30 July 2012

Birmingham Boutique Boasts Million Dollar Bra

Story first reported from Detroit Free Press

It's bling meets bra -- and a million-dollar marketing campaign.

Birmingham Estate and Jewelry Buyers is selling a very mentionable unmentionable made of gold and diamonds for $1 million. It's constructed of 18-karat white and rose gold and white, orange, brown, green, pink and yellow diamonds.

Since the Woodward Avenue store unveiled it last month, owner Anthony Aubrey has sold one, though a slightly cheaper model made with black diamonds for $350,000, custom-made in the buyer's wife's size. While the bra is for sale -- to be worn or displayed as art -- it's also doubling as a marketing tool.

According to Aubrey, who has turned down offers for the bra from jewelers in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, his store traffic has jumped 20%.

Aubrey got the idea for the bijoux bra by simply looking around his store. It then took him three months to sketch the design and almost a year, working with 40 artisans, to craft the eye-opener.

With the economy still recovering, Aubrey said he needed something to do with all of the diamonds he had around the store, and the bra was the unique piece he dreamed up.

Aubrey said his bra is better than the gold-and-diamond one made famous by Victoria's Secret, because the lingerie chain's version is held together with fabric.

His karats-meets-cups creation is all metal, 750 grams for the deluxe model; each diamond is in its own setting, which is then wired together, like mesh.

The bra has been worn by models, and it is said to be rather comfortable.

But it's not necessarily the sort of bra that should be burned.

J. Cherie Strachan, director of Central Michigan University's women and gender studies program said she is offended by the bra, which she says clearly shows a gross objectification of women.

Aubrey dismissed concerns that people living in still-recovering Michigan might not want to see this kind of gilded ribcage topper, saying that his high-end jewelry store is just the place for such an item.

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