If you are among the 99 percent, your Christmas shopping probably won't take you into the Neiman Marcus-helmed Galleria I wing of the mall, where luxury boutiques have formed a murderers' row of sorts to compete ever-so-chicly for tony Houstonians' black cards.
5085 Westheimer, inside Galleria I
Still, once everyone on your list is crossed off and you are sufficiently poor to resist thousand-dollar impulse purchases, you should wander down to the fancy end of the mall, if only to see the new Chanel boutique. After a multi-million dollar renovation that started over the summer, the 5,000-square-foot store was completed earlier this month. The new space was designed by New York architect Peter Marino in accordance with the taste of both the brand's founder, the incomparable Coco Chanel, and longtime creative director Karl Lagerfeld.
In addition to the black and white palette that is a signature of the brand, the new store evokes the Gilded Age with accents like gold-lit accessory shadowboxes along the walls and gold screens fashioned from Chanel's iconic interlocking 'C' pattern in the display windows.
The new store reflects the luxury sector's growing reliance on accessories, with a comfortable new shoe salon that feels like a chic Parisian pied-à-terre, topped by an impressive Maison d'art Goossens chandelier. There's also a vintage rock crystal fireplace flanked by art nouveau-inspired mirrored panels designed by Cristophe Côme.
If you want to windowshop some more, Galleria I also boasts new stores from Rolex and John Varvatos as well as a Bulgari boutique that received an equally glam makeover earlier this year.