Henri Bendel at the Galleria Full of Fun, Flirty Treasures

There is an awful lot to love at the new Henri Bendel store in the Galleria. Beautiful bags line the walls on shelves that hold everything from tote bags to sleek evening clutches while tables hold all manner of sparkly jewels for ears, necks, fingers and wrists. A small perfume display is tucked against one wall, about halfway back to the register, flanked by a home-fragrance display of candles and essential oil diffusers. Mannequin torsos -- in the signature Bendel's brown-and-white stripe -- sporting various styles of handbags are scattered throughout the store.

The vibe inside the store on Sunday still held the residual excitement from opening weekend -- a steady stream of women wandered inside as husbands lounged on benches just outside the entrance. A giant, ornate chandelier graces the entrance, though the rest of the store is quite sleek and modern; it's a fun shopping space that is large without being impersonal, with lighting, music and layout all contributing to its intimate feel.

The store kicked off its grand opening on Friday night when -- in spite of a rush-hour snarl of traffic on 59 northbound -- the store was packed with excited Bendel fans. On Sunday afternoon the throng had subsided, but staff remained enthusiastic and engaged with the last of the weekend shoppers. You would never know the store had seen such high traffic; every display was immaculate, every bag was positioned just so on its shelf.

It's a pleasure pawing through well-manicured accessory displays...also, the bows!

You could do some damage at Bendel's, but it's a great place for an affordable luxury splurge, if you're in the market for a little something special. Were you at the Galleria for the big Bendel's opening? What did you think, and more important -- what did you buy?

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Christina Uticone