By  on April 24, 2008

MOSCOW — Chantal Thomass has moved to a better neighborhood here.

The French innerwear designer has opened a store in the 690,000-square-foot Vremena goda shopping center, which is on the way to Rublevskoye shosse, where Russia's political and business elite traditionally reside. Thomass' neighbors in the mall include Porsche, Ferrari, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sonia Rykiel and Montblanc.

The brand isn't a newcomer to the market — the Livikom company, the exclusive distributor of Chantal Thomass and Aubade underwear in Russia, opened the first store in 2007, but decided to relocate to a more upscale area.

"We think that the new store will give us a 25 to 30 percent increase in sales and the turnover will reach the figures of the store in Paris," said Elena Legostayeva, general director of Livikom. "The Russian customer — a woman who buys lingerie that is a piece of art and an instrument of seduction — turned out to be really enthusiastic about the brand. By the end of 2009, we are planning to open two more stores in Moscow, and St. Petersburg is also on the list."

The new store carries not just innerwear but, as in the Paris unit, accessories, perfume, bijouterie, shoes and umbrellas, and pens and eyewear will be added later. "I am sure that my customers here are the women who work and still have time and energy to be sexy, but not vulgar," said Thomass. "Their prime goal is to seduce themselves — not necessarily to show everybody their femininity."

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