4510 McKinney Avenue, Dallas
Duck into Forty Five Ten on Dallas’ bustling McKinney Avenue and it is immediately apparent that the pursuit of sartorial pleasure is considered an unalienable right here. The clean, cozy space showcases coveted labels such as the Row, Proenza Schouler, and Givenchy, while elegant glass display cases are filled to the brim with baubles from jewelry designers such as Kimberly McDonald, Melissa Joy Manning, and Dean Harris. Owner Brian Bolke only stocks his store with items that reflect his creative vision, which explains why every piece is meticulously curated. “In the end,” he says, “it’s all about the edit.”
Bolke is no stranger to retail. Having paid his dues at such powerhouses as Neiman Marcus and I. Magnin, he opted out in 1995, when he opened a flower shop, aiming for a simpler, noncorporate atmosphere more in line with his personal goals. The shop gave him important insight into owning a small business. “You learn a lot about people, their taste, and their spending habits in the flower business,” says Bolke, who likens himself to a sponge, soaking up inspiration from all areas of life. In April 2000, he parlayed the flower trade into a more fashion-minded venture, and thus, Forty Five Ten was born.
Whole Lotta Love
Forty Five Ten prides itself on having a great relationship with its featured designers. “Our vendors are proud to be here and it is because we have integrity from start to finish,” says Bolke. “I think we present things in a completely unique way.” For that reason, it’s no surprise that Forty Five Ten is the exclusive Dallas vendor for nearly all its jewelry lines. “When it is a match, this is where the vendors want to be,” Bolke says, citing lines including the Woods and Kimberly McDonald as customer favorites because they juxtapose precious stones with more organic mediums such as wood and leather. Bolke believes this clash of schools to be very much representative of the spirit of the Texas shopper. “Every designer that comes in is blown away by how chic and friendly everyone is,” he says.
The Big D
Despite suffering from stereotypes about big hair and cowboy boots, Dallas is quickly becoming one of the world’s trendiest cities. And with its chic and posh labels, Forty Five Ten easily lures the fashion set. Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah, and former first lady Laura Bush frequently stop by when they are in town. “I think there is a spotlight on Dallas right now,” says Bolke, noting the burgeoning art scene as one of the city’s most alluring features. “The Forty Five Ten customer is generally someone in their 40s, although of course they can be younger or older; someone who is art-minded, community-minded, and who appreciates the hard work we do to present and edit.”
Hey, Little Sister
If Forty Five Ten is the uptown sophisticate, then Five and Ten is her edgy downtown younger sister. Having just opened earlier this year, the spinoff shop, located in Dallas’ tony Highland Park Village, carries more affordable lines like J Brand and Be&D and jewelry by Jeanine Payer and Miansai, aimed at younger buyers. “Forty Five Ten is more a destination,” Bolke says. “Five and Ten is more for our customer to pop in on a regular basis.” Customer traffic at the newer store, Bolke says, “is more demanding of newness, which is a challenge, but fun.”
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