Barney’s of New York has long been known for its progressive vision when it comes to fashion and culture. In light of California legalizing cannabis for recreational use, the high end retailer added The High End shop to its Rodeo Drive store in Beverley Hills in Los Angeles.
Curating high end accoutrements for the savvy cannabis consumer was a given, and adding CBD products to its personal care department was nothing short of brilliant.
But, the excitement quickly faded, as news of Barney’s demise hit the newsstands this past October, with a Chapter 11 filing, and licensing firm, Authentic Brands Group, set to liquidate 15 of its 22 existing locations. The flagship in Manhattan, New York, will be used as a cultural, museum venue highlighting Barney’s historic past.
A valiant fight was waged via social media, but Sam Ben-Avraham’s “Save Barney’s” campaign failed to get the investors needed to keep several stores open, including the Rodeo Drive store with its newly curated, The High End shop.
This Weed Traveler was able to visit the 300 square foot nook at the top of the building on the fourth floor this past summer. The grand building that stands on its own among some of the most expensive stores in the world; catering to some of the most high profiles shoppers in the world, from nearby Beverly Hills, Bel Air, right down to the beach in Malibu.
Michael Burke held the unique title of Apothecary Manager. He spoke of the progression and success of having CBD products, et al, in-house.
“All of the products have been well received,” Burke said, standing next to a wall of lotions, oils, and personal care products all infused with cannabinoids or CBD, derived from cannabis. “Our main challenge was finding companies who could meet supply and demand from both our physical shops and online purchases.”
When asked about the quality of the products, as compared to other high-end lotions Barney’s stocks, Burke said the products were just as finely made as any other of their luxury lines.
An entire wing had been created for The High End shop on the top floor of the building. Inside, savvy and well-heeled cannabis partakers could purchase fine smoking accessories, sitting under glass cases, surrounding by marble walls and gilded pedestals.
Fine bone china vintage ashtrays from Hermes Paris, with one of its signature designs, could be had for about $700 a pop.
When asked how the historic design house, Hermes, felt about its ashtrays being for sale in such a space, Burke replied, “They are happy to be selling ashtrays again.”
Under another glass case, rolling papers are carefully laid out from French company, Devambez, made exclusively with hemp grown in the South of France. Burke added that if you haven’t smoked a joint rolled in a Devambez, you just have no idea what the fuss is all about.
Sterling silver accessories created by Good Art.com include pokers, lighter sleeves, and bud containers, all made by the hands of Los Angeles silversmith, Josh Warner. One of Warner’s sterling silver grinders comes with a price tag of $1,474.
Longtime iconic New York jeweler, Carole Shashona, has joined the healing trend, and now includes a line of cannabis leaf adorned fine jewelry for the shop.
There’s glass art via beautiful bongs by Caleb Siemon, of Siemon & Salazar, a design duo, schooled in Italy, from Southern California; and stash boxes by Ginger Brown, a French design house in Normandy.
Italian housewares design house, Lorenzi Milano, typically creates beautiful tableware, barware, and personal care items, such as handcrafted shaving kits, comes to the High End table with its mother-of-pearl signature coffee table lighter and ashtray.
While some may scoff at a seven hundred dollar ashtray, or a thousand dollar grinder, there is a market for such fodder. Gone are the days of plastic baggies and shoe boxes to hold your stash. The coffee table of the elite now sport high end accessories for partaking. Because, why not? Raising your ritual never looked this good.
Hopefully, when the dust settles around Barney’s historic empire, there will still be a space for such extravagances. Because having items like these in a mainstream, high end shop like Barney’s is a sign of things to come. It’s an indication that cannabis has been taken from the alleyways, backrooms and bathrooms, and is now sitting at the grown-ups table, beside crystal brandy snifters and sterling silver decanters for recreating and medicating pleasure.
Published By Sharon Letts in Weed World Magazine Issue 144