In the heart of south Mumbai, amidst the bustling business district around Fort, not too many passersby take note of the art deco architecture or appreciate the historic significance of the city’s erstwhile administrative centre. So when Hermès, the leading French luxury brand, opened its doors there last week, it took a moment for the store’s location to sink in—it’s adjacent to the Asiatic Society Library.
(Below: The Hermès store and view of the library from the first floor).
Even before you enter the two-storey Hermès store, you know you’re stepping into luxury. From the unique choice of location to the artistic window displays, the brand’s third store in India is symbolic of what Hermès stands for and what it brings to the city of Mumbai.
The right way to pronounce Hermès is air-mez, not her-mez or her-meez or hair-mez or hair-maze.
Being the largest store in the country at 280-odd square metres, my visit to the Hermès store was unlike any other shopping trip… it was an experience. The store’s elegant interiors are charming but not overwhelming, and at par with their international stores (I visited an Hermès store in Barcelona recently). The Hermès team has made special efforts to create a warm ambience that’s not intimidating to first-time visitors or window shoppers.
The first thing you notice when you enter are their gorgeous scarves (nay, works of art) that Hermès is known for. I couldn’t help but gape at the prints—the colours, the designs, the texture… you have to wrap one around your neck to feel the luxurious silk pamper you. The store assistant showed me how to make the most of a scarf, as a top, dress, and even a bag (picture below)!
On the ground level there were also accessories like cuffs and bangles, watches, belts, and of course, bags! Psst.. there’s a long waitlist for the famous Birkin! I fell for one of the cuffs BTW, and I may soon start saving up for it.
Another section on the same floor housed clothes for men and women, with Jean-Paul Gaultier’s last collection for Hermès. Just for fun, I tried on a leather corset. It made me feel sexy and bold and didn’t constrict my breathing unlike corsets of yore. 😉 I also reckon that the sheers of the collection will become all-time classics.
On the upper level, the homeware section has an exquisite collection of crockery and glassware to make your dinner table prettier than your pink dress. Of course, I wouldn’t want to spoil an Hermès dinner plate with something as banal as food.
For those wanting to chill, there’s a small art gallery with photographs of royal palaces in India and France. And you can sit down at their little tables for a steaming cuppa joe. It’s quiet, peaceful and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a special store in Paris or Milan. Ahh, the life of luxury!
Below: Window displays of the Hermès store
Prices are the last thing on the mind of an Hermès shopper, and there’s some unwritten law that demands we write “prices on request” for luxury brands. But we’ve got some prices down anyways:
Scarves: Rs 25,000 approx for 100% silk scarves
Cuffs/ bangles: Rs 25,000 approx for a thin bangle, Rs 45,000 for a cuff.
Bags: The Lindy was around Rs 3,39,000.
Needless to say, most of us would need a pretty good wealth advisor to help us buy this. But till we win the lottery, enjoy the beauty of Hermès!
Hermès, 15 A Horniman Circle, Fort, Mumbai (Near Asiatic Society Library).