Henri Bendel: Behind the Stripes
It all started with a hat maker from Louisiana.
But not many people know the story behind the brown and white striped brand that we know as Henri Bendel. Let’s start from the beginning. Once upon a time, in 1868…
The Background on Mr. Bendel
Born in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1868, Henri Willis Bendel was always interested in what was “The New & The Next” in life, particularly in women’s fashion.
Fast forward to 1895, when Bendel registered his own trademark and moved to New York. He opened his own hat shop and became the first retailer to brand himself. Bendel’s brand quickly became one related to NYC’s elite. In 1907, he created the original brown and white striped hatbox and shopping bag – the stripes that separated his brand from the rest.
Bendel expanded his shop around 1913 and began selling Paris Couture, as well as his own original apparel designs, fragrances, custom furs, hats, bridal, cosmetics, skincare, lingerie, and – of course – handbags.
Bendel continued growing his company until 1936, when he passed away.
Did you know? Henri Bendel was a man of “firsts”. He was the first to hold a semi-annual sale, offer in-store makeovers, stage a fashion show, and luxury retailer with an upper Fifth Avenue address.
Geraldine Stutz, a former fashion magazine editor, became president of Henri Bendel in the 1960’s, the same decade the Bendel brand discovered Andy Warhol and hired him as an illustrator.
In 1985, Columbus’ own Les Wexner acquired Henri Bendel and opened a flagship store in NYC in 1991. Due to its one-of-a-kind lalique windows, the store received landmark status from the Landmark Preservation Commission.
In 1994, Izak Zenou began partnering with Henri Bendel, carrying on Andy Warhol’s tradition of creating iconic fashion illustrations for the brand. Nowadays, these illustrations are almost as recognizable as Bendel’s brown and white stripes.
Did you know? The Henri Bendel brand was the first to discover Andy Warhol. Talk about The New & The Next!
A Girl’s Playground
Henri Bendel celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the brown and white stripe in 2007, coinciding with the launch of the brand’s accessory collection.
In 2008, the company began expanding outside of New York.
Today, Henri Bendel has 29 stores across the country, including its four-story flagship store in New York City. With its accessories, jewelry, and handbags, Bendel is a place for women to shop in a boutique-like store, with options galore. Whether you’re a glamorous, sporty, or quirky gal, Henri Bendel has something for the fashionista in us all.
Did you know? Henri Bendel was responsible for bringing Coco Chanel to the United States.
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