You might think that a Parisian boutique specializing in luxury fetish undergarments would be a popular destination for les filles Françaises looking to indulge the darker corners of their sensual life.
But Florence Abelin, who opened Mise en Cage five years ago after visiting the annual Salon Internationale lingerie show in Paris, says the reality is surprisingly different. Most customers of her made-in-France bondage-themed boutique are Americans on holiday, seeking out the kind of high-concept, fashion-forward luxury that can be hard to find stateside.
But all that’s about to change. America, Mise en Cage (which means “caged”), is coming for you with its erotic-chic blend of buckles and mesh, leather harnesses and tantalizing “instruments of pleasure.”
Mise en Cage is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and get pre-orders for its next in-house lingerie collection, and to help expedite its U.S. invasion. The boutique’s lingerie label will debut next month at Journelle in New York and in September at the new Beverly Hills boutique Chloe Aurelia (which will launch its webshop a few months ahead of the store opening).
“There is definitely a market for Mise en Cage in North America,” Florence told Lingerie Talk. “In fact, my main clients in the physical boutique in Paris and online are Americans.
“American clients are the most open-minded to understand these kind of products,” she added. “Very different from the French, who are very shy who feel a bit awkward to come to see us in order to buy our lingerie. French clients are a bit old-fashioned, still into lace and frills.”
You won’t find a lot of conventional frills in Mise en Cage‘s shop inventory, which includes directional British brands like Bordelle, Lascivious, Tatu Couture, Nichole de Carle, German latex pioneer Très Bonjour and the RTW crossover label Don’t Shoot The Messengers (from Berlin via Canada!).
Mise en Cage quickly attracted a following as much for its curated collection of bondage-themed boudoir playthings as for Florence’s provocative NSFW in-house photo campaigns (above) and her tireless courting of major fashion magazines, which brought exposure both to the store and its stable of brands.
Last year, she decided to launch her own lingerie label to supplement the store’s collection — a delicate and potentially risky move that puts the retailer in direct competition with its suppliers (both Journelle in the U.S. and Coco de Mer in the UK pursued a similar strategy, successfully, in recent years).
“I decided to create my own lingerie line because I wanted to offer my clients a collection that will completely match with their tastes,” Florence said. “I know very well what customers are looking for in terms of design and fitting.
“Anyway, Mise en Cage has its own signature, I think our collections bring something new and fresh, very sporty chic (with) a touch of seduction. I think we have our own DNA which is different from the others brands that we are selling even if we nearly all use straps and we are all into graphic lines.”
Mise en Cage‘s debut lingerie collection, called MEC, introduced its aesthetic of functional black mesh-and-elastic-strap sets with a hint of 50 Shades styling and yielded several bestsellers for the boutique. The Kickstarter campaign will help to finance production costs for the second collection, Nue (above), and raise awareness of the third collection, Wet, which will follow.
Florence, who has a background in business, marketing and PR, serves as creative director for her lingerie line, and works with a stylist and pattern maker to design prototypes. All Mise en Cage brand collections are manufactured by Macosa, one of the last remaining French lingerie factories whose clients include world-class brands like Erès, Lise Charmel, Maison Lejaby and Paloma Casile.
“This is a old family business that retains a special and unique knowledge in the luxury lingerie industry,” Florence said. “What I wanted for my brand is to work with craftsmen that know their job very well. Macosa still employs 100 employees and it was important for me to contribute to perpetuate this industry in my country, an industry that tends to disappear.”
Mise en Cage‘s crowdfunding campaign runs until Aug. 6. Have a look at the rewards that accompany each level of funding, especially the biggest one — for €5,000 you can get a shopping spree at the Paris boutique worth €6,000. That adds up to a lot of free goodies!
The top photo above is from the Wet collection. Below are more images from both the Nue and Wet collections from Mise en Cage. We’ve left out some of the racier images from these great campaigns because, as everyone knows, American search and social media overlords are not very, ummm, French. You can see more at Mise en Cage‘s site and Facebook page.
CREDITS: Photos by Arno Lam (‘Nue’) and Pierre Dal Corso (‘Wet’).