Photos by Wini Lao
It was only a month ago that the shops of 5th Avenue began to mourn the beginning of the end for one of their very own. Henri Bendel, a household New York name since 1895– was to be no more. Its parent company L Brands, whose other ventures include Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, announced it would be ceasing all operations of Henri Bendel in its online and in-store forms by January 2019, in order to focus on the success of their other brands. To see a presence such as Bendel’s come to a much unexpected halt, in the most abrupt use of words, hurts.
The brown and white striping of their boxes and handbags gave a sense of frivolity that felt subtle; a muted elegance that let any one woman exude a playful yet posh radiance wherever she went. The charm in dressing ones’ self in the treasures of Bendel’s was that you could be anywhere in the world and still feel like it was the streets of Manhattan beneath your feet. No other American brand could accomplish the unique blend of taste and innovation that they did, making their mark in the States with Henri’s own introduction of Chanel’s designs into his store. The rest is history– albeit now, on a bittersweet note.
So here’s to the glorious days of Bendel, as we look one last time through the windows of its magnificent cornerstone that will only be a memory, and a beautiful one at that.