Selling faux fur, disco outfits, feathery dresses, wigs, and 80s bangles, the Piedmont Boutique in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco sprung out of the 60s hippie counterculture. But this boutique has evolved to sell a racier selection of wares over the years, today selling lingerie, fetish wear, cigarette holders, and as the store facade suggests, fishnet leggings.
A simple sign wasn’t enough for the Piedmont Boutique to attract the bawdy costume buyers it desired. Something more was needed. So the store hired local artist Barry Forman to stick a pair of gigantic legs out of the shop’s second floor windows. Complete with fishnet stockings and seductively bent knees, Forman says that the most difficult part of painting these legs was adding “sparkle” to the red high heels.
The unusual advertising technique has worked. Nowadays, the Piedmont Boutique is often known as “the store with the legs!” It’s come to be that this sexy attention-grabber is really the main draw. The legs have not only brought in new female shoppers but also a handful of male selfie-takers making poses beneath the legs. It’s a hotspot for photographers; many angle the camera to place the legs in the background of the adjacent “Haight-Ashbury” miniature street sign, which is personified with a thick mustache, yellow-tinted sunglasses, and a peace sign necklace.
The legs of the Piedmont Boutique have become a neighborhood icon and are even featured in San Francisco’s Madame Tussauds wax museum, in a slightly smaller yet less-weathered form.