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Dollhouse Bettie

Pinning It Up

Seeking Bettie Grable or Dita Von Teese pinup status? Discriminating applicants may apply at Dollhouse Bettie -- the domain where one can find wall to wall selections of vintage lace gowns sheer enough to maintain some mystery or au courant naughty bra cups that show all with a slight pull of a bow. Founders Michelle Athanasiades and Eric Metens bring romance and glamour to a boudoir that showcases lingerie looks of yesterday and tomorrow.

What began as an eBay project to purge Michelle’s closet has now emerged into a real storefront with its own website for online sales. Nestled in the Haight Ashbury, the specialty boutique is a welcome addition to a neighborhood which highly appreciates vintage. Celebrating its one year anniversary just a month ago, Dollhouse Bettie has recently expanded from not just selling lingerie but also providing boudoir photography.

Michelle personally photographs all sessions, not in an icebox studio but rather a true Edwardian flat furnished with period pieces. Depending on the selected package, fittings and wardrobe consultation can be provided. The basic photo shoot starts at $200 which includes two hours of photographer and studio time. The most deluxe of all packages ($700) covers six hours of hair, makeup, styling and three hours of photographer and studio time. All packages provide images in high resolution fit to showcase the pinup persona of any budding star.

These photo packages come with a perk. Depending on the package, Dollhouse Bettie offers merchandise discounts which range from 15% to 25%. The savings apply to any styles of one’s choice whether it is GQ sultry and seductive or seemingly good-girl-next-door.

For the nostalgic pinup looks, one can choose bras and garters from bygone eras. Original tags and prices may remain but of course have been converted to today’s value. All the key looks are showcased, ranging from 50s babydoll nighties to rarities such as a 20s nightgown in creamy pink silk. Feather boas ($29) provide a fitting accessory for any decade.

Supplementing the true vintage finds, Dollhouse Bettie also reproduces retro looks. Try the 50s satin panties designed in-house with ruched side and bow detail ($25) or the shaping corsets ($230 and up) that can be custom-made, from England.

The lingerie fashions which define "today" hail from designers that are local and international. Designer Mary Green of San Francisco offers simple camisoles in vanilla silk with black lace ($73). Betsey Johnson of New York brings her girly trademark to pink polka dot babydoll sets ($98) and black lacy bed jackets ($65). Los Angeles’ newly launched Letters of Marque (by actress Stacy Dash) concocts Victorian signatory pieces such as bloomers with flared ruffle detail ($175) and peignoirs embellished with English and French Leavers lace ($375).

On the international front, Lejaby, a premier lingerie maker since the 30s, offers classic French styling and fabrication represented in the peach pintuck balconet bra ($98) and matching ruffled thong ($60). I.D. Sarrieri, a relatively young lingerie house, produces high quality pieces made in Bucharest. The Swarovski crystal bra ($279) and thong ($140) certainly are not for the shy.

Whether the piece is a Victorian pantaloon or a thong strewn with crystals, Dollhouse Bettie offers elegance and glamour that transpire from vintage pinup looks of ago to modern ensembles of today. Whichever decade of one’s choosing, it’s an opportunity for one to build a lavish boudoir and to debut one’s own Pinup Look of the Year -- no experience necessary.