Henri Bendel Opens in the OC with a New Model for a New Economy

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Pictured: The New Henri Bendel Boutique Store in South Coast Plaza. The store is in the center of the mall, near the Carousel.

There was excitement today in Southern California as one of New York City’s oldest retailers, Henri Bendel, set up a small boutique store in South Coast Plaza. This is phase one of the Bendel invasion, as another store is coming soon to The Beverly Center. If you read my blog, you know I love me some Henri Bendel. When in New York, I always stop in the Fifth Avenue store. When I appeared on ABC-TV, I had my make-up done at the Trish McEvoy counter at Bendel’s. Only at Bendel’s, can you walk up to the counter and say, “Excuse me, I’m on TV in 20 minutes, can you help me?” And they accomodate! For me, its always been the place to go in New York for unique items and customer service. The phrase, “all the pretty Bendel things” is indeed true. Take it from me, I have the charge card bills to show it. However, Bendel’s NY has also been know for some great sales. Every now and then, even as a Recessionista, I require some customer service and attention. So, when Henri Bendel has a sale, I hear its siren call. Sign-up for their mailer to find out when the savings are happening. Unfortunately, there are no big discounts or sales at the OC store, but this Henri Bendel store features mostly accessories, jewelry and holiday items. The items and selection are smaller than the New York store and so are the price points. I think this is the new Bendel strategy. The store selection reminds me of what the smaller Harrod’s boutique stores in the UK at at Heathrow and Gatwick. What is being sold is really a selection of Henri Bendel branded items that denote the Bendel experience as the ultimate girlfriend’s shopping excursion. Think luxury, babbles and bling rather than a full-on department store.

Pictured: Henri Bendel Christmas Ornaments, all branded like the NY store’s shopping bags.

For those who may know about the original Henri Bendel, he was the French Milliner who brought Coco Chanel’s designs from Paris to the US to be carried at his stores. Chanel and Bendel went together like Fred and Ginger. In the old NY store, there was a Chanel clothing boutique. There are still some clothes sold at the NY store, high-end jewelry on the second-floor and of course the Frédéric Fekkai hair salon on the fourth floor. At Christmas, you’ll still find the beautiful Yummi Glass hearts on the mezzanine by the elevator.

Pictured: The Henri Bendel flagship store on Fifth Ave. in NYC. Four floors of shopping heaven.

But today’s Henri Bendel is more focused on accessories, handbags, jewlery and smaller items in keeping with the current economic climate. And that is what the new Orange County store is all about. So if you are a Bendel brand lover, then the South Coast Plaza store is for you.

Pictured: A Bendel Lover, Pam Schmider, Chairman of Circle 1000 for cancer programs for Hoag Hospital, in her limited edition Bendel Sweater.

Here’s a sneak peak at what you’ll find at the new Orange County Henri Bendel store, opening this Friday, Nov. 6th. The Beverly Center store is scheduled to open after Thanksgiving. More Bendel boutiques like these are scheduled to open around the US.

Pictured: Some Bendel “bling” bracelet, earrings and cocktail rings to light up the holidays.

Pictured: My favorite item, the Sautoir bracelets. I love the lavender. Santa take note! 🙂 No HB logo is needed, they are gorgeous.

Pictured: Bendel branded cosmetic bags.

Pictured: The Bendel Girl Charms Bracelet and prices.

You get the idea. Its all about the Bendel brand. There are coffee mugs, notepads, calendars, and even dog bowls with the Bendel brand all over them.

Pictured: The Henri Bendel Christmas Ornaments.

So if you love Henri Bendel and you want to buy a little piece of the Bendel NY experience, then this store is for you. Just be aware that this is not the old New York Bendel’s on Fifth Ave. This is a new store for a new economy.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.