"When we opened, our concept wasn't something that was easy to find at that time," says the boutique's owner, Edith Leblanc. "Things like designer corsets and other types of loungewear that could be worn as outerwear didn't exist all in one store. Shortly after that, it became this boom."
House of Lounge carries high-end product lines for women. La Perla, Aubade, Cosabella, Betsy Johnson, Hanky Panky and Felina are among the coveted names found on the racks. There also are boxers, briefs, robes, pajamas and other items for men. Leblanc believes that the process of shopping for all those things should be as fun as wearing them. The décor at House of Lounge includes a furry, 1950s bar; parties and cocktails are regular events, and a Burlesque 101 class, taught by Trixie Minx of the local Fleur de Tease burlesque troupe, is offered for anyone who wants to release her inner sex kitten.
Because bodies come in all different shapes, and consumer tastes can be as individual as fingerprints, House of Lounge works to accommodate a range of sizes and cover lots of different looks -- from the popular Harlow Bra, which it has stocked for years, to trendy pearl thongs, which became an overnight hit thanks to Sex and the City.
Lingerie can make or break the way a garment fits. But the focus at House of Lounge is on pieces designed to be beautiful in their own right: lacy bras and panties, silk night gowns, peignoir sets, bridal lingerie, rhinestone jewelry and feather slippers as well as passion-enhancing accessories like lotions, massage oils, candles, books and music. New looks include feminine flutter skirts, fuller-cut "girl short" panties, super-thin contour bras and couture-inspired pieces with lots of structure.
"We try to find things that are different," says Leblanc. "It's the combination of those things that gives us our distinct personality."
On June 23, House of Lounge and the Contemporary Arts Center will host Bourbon & Burlesque, an evening of cocktails, burlesque entertainment and more. Tickets are available at the CAC box office, 528-3800.