By  on March 8, 2005

NEW YORK — Buying lingerie ought to evoke the same pleasure as wearing it, according to Catriona MacKechnie, owner of the new boutique that bears her name in New York’s Meatpacking District.

A former interior designer, MacKechnie turned her theory into a reality when she opened last December. In her 1,000-square-foot shop, she created three distinct moods to reflect the different looks and personalities of 20 lines: clean and modern, sweet and playful and just plain sexy.

“Lingerie is not something you take seriously, it’s something you take pleasure in shopping for,” the native of Scotland said. “It’s not a pleasant experience at department stores.”

On one side of the boutique, a “feather wall” of 400 hand-installed, matte-gray metal plates echoes heavily embellished pieces. The opposite wall, of backlit glass, creates a softer, romantic ambience, mimicking the transparency of chiffons and georgettes. The center of the shop is anchored by a free-form divider of cream-colored Corian, a perfect foil for tailored, seamless items.

“I wanted a space with a sense of mystery and intrigue, something sensual and evocative without being blatant,” MacKechnie said. “It’s not just about different types of women, it’s how a woman feels.”

Among the collections the boutique carries are Strumpet & Pink, Damaris, Elise Acouturier, Frost French and Courtworth, from whom a highly embellished corset can run $3,000.

“Business has been good, better than I expected,” said MacKechnie, who projects first-year sales of $500,000. “There are more people coming to the area than you would think. It’s more of a destination.”

Her retail neighbors include Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and La Perla.

MacKechnie said customer reaction to her shop’s unusual design has been positive, but the big draw came as a bit of a surprise: the dressing rooms, where yards of transparent white georgette float from the ceiling.

“It’s kind of like looking up someone’s petticoat,” she quipped.

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