victoria’s Secret.Flagship store landmark status Henri Bendel On Fifth Avenue
The current Fifth Avenue flagship is located in two landmark buildings, the Rizzoli building and Coty building, as well as a new five-story building. During renovation of the Coty building, 276 “masterwork” panes of glass commissioned from Rene Lalique in 1912 were restored. The glass fills three large windows that comprise the front of the second, third and fourth floors of the Henri Bendel flagship. Upon the store’s opening in 1991, it received landmark status from the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission.
Of the renovated Bendel flagship, The New York Times’ architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote:
For this mix of new architecture and old, skillfully integrated, holds more promise for the revival of Fifth Avenue than anything that has happened to that troubled boulevard in the last decade.Ownership
After Bendel’s nephew, also named Henri Bendel, retired from the company in 1954, the Bendel family sold the store to a group of investors. In 1980, Henri Bendel president Geraldine Stutz purchased the store with a group of investors from Genesco Inc., a retailing/apparel company that had owned Bonwit Teller and other stores.
In 1985, L Brands acquired the Henri Bendel brand. Formerly Limited Brands, the Columbus, Ohio-based company is also the parent of Victoria's Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, and La Senza and operates 2,917 company-owned specialty stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.References