French luxury brand Hermès opens first Michigan store in Troy's Somerset Collection

Chuck Bennett
Special to The Detroit News

Hermès, the well-known French luxury goods manufacturer, opened a sparkling new store on the ground floor of the Somerset Collection in Troy on Friday, being the first-ever in the state of Michigan and the 30th in the U.S.

The design suggests a theme of Michigan’s natural beauty with striking landscapes and materials influenced by the state’s lakes, forests, and rock formations.

The Hermès entrance at the Somerset Collection

The store comes to the Detroit area as a result of a strong relationship between Hermès CEO Robert Chavez and the Forbes family, which owns Somerset Collection. Hermès opened its first store with the Forbes family in Orlando in 2019. And more importantly, overall, the Somerset Collection in Michigan is a destination in the fashion industry.

“We are very honored to be here,” says Peter Malachi, senior vice president of Hermès Communications, who is based out of New York. “We have very limited distribution here in the United States, so it was a natural expansion for us coming into the Great Lakes region, hosting loyal Hermès clients who shop in many other stores allowing this to be their home store.”

The home department at Hermès Somerset

Hermès is known for its variety of luxury products that are of very high quality at very high prices. “We prefer to say Hermès products are costly because of the material used and the incredible commitment to the hand craftmanship in making the products,” Malachi continues.

The company employs over 6,000 artisans particularly focused on the leather products and silk printing. In September, Hermès will bring an exhibition to Somerset Collection that will allow the public to actually see the artisans and the craftmanship process on display.

The space itself (an estimated 5,000 square feet), is a mini department store that includes sections for the vibrant silk collections for men and women, fine jewelry, beauty products, fragrances, clothing, collections for the home, a VIP suite, and of course, leather goods, many with a heavy equestrian influence.

The Birkin bag starts at around $9,500.

Hermès is known for its iconic Birkin bag. A new Hermès Birkin handbag might cost anywhere from $9,500 to almost $2 million. Each bag is made by one artisan. There are long waiting lists sometimes to obtain a Birkin that reportedly can stretch up to six years. Another popular item is the Hermès silk scarf. The scarves, which start at around $300 and increase in value as they become collectors items, are cleverly displayed at the entrance of the Somerset store on a wooden grid demarcated by three granite monoliths.

“This store offers so much,” Malachi comments. “We have beauty — lipsticks, beautiful fragrances, a much more extensive collection of home furniture products. Interested clients can make an appointment and we can show them our entire collection of sofas, lighting, porcelains, and everything you need to decorate your home. Hermès is more than a store or a product. It really is a lifestyle. We really are so happy to share this with our Michigan clientele.”

Visits to the Hermès store are by appointment only. The store is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Chuck Bennett is a freelance writer.