As RH found out the hard(ware) way, sometimes everyone who gets invited actually shows up
The Boston buzz saw was buzzing last week about the opening of the ab-fab new Restoration Hardware store in Back Bay.
Of course, it’s no longer called Restoration Hardware. It’s RH now.
I guess Restoration Hardware sounded too much like the kind of junkyard that savvy this old house rehabbers haunt in hopes of finding a grotty yet clean-up-able claw-foot tub, a marble mantelpiece, and a Tiffany window discarded by some philistine who wanted to go modern.
These days, RH is upscale home furnishings and tchotchkes.
Although I’ve never gotten anything there that costs more than the average stocking-stuffer, I must confess that I love moseying around the RH catalog – which weighs about 8 pounds – when one got sent to our building and tossed into the communal recycle basket. As vice president in charge of said communal recycle basket, I feel incredibly entitled to pull out catalogs, political mailers (sent to the couple of folks in the building who represent The Opposition), and alumni mags. (Come on, how can you have graduated from Princeton and not want to know that Chadsworth Osborne, Junior, Class of ‘58, continues to relish life in Kiawah Island with his second wife, Weezy, relict of classmate Buntington Huntington IV.)
Anyway, while I haven’t seen one for a while, I do so love the RH catalog. (Not to mention Princeton Alumni Weekly. Hold that tiger!)
And not just any old gallery. It’s “The Gallery at The Historic Museum of Natural History.”
It has, of course, been many moons – make that many blue moons – since this building was the Historic Museum of Natural History.
When I first got to Boston, it was Bonwit Teller, an upscale albeit somewhat fussy clothing store. Bonwit was replaced by Louis of Boston, an upscale-upscale, high fashion store that decamped from Back Bay a few years back to trendy, ultra-modern digs on the waterfront.
Anyway, the big opening night turned into a big opening night fiasco when the throngs:
…quickly swelled past its 2,000-person capacity, reportedly forcing waiters to double-team it through the crowds and prompting the Boston Police Department to shut down the event early…
The party, where guests packed like sardines reportedly sampled mini lobster rolls and sipped Bellinis, was supposed to go until 8:30. At 8:20, while British singer Edei was performing, a Boston police officer asked the staff to have her stop, according to the Herald. . (Source: Boston Business Journal)
While Rafanelli Events and Kortenhaus Communications, the party planners, were putting out the mealy-mouthed word that they’d put safety first, that they were grateful to BPD and BFD, and that they “regret any inconvenience caused to guests,” a partner in another Boston PR firm was tweeting “This will go down as one of the all-time worst planned events in Boston party history.”
It’s hard to figure out the right angle of blogness to take here, so I’ll start with this: how colossally embarrassing that thousands of Bostonians showed up for the opening of a store.
Go ahead and call it a gallery, and foof around because the building it’s in used to be a museum. (Although nothing as artsy as an art museum. Something tells me that the long-gone Museum of Natural History was largely composed of glass cases full of moth-eaten stuffed owls and dinosaur jaws.)
So what possessed people to show up in such droves for RH’s opening?
Nothing better to do in Boston?
Free food and bev?
Hoping to spot a local celeb? (We don’t have much of an A-list in these parts, but I did see that Hizzoner the Mayor and the owner of the Celtics were in attendance. Seeing them is certainly worth standing out in the cold for. Sadly or blessedly, our only real A-listers, i.e., those who would be invited to parties of the century in NYC and LA, are Tom and Gi. (That would be Our Tom Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen.) And I don’t believe Tom and Gi would lower themselves to show up at a store opening, even though the store was in their old ‘hood.
Then there’s the black-eye for the planners who planned and the promoters who promoted. How embarrassing is embarrassing?And this from Bryan Rafanelli who was the wedding planner for Chelsea Clinton.
But mostly it’s an embarrassment for Boston.
Queuing up for a store opening! I blush for my city.
That said, it does seem that at some point I will be tempted to stick my head in the RH Gallery door. After all, it’s less than a 10 minute walk, and I like gawping and gaping at nicely designed, interesting stuff. And I do hope that the faux Eifel Tower stays up. It reminds me that 100 years ago, they rioted in Paris over the first performance of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps. In Boston, we go berserk when a new store opens and we get to nose around looking at high end merch while sipping on a free Bellini.