Forty Five Ten has been one of Dallas’ best shopping spots since it opened in 2000. This fall, the boutique moves downtown, in a 45,000-square-foot space. Its neighbors will include The Joule hotel, Tenoversix, Traffic LA, and Play by Comme des Garçons, among others. We spoke with President and Co-Founder Brian Bolke about the retail and cultural renaissance of downtown Dallas, and how art seems to permeate it all.
WHITEWALL: You are behind Forty Five Ten’s move to Downtown Dallas. Can you tell us about the choice to move and the change that’s happening in your new neighborhood?
BRIAN BOLKE: We’ve been in our current location for 16 years. We are the partner for The Joule hotel and we are now building a new store right across the street. We’ve been working on it for a few years and we’re excited that it’s finally under construction, and are hoping to open it in November.
I think there are a lot of parallels between Downtown Dallas and what’s happening in downtown Los Angeles. Dallas is in the the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, was a super vibrant downtown—if you wanted to go shopping you would come to Dallas to go downtown. You’d either go to Neiman Marcus or any other major department store. But it got kind of dusty and sleepy in the ’80s and ’90s. And now, you’re seeing the exploration of downtown Dallas in design, culture, food, etc. Our store is really at the epicenter of it. I love this sort of return to a romantic idea that it’s a place to go for something very special.
WW: What are the parallels you’re seeing between the revival of Dallas’ downtown and L.A.’s?
BB: I think in L.A., there are a lot of important art features that have really made that city culturally important. You look at even the Dallas Art Fair, since its beginning to what it’s become, and it’s just completely different. And then museums in Dallas—the Pollock show will be down by the time the art fair opens, but it was extraordinary and would’ve been extraordinary in any city of the world. During the fair will be the Irving Penn show [at the Dallas Museum of Art], which personally, I’m very excited about.
WW: How much interaction do you see between your clients and the art community?
BB: It’s honestly one of the most important aspects of the store. It’s a complete community between the worlds of art, design, fashion, food, and I think that is really what we are doing downtown. If somebody comes to the store just because they love the art, or just because they love the music, I am just as happy as if they come because they want to buy fashion. They’re all related, and I think that in this day and age, if the consumer doesn’t have a multi- dimensional experience, they’re completely bored. I think we have a rare opportunity to create really exciting programming that cuts through a lot of these ideas.
WW: In the new space, what kind of artworks can we expect to see?
BB: We’re partnering [with] Lehmann Maupin for our programming. One of the main things we purchased for the store’s collection is Catherine Opie’s Elizabeth Taylor series throughout the store. And if someone’s interested, they can actually purchase them. Plus, we have amazing works by Mario Testino.
WW: I imagine you’re personally interested in contemporary art as well. Do you collect?
BB: Yes. My partner and I, we’re branching out a little more, but we have a collection of photography. We’re big consumers and loyalists of art, and that really comes from having such lovely friends in the Dallas area that are also consumed by art. This city has, especially in private hands, some of the most incredible art in the world.