Brick and Mortar Report

Retail Roundup: Hemline Heights Is Here; Hellos and Goodbyes at River Oaks District

Plus, a chic rebrand for a local textiles designer.

By Abby Ledoux March 10, 2020

Hemline franchisee Shannon O'Shea Martin, who opened Hemline CityCentre two years ago, will debut Hemline Heights this Friday, March 13.

a historically unlucky day just got a lot more promising: Hemline Heights—the fifth Houston-area location for the New Orleans-based, fashion-forward boutique—will open its doors this Friday, March 13 at 1533 N Shepherd Dr., Suite 110. The shop will occupy more than 1,000 square-feet in the brand-new Market at Houston Heights, the mixed-use development between 15th and 16th streets that's also home to CycleBar and Flower Child.

Hemline Heights franchisee Shannon O'Shea Martin is a Louisiana native who worked for the brand for five years before opening her first franchise, Hemline CityCentre, two years ago. She specifically chose the Heights as her next location for the neighborhood's lively, eclectic, and energetic feel that she says perfectly aligns with the brand.

As with other Hemlines, the Heights shop (which marks the brand's 29th overall) will be tailored to the community and will carry a variety of clothes, shoes, and accessories for fashionable women of all ages. Look for favorite brands like Misa Los Angeles, Hudson, Dolce Vita, Saylor, Marven West, and Krewe.

Things are happening at River Oaks District.

When one shop closes, another one opens: Over in bougie River Oaks District, the end of Avant Garden's pop-up means the arrival of Zadig & Voltaire.

Celebrated florist Todd Fiscus opened Avant Garden Floral and Home in ROD back in September 2019, designed as a pop-up to draw traffic to the area during peak holiday shopping months. The chic, flower-filled space quickly became known for its over-the-top, interactive photobooth installation that beckoned hundreds of selfie-seekers.

"We have loved being here. Showing what we can do and working with our partners Motus Red and Todd Events on our fantastically attended photobooths has been a blast," says Fiscus, who continues to offer floral and delivery services from his permanent Dallas location. "However, the sales and growth strategy just doesn't support a full-time store for us in Houston. That's always been a certainty in our strategy, which is why this pop-up was such a fun opportunity." As such, ROD's Avant Garden experience concluded at the end of February.

But the end of the month also welcomed Parisian fashion house Zadig & Voltaire to the District, which is now home to the brand's first-ever Texas store and seventh flagship in North America. Located next to Alice & Olivia, the store offers quintessentially French designs—chic, flattering collections for women, men, and children comprised of elevated staple pieces that transition from work to play.

"This highly sought-after brand is an important addition to our expanding global merchandise offerings," says Rosalind Schurgin, CEO of Festival Companies (the firm behind ROD). "Zadig & Voltaire embodies French sophistication that is attainable in their variety of casual luxury lifestyle pieces and accessories. I trust Houstonians will naturally gravitate towards their aesthetic."

Elsewhere in the retail landscape, one of Houstonia's 100 Best Shops, Mela & Roam, has rebranded. After nearly a decade in business, shop owner and textile designer Courtney Barton has relaunched with an eponymous name and redesigned website to better reflect the growth of her company and its expansion with a second brick-and-mortar in Round Top.

Courtney Barton

Barton launched her curated assortment of globally inspired textiles after she and her husband returned home to Houston from a two-year sojourn in Malaysia, where she began collecting antique textiles and exploring their heritage. Over the last nine years, she's grown her fledgling retail concept into a formidable brand with a loyal following thanks to her luxuriously soft cotton Dohar blankets and custom hand-blocked pillows—all collaboratively designed and produced by Barton and her team of artisans in Rajasthan, India.

Barton also stocks the shop with art, decor, antiques, accessories, and apothecary products from around the world, mixing objects, origins, and eras to reflect her own eclectic aesthetic. She shares retail space in central Houston at The Gray Door, and will open her own dedicated storefront in Round Top later this year after exhibiting at the biannual antiques show there for the last five years.

"After years of developing and expanding my business, I am taking a leap of faith towards my long-term vision," Barton says. "The Round Top community has been incredibly supportive of my business and welcoming me as their neighbor—I am honored to open a permanent store here and be a part of this special town. Round Top is a magical place with surprises at every turn, and I love that this tiny Texas town has become a hub for the interior design world."

Finally, some more odds-and-ends also worth noting:

  • Kate Hudson's Fabletics is officially open in the Galleria, and the matching activewear sets are not to be missed. 
  • Authentic Italian shoe store Clorinda Antinori will open mid-month at River Oaks Shopping Center.
  • The warm-weather iteration of the Nutcracker Market (reasonably called Nutcracker Market Spring) is set this year for April 17–19 at NRG with loads of Mother's and Father's Day gifts.
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