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In The Bedroom

The bedroom may be the last bastion of femininity in a world gone cold, hard and modern. And plenty of women wouldn’t have it any other way. Creating a boudoir might mean something different than it did in Jean Harlow’s day, or in the high...

The bedroom may be the last bastion of femininity in a world gone cold, hard and modern. And plenty of women wouldn’t have it any other way. Creating a boudoir might mean something different than it did in Jean Harlow’s day, or in the high Eighties, when chintz and frills reigned, but the craving for a quiet, private, unabashedly feminine space remains.

“It’s about softness,” says interior design guru Victoria Hagan, who creates the boudoir effect with cashmere blankets, silk carpeting and subdued colors. “In the bedroom, you are much more sensitive to touch. It’s about paying attention to all your senses.” Hagan suggests a scented sachet not only for the lingerie drawer, but the bedside table, too.

In the bedroom, interior designer Charlotte Moss goes in for grand antique beds and embroidered silks, while avoiding laces and frou. “I don’t have one client who doesn’t want a feminine bedroom,” she says. Of course, some women fear that the men in their life might find the effect a little overwhelming. But when one woman hemmed and hawed over whether or not her husband would find a four-poster bed too fussy, Moss set her straight. “Let him have whatever he wants in his library. The bedroom should be feminine,” she snaps.

And with all the ladylike luxuries on parade, why should your best lingerie be wadded up and tucked away in some drawer? Monica Mitro of Victoria’s Secret says flaunt it if you’ve got it. “Hang your special lingerie in the closet with your clothes, or if you have a beautiful gown, hang it on the back of your door,” she says. “Someone might see it.”

But nothing says boudoir better than pretty perfume bottles, or a gorgeous silver hairbrush set out on a vanity table. Products done up in old-fashioned packaging, such as

E. Courdray’s ornate jars of bath cream or Florence Gunnarson’s bottled bath oils, which have been pretty since 1939, are among the best-selling items at Barneys New York. “They’re all so pleasing to the eye,” says Cindy Chua, apothecary buyer for the store, “and you feel so indulgent using them.”

This story first appeared in the August 26, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.