Attention to Retail

ATTENTION TO RETAIL

Kiki de Montparnasse

Greene St, New York City

Kiki de Montparnasse

February is Intimates Month at Attention to Retail.

Window detail

From a distance, Kiki’s boutique is not so different from our last stop, Agent Provocateur. Both feature mysterious, alluring windows full of sensual garments. But Kiki’s dark, curtained displays seem to offer something more by offering something less. It’s like the store doesn’t much care whether it catches our eye—because it knows it will, and that when it does, we won’t be able to resist walking in.

Entering the store

If Provocateur feels like snooping around a busy hotel room, Kiki feels like being invited into someone’s parlor. Someone we’ve only just met but can’t wait to know better. I found myself whispering as I walked around this store, even as the relaxed associates spoke to me at a more usual volume. I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want to disturb my host, who was most certainly just around the corner. Perhaps she was under the chandelier of one of the dressing rooms preparing for whatever comes next. It was all just so…intimate.

A framed photograph

The store is broken up into three sections: a showroom in the front, a bedroom in the back, and assorted displays in the middle. Everywhere there are elegant busts and delicate hangers presenting barely-there bits and pieces, mostly in silk and lace, with the occasional cashmere or cotton for lounging. Even the most peculiar products (a feathered bonnet?) are presented with a straight face and somehow it all works. These are not the elements of transformative sexuality; they are complements to the (maybe dormant) persona that already exists inside the customer.

The walls are lined with photographs, mostly black-and-white closeups of the human form, sometimes androgynous but never less than seductive. Beside the fragrances and toys are CDs, DVDs, and coffee table books to set the mood. D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar, Man Ray’s Women, and Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También were among the offerings. There was no winking or nudging here. Just very good ideas.

A ready bed

In the back of the store is this bed, embroidered in what seems to be the mission of this line. The pillowcases are for sale, as is the rest of the bedding and all the soft things resting on them. Elsewhere in the store are pieces of vintage jewelry, all curated with an eye for sex or courtship. The timeless pieces feel just right alongside the modern accessories.

On our last stop I felt underwhelmed. Today I feel overwhelmed in just the perfect way, taken aback by what’s been offered but eager to see more. Kiki’s place has executed its mission just right.

Is Kiki right for you? Let me know via email or on Twitter and I’ll see you next week!