In a city obsessed with luxury labels, Singapore has always had a soft spot for Hermès. Since the early 1970s, its corps of tai-tais have tirelessly worked their Kellys from one social event to the next like a badge of honour, their Soie Belle scarves a colourful semaphore of an expensive, but quietly tasteful, joie de vivre.
All of which explains the frisson that has greeted the unveiling of the newly refurbished flagship boutique on Singapore’s fabled retail stretch, Orchard Road.
Under the artistic direction of Denis Montel, the Paris-based architects RDAI replaced the former striated facade with a porous shell clad in white Alucobond and glass that is cut through with geometric rows of sharply angled embrasures – the arresting pattern provides interior shade while creating interesting shadows during the course of the day.
A new entrance on Angullia Park opens into a generously proportioned space that has soothing echoes of the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré store in Paris – a beautifully textured floor of trani biancone stone and mosaic framing cedar window shutters, European cherry vitrines, an under-used stainless steel and glass lift and, for those more leisurely retail flâneurs, a staircase of warm African teak.
The entire Hermès universe – as the marque prefers to call its merchandise – is on offer, from ties and scarves to stationery and perfumes. A new third floor now houses the furniture collection and home accessories alongside the equestrian collection and a VIP suite swathed in ecru velvet and silk.
An unexpected pleasure is the fourth floor Aloft at Hermès, a cosy 111 sq m art space that is one of just five in the world run by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. The inaugural show – the ethereal ‘How to disappear into a rainbow’ by local artist Dawn Ng – runs until 14 August.