By Susan Gluck
Rebecca Apsan, the owner of La Petite Coquette in Greenwich Village, has assisted celebrities and Manhattan fashionistas alike in their search for the finest lingerie and intimate apparel, and they have all benefited from a trip to her pretty lingerie boutique.
The shop first opened in 1979 across the street from its current location at 51 University Place. As business blossomed, Rebecca moved into bigger digs and has outlasted almost every dress and accessories store along University Place and 8th Street. What has made her successful is her undeniable love of lingerie that she passionately sells both in person and online at TheLittleFlirt.com.
In 2007, Rebecca wrote The Lingerie Handbook (Workman Publishing) to express the importance of wearing it (versus plain underwear) and share her philosophy: a woman changes when she’s wearing sexy, well-made undergarments. When you change what’s underneath, you look better in your clothes, your attitude shifts and you change your outlook. It makes a tremendous difference and she compares it to an architect who creates a supportive foundation under a building’s veneer. The structure is a lot stronger for it.
And with a new attitude comes a certain joie de vivre, which explains the other items in the shop. There are eye masks, lace-up corsets, silk robes and things that tickle and tease — all great gifts. Men and women alike get expert advice from the sales staff. Cindy Crawford, Julianne Moore and Sarah Jessica Parker have shopped there for years.
More than ten years ago, Rebecca was introduced to Marlies Dekkers, the Dutch lingerie artist. Marlies started her brand in 1993 and a year later received her first fashion award. The company has been honored several times since then and has spread around the globe. La Petite Coquette and its website sell her designs to fans worldwide. They include pop divas Fergie, Lady Ga Ga and Rihanna.
A perfect fit—La Petite Coquette’s raison d’etre—is just one of the three key elements of the Marlies Dekkers brand. Each bra is engineered to provide superior lift, hold and a flattering shape. They look fabulous peeking out from behind unbuttoned tunics, framing low-slung tank tops or without a top at all. The antidote to our 98° days.
Design and quality are equally represented. Marlies Dekker shuns the use of conventional lingerie materials. You won’t find frilly lace or ribbons on her braziers. Instead, she uses design-molded metals and latticed straps that orbit the bosom or derriere.
La Petite Coquette carries items from several Marlies Dekkers lines including Dame de Paris and Triangle. Both are killers in black and use delicate, criss-crossing straps, the latter with metallic details.
Space Odyssey has a smooth sensuality to its contoured forms, with curve-hugging strap details on the bust. The line is one of Marlies’ best representations of her take on the trending “inner-wear as outerwear” style. Yes, outerwear. You read that right.
The Kunoichi line offers a “suspender belt” with adjustable garters to complement a matching bra and mid-rise thong made of black lace on top of soft microfiber fabric. If that’s hard to visualize, just imagine a seductive tea ceremony with Joan from Mad Men. Kunoichi is a knockout and perfectly reflects Rebecca’s philosophy. It will boost your confidence and your foundation!
For those who love hot colors, several Marlies Dekkers lines come in a radiant palette – bright, juicy colors, the kind that make any skin tone glow. There are also swimwear lines. Each exotic style was designed from the designer’s imagination and new looks are out now.
More sexy celebs that have been seen wearing Marlies Dekkers include Nelly Furtado, Nicky Minaj, Juliette Binoche and Dita Von Teese.
La Petite Coquette
51 University Place
New York, NY 10003