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Toy Time

With the opening of the elegantly appointed Kiki de Montparnasse in Soho, buying erotica has achieved a new level of respectability. Here, a guide to New York’s most rewarding sex-toy shops.

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  Kiki de
Montparnasse

79 Greene St., by Spring St.
212-965-8150
Babeland
43 Mercer St., at Grand St.
212-966-2120
Myla
20 E. 69th St., by Madison Ave.
212-570-1590
History The newest, and most frankly alluring, of the group, it was opened by former fashion marketing executive Andrew Pollard and his girlfriend, fashion designer Jennifer Zuccarini. They imagined a den 1 of luxury where people could “explore intimacy” and, yeah, go shopping. There’s been a Babeland in New York since 1998 (the first was on Rivington Street). The more-upscale Soho branch opened its doors in 2003. A British lingerie company, Myla started the high-end sex-toy trend when it opened its Upper East Side shop in 2004.
The Vibe If Colette, Belle de Jour, and Dita Von Teese shared an apartment in Paris. A dimly lit, beautifully furnished store with original Man Ray, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon photos. Like a college bookstore, with a rocking soundtrack, bright yellow-orange walls, and open bookshelves stocked with titles like Sex Toys 101: A Playfully Uninhibited Guide. Tuned to its Upper East Side clientele. The window exposes glamorous bras and panties, while the objects are discreetly housed in lower shelves, making it easy to pretend you’re there for the bras. They sell sex toys? Oh, so they do!
M.O. “We don’t consider ourselves a sex shop,” says Pollard. Sex toys are renamed “instruments of pleasure”; dildos, “dilettos.” The company’s mission statement, emblazoned on a wall in large letters, includes words like fun, accessible, interactive, sleaze-free, and sex-positive. “Sex Life Accessories” is the official tag.
Best Seller Currently, it’s the cashmere crocheted robe for $995, although the dilettos are also very popular. The ever-popular Rabbit Habit, $88. The Bone, an ultrasleek, hand- finished resin vibrator by British design icon Tom Dixon, $380.
Special Services Pollard and Zuccarini want to make the store a real salon, so they host invitation-only dinners in an upstairs dining room. There are also art exhibits and product demonstrations. You can arrange private shopping sessions where you have the whole store and a Babeland Sex Educator all to yourself. An in-house seamstress can alter everything, including that bejeweled G-string.
Sexiness Quotient Shopping as foreplay. Literally. This store will put you in the mood faster than you can say “Ravish me now, right here, in the velvet-draped dressing room with its adjustable mood lighting.” With its cheery, enthusiastic emphasis on education and self-love, Babeland isn’t exactly the place to get it on, but you’ll leave well informed about getting it on later. Classy, with just a whisper of tartiness. It has an excellent selection of pasties, but you have to search for them.
The Product MOST DECADENT The Mi-Su titanium "diletto" ...$3,750 MOST DISCREET The Jimmy Jane "Little Gold" ...$275 MOST DESIGNED The Bone ...$380
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF NEW YORK MAGAZINE; DAVIES + STARR FOR NEW YORK MAGAZINE


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