Hermès Opens in Horniman Circle

July 19, 2011 1:06 pm by
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The Mumbai outpost of Hermès opened today at 15A Horniman Circle in a 150-year-old building that overlooks the Asiatic Society Library to one side and the Horniman Circle gardens just ahead on the other. The store, the first stand-alone luxury brand boutique outside of a mall or five-star hotel in India, marks a departure for Hermès’s strategy in the country, where it already has two branches in Delhi and Pune, both in hotels. “I think India deserves a store as we have in London, Paris [and] Milan,” says Bertrand Michaud, the regional managing director of Hermès for India, the Middle East and South East Asia.

Michaud and his team had been on a hunt for an appropriate location in Mumbai ever since they opened in Delhi three years ago. They finally stumbled upon 15A Horniman Circle, the building which happens to be located at “point zero”, from where all distances in the city are measured. Architectural firm RDAI, which has also done up Hermès stores around the world, meticulously restored the facade and 3,500 square feet of interior space, incorporating the signature mosaic floors, wood and leather that are common across many of the brand’s outlets. The process has taken them 18 months and it is hoped that the store will inspire other businesses to help revive and restore the area.

In fact, Hermès, which runs a philanthropic arm called the Hermès Foundation, has already donated money for the upkeep of the Horniman Circle gardens and will support the renovation of the Asiatic Society Library by donating proceeds from the sales of its special edition “La Danse du Cheval Marwari” silk scarf. “Step by step,” says Michaud, “the world can change by beauty.”

In another departure for its stores in India, the second floor has been converted into a gallery space, which is currently showing an exhibition by German photographer Karen Knorr. Michaud says they will use it to host a mix of Indian and French artists, as a way to promote a “Paris meets Bombay” exchange of ideas. The two-floor store has all Hermès product lines—silk scarves, perfumes, jewellery, watches, leather goods, crockery, furniture, equestrian equipment and clothes, and of course, Birkin and Kelly bags galore. The Mumbai boutique will also sell limited edition saris starting in October, a line they initially launched to celebrate Diwali at their London flagship in 2000. Prices start at Rs10,000 for ties.

To see images of the store, view the slideshow, above.