More than two years after it was announced, Forty Five Ten on Main has opened to the public. But this doesn’t just mark the evolution of the luxury emporium founded by Dallas fashion trendsetter Brian Bolke. It’s an integral part of downtown’s renaissance.
At a preview, Bolke beamed like a proud papa — not only for the store’s magnificence, but also for its significance in creating a fashion- and design-forward destination in downtown Dallas. Now within a few feet of each other are Forty Five Ten; the original Neiman Marcus; and The Joule hotel and its collection of retailers, including Traffic Los Angeles, TenOverSix, and Le Labo.
“We’re going to have so many new people because of The Joule and Neiman Marcus,” Bolke says during a tour of the store. “Now there will be organic traffic, which is something Forty Five Ten is not used to. It’s probably the biggest change, appealing to a broader client.
“We want this to be a place that when people come to Dallas, they want to see it. We have to be part of making this district a draw. It’s what’s going to really change the city.”
If the goal was to put Forty Five Ten at the top of the list of must-see Dallas destinations, then Bolke and owner Headington Companies, which also owns The Joule, achieved it.
Its four levels house the world’s best brands in fashion, accessories, home, beauty, and fragrance — many of which are exclusive to Forty Five Ten. There are several new lines in the assortment now that there is a bigger store in which to sell them. Main Street is more than four times the size of the original on McKinney Avenue, clocking in at 37,000 square feet.
Among the new additions are tabletop from Hermes, Baccarat, and Christofle, found on the third floor, which is devoted to all things men and home.
“Of all the floors in the store, this is the one that excites me the most, because they are two areas we did not get to explore fully on McKinney Avenue,” Bolke says. “We’ve always been strong in home fragrance and home decorative, but china, crystal, silver, and bridal registry are new for us.”
Bolke says even though Hermès, Baccarat, and Christofle are largely considered traditional vendors, at Forty Five Ten, “they don’t feel that way at all. This is how I hope people live today.”
As the third floor transitions from home to men’s gifts, Bolke points out Smythson leather goods and “rock and roll” trunks from Pinel & Pinel, but it’s the Berluti men’s shop-in-shop that seems to excite him the most.
“It has never been in Dallas before. If you’ve seen it at Bergdorf, it’s all very manly and stuffy. This is the first time they’ve ever done this particular look,” he says, pointing out the Forty Five Ten presentation, with vintage French furniture. “Really it’s some of the most beautiful clothes in the world.”
Those who are more turned on by design than fashion surely will notice the Knoll furniture, including designs by Eero Saarinen, David Adjaye, Rem Koolhaas, Charles Pollock, Florence Knoll, and Frank Gehry.
“Every piece of furniture is from Knoll,” Bolke says. Older styles were redone in finishes Knoll has never done before, such as rose gold (look for the Warren Platner 1966 collection on women’s level two) and burnished black, and there are many pieces from the “future of Knoll.”
“From a design standpoint, it’s really exciting,” Bolke says.
Other special details include balcony railings custom designed by Dallas metal artisan Larry Whitely, the European-paver motor court at the Elm Street entrance, and custom Knoll upholstery and wall coverings. Take note of the fringed fabric display in the shoe salon, hung vertically, and the “trees,” planted in the faux courtyard at the base of the stairwell, made using fabric remnants.
In keeping with the store-as-destination theme, the art programming was carefully considered, from the 25-foot-tall stainless steel kinetic sculpture Lucea by American artist Anthony Howe in the motor court to the 50 still-life images of Elizabeth Taylor’s home captured by photographer Catherine Opie. Other artists represented in the store are Tracey Emin, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber.
Also noteworthy: Fitting rooms boast cowhide rugs, controlled lighting system, and Houdini glass, and there are a total of 10 bathrooms. No one was sorry to leave behind those old fitting rooms and bathrooms at McKinney Avenue, Bolke jokes.
As hospitality has always been part of Forty Five Ten’s DNA — for those who are curious, T Room is still open on McKinney Avenue — the Main Street flagship will have a restaurant on the fourth floor, which has yet to be announced; right now that space is hosting a pop-up shop featuring Donna Karan’s Urban Zen.
Until the fourth-floor restaurant opens, there is the Copper Bar on level one, managed by the culinary team at The Joule. It’s a pretty spot to sip a glass of Moet, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, or Dom Perignon, whether seated inside or out. Also available are wines by the glass, espresso drinks, pastries, and chocolate.
So, darling, even if you cannot afford to buy a single thing, you can have a glass of champagne and take it all in. Because it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen in Dallas.