The “Anti-Victoria’s Secret”

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It's easy to walk past retail stores these days, especially in New York City, especially on a blustery December night when it would be so much easier to shop online. But Journelle, which celebrated its opening last night, is striking for its display of both comfort and elegance, two things that rarely come together in lingerie. The store sells what founder Claire Chambers, 27, calls "the thinking woman's lingerie." From the lingerie framed like art on white linen canvases to the glass bowls that hold colored lace underwear in place of candy, to the copies of the New Yorker and Portfolio perfectly arranged on an antique coffee table, the store is meticulously high-brow. A copy of Albert William Levi's Philosophy and the Modern World shows just how far you are from Heidi Klum's polyester diamond-encrusted cleavage.

Lingerie, an industry that grew 10 percent to $10.6 billion over a 12-month period ending in July, is one of those items that is seemingly available everywhere. You can buy it pretty much any place that sells clothing, not to mention Victoria's Secret, the chain that has practically become synonymous with intimate apparel. So though the the market may be booming, it's not clear that there's demand for another option.

Last updated: Dec 7, 2007




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