Located in the Stanford Shopping Center, the venerable French luxury brand’s Palo Alto boutique is the first new U.S. location in seven years. Hermès CEO Axel Dumas was in attendance with an envoy of guests from France to celebrate. “Palo Alto’s unique character,” he says, “can be defined by an exciting mix of tradition and innovation, expressed by its status as the world leader in cutting-edge technology development.”
With over 4,000 square-feet, the single-story boutique is filled with natural light from floor-to-ceiling front and rear windows, and a dramatic central skylight. Designed by Parisian architecture agency RDAI, the feel is a departure for the luxury house, though the mid-century ethos fits in with the California landscape perfectly. “Every Hermès store is different,” says the agency’s artistic director, Denis Montel. “And I must admit, this design is very different from anything we’ve done before.”
The space includes a digital piece of artwork, Handmade, by Eric Vernhes, while the window displays – cardboard landscapes – were designed by contemporary artist Eva Jospin.
The opening party moved from the boutique to a tented labyrinth atop one of the shopping center’s open-air parking structures, continuing in the theme of Jospin’s imagined-landscape – made entirely out of cardboard. Hermès definitely didn’t disappoint in the entertainment department – with a French flair for the absurd and unexpected, as special performances choreographed by I Could Never Be a Dancer, the Paris-based artist duo Carine Charaire and Olivier Casamayou entranced the crowd, Zrich-based artist Tobias Gutmann entertained revelers by painting abstract portraits at his infamous pop-up Face-o-mat. All things considered, a très chic evening.