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Anthropologie coming to Canal Place Mall

Urban Outfitters’ much more sophisticated older sister is finally coming to town.

Anthropologie, the fashion and housewares chain with a vintage sensibility, will open a new store in Canal Place come late summer. The shop will fill the 13,000-square-foot space left by Pottery Barn, which is exiting the mall this month.

Anthropologie was in discussions with Canal Place before Hurricane Katrina. Take it as one more sign of the city’s recovery that the Philadelphia-based store is finally landing on our shores. And it’s been a long time coming. Many a local has confessed to making trips to Baton Rouge or Houston just to visit the Anthropologies in those cities.

The draw is easy to see. Beyond the actual goods for sale, these stores are worth a visit simply for their incredible visual merchandising. A recent window display at the new Anthropologie in London, for example, featured a life-sized grizzly bear posed at a papier mache tea party. Another store had two giant ostriches made of folded paper.

On the racks, the clothing is deliberately quirky and youthful; it’s the type of place where your most funky, fashionable friend likely shops for sundresses and embroidered sweaters. The housewares are a mix of kitchen goods, coffee table books, candles and bedding. There’s also hardware, but that’s not likely to seem too eye-catching to most locals. The vintage-looking glass doorknobs, cabinet pulls and wall brackets are of a variety commonly found in our shotgun houses.

Some of the housewares may seem familiar for other reasons. Anthropologie sent buyers to New Orleans last year to scout out new talent. They signed up several local artists, including Alexa Pulitzer and Sarah Ashley Longshore. No doubt, their work will be one more reason it will be hard to leave this store empty handed.

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