This past year the newly renovated Saks 5th Avenue opened its doors in the Houston Galleria. When I was in college I frequented this particular location because I had someone in my extended family that worked the beauty counter up front. I rarely dared to venture further, I felt intimated, much like someone dressed simply like me was unwelcome in such an immaculate and extravagant location.
When doing a photo shoot of the Galleria this past February I took the dare to venture in to see how much things have changed. I held my head high even though I had two little toddler girls squealing loudly with delight. I didn’t feel embarrassed, though my attire spoke not of my worth. Employees were far more kind and open then I remembered, I felt as if I was walking back in time to the Selfridges glory days (or at least how it was demonstrated on PBS).
I grabbed some shots, eager to write a piece on what a marvelous experience I had at Saks. I started with the full bar, which was once upstairs and now near the lower entry.
I went on to grab a shot of the captivating light fixture that hung center above cosmetics.
The accessories department had also received a quite lush facelift with red silk tufted panels, and modern bubble chandeliers. The fixtures were so clean, and everything meticulously placed, just as true to Saks finesse as always.
I then headed upstairs, though the elevator was quite difficult to find through the men’s section. I really wanted to snap some shots, as I made my way past the bar and under the stairs. somehow I felt I had entered an entire new dimension, one of a man cave filled with oddities from around the world. There were so many men there shopping though and, the quarters were a little tight to grab that perfect “worth it” shot.
Upstairs I followed an aisle of perfectly dressed mannequins, when I saw it. In the heart of the women’s department stood the most remarkable display. It was so luxurious surrounded with Amethyst cathedrals and finely dressed mannequins. But just before I could balance my camera and the girls in just the right way to grab the shot a voice came from behind one of the clothing racks. It was cold, and annoyed. “May I help you?” I looked startled, the associate was obviously more seasoned than the far younger crowd I had passed downstairs, she was old Saks, the Saks I remembered. The reason I never actually shopped here,.
“No Ma’am, I’m fine, thank you.”
She then stood, lingering, watching. There was a long unnerving silence before I proceeded through, giving up on my picture. She followed me, slowly, lurking behind various displays, I enjoyed looking back very regularly to see her dart her eyes, or suddenly pretend to be busy. I just prayed this not be the moment that the baby try to grab something off a counter.
I made my way to the escalators which was blanketed with a curtain of stringed teardrops. It was absolutely breathtaking. As I gazed with the girls the woman passed me off to a younger associate. Of course being a retail veteran I had long since tuned into their conversation, hearing the entire thing. She was to watch me until I left the premises, at that moment I turned back and made eye contact with the young associate. I gave a kind smile, she gave a shockingly embarrassed gaze of apology.
Under her more lenient watch I took one more circle and quickly grabbed this panorama. I’m incredibly impressed with how it turned out.
I circled the shop, debated actually purchasing something, but to be honest with all the watchful eyes I was terrified to even look at an item much less take it off the rack, so I took my leave.
The new Saks really is a breathtaking location, and if you are in the Houston area I do recommend making a visit, hey the cranky lady can’t work everyday. It’s an experience that’s worthwhile.
This is a Part of The #AtoZChallenge
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