Thursday, February 11, 2016

Century 21: Valentino Gowns at 90% Off

We've spent the last week spying the final markdowns at all of our local department stores but couldn't help but wondering about our local discount stores. So we set out to gather intelligence on Century 21, in the Financial District.

Most all of the designer selections from this past Winter are now reduced to 90% off retail prices. We were thrilled by the markdowns but after two hours of sorting through racks and several runs to the fitting room we felt defeated. Most of the remaining merchandise was either highly undesirable, misfitting or damaged.

But then we noticed the gowns...

Towards the back wall of the third floor, there are two racks of sensational evening gowns reduced 90% off retail. Among the selection is an amazing assortment of off-the-runway Valentino gowns. For example, a Valentino beaded dress is reduced to $1047 from $14,125, a white gown that is bridal acceptable is $474 from $6200, a v-neck lace jumpsuit is $349 from $4370 and a breathtaking, dusty rose, lace and satin gown is $1033 from $13,140. Not to be missed is the perfect red gown with a leather halter and silk bottom that's $1047 from $1322. The formal evening wear assortment also includes a few dresses from Rochas and Oscar de la Renta. You can click here to see pictures of our favorites.

This is a shopping trip you need to take if you anticipate needing a gown any time in the near or distant future. If you can't make it to the downtown Century 21, we suggest you take advantage of their personal shoppers that will pull clothing and ship anywhere You can click here to make a styling appointment or contact a personal shopper by phone.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The IT-it: Net-A-Porter Launches Mansur Gavriel Shoes

Mansur Gavriel took the fashion world by storm with their modestly priced utilitarian bags. The key to the company's success was partly the price point but also reacting quickly to fashions aversion to logos.

The minimal design, functionality and moderate price point propelled the brand to the top of the fashion blogosphere. It also didn't hurt that production was limited and wait lists were endless. Now, Mansur Gavriel is entering the world of footwear.

Net-A-Porter is the exclusive online retailer for shoes, which were just put live today. You know it won't be long until this shipment is gone. After all, shoes are made for walking.

News on Madison: Flowers in Bloom

As temperatures drop this weekend, the flowers on Madison Avenue go into full bloom. 'Platinum Jewels in Bloom' is a flower and jewelry show that will run through the weekend. Jewelry boutiques located on Madison Avenue between 57th and 86th Streets will feature elaborate floral and jewelry arrangements in their store window displays.
Participating jewelry stores include, Alexis Bittar, Asprey, CH Carolina Herrera, Chanel Fine Jewelry, Chopard, David Yurman, de Grisogono, Fabergé, Fred Leighton, Graff, Hueb Fine Jewelry, Ippolita, Kwiat Boutique, Lalique, Paul Morelli, Pomellato, Sidney Garber, and Stephen Russell. In conjunction with the event, participating jewelry stores and Platinum Guild International gave a sizable donation to support of Central Park Conservancy’s Playground Partners.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bergdorf Goodman 75% Off Final Days

This year's sale season has gone much longer than usual. The usually warm weather has clearly put a crimp in retail sales but that only means there is more for us to buy at a discount. We are told that Bergdorf Goodman will be shipping out their sales merchandise in about a week and we couldn't help from wondering what treasures could still be found.

Shoes are discounted 50%, which is not very alluring at this time of year. On the bright side, we were able to find some really great shoe and boot still left. Christian Louboutin Follies Cabo 120 are $700 from $1395, Givenchy shark bit booties are $725 from $1450 and Roger Vivier suede fringed pumps are $525 from $1050. It's possible that the store will offer an additional 25% off promotion before the sale comes to a complete end. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Moving upstairs to check out leftover clothing, we found an abundance of coats, jackets and dresses. Perfect for Chinese New Year is a Mary Katrantzou print dress is $882 from $3535, a Christian Dior shift dress is $875 from $3500 and a Mugler dress with silver edging is $537 from $2150.

Further upstairs, there is a full range of outerwear still available. Perhaps the most alluring section is the Moncler boutique. There are still three full racks of coats and jackets that are discounted 40%. We are told that another markdown is coming in about two weeks, which will bring the savings to 60%. If you're still looking for a winter coat, we suggest that you start scoping out the merchandise now and keeping your eyes peeled.

Moving online, the discount isn't as good as what we found in the store but there are still a few sale options. Below are a few items that  we found online or click here to see pictures of what we found in the store.

Manolo Sale: Ohhhh, Man-no-no

The Manolo Blahnik boutique's final clearance sale started Monday and we couldn't help from being the first scope out the deals. This sale is legendary for the plush discounts that tip 75% off. This season the markdowns are similar to prior seasons but the selection is much smaller. For this reason, we are calling this sale a 'Ma-no-no.'

As usual, the prices are marked by colored dots that start at $195 for very basic suede pumps and go up to $550 for high leather boots. We are a bit disappointed that only the most basic shoes were marked with blue dots ($195)-- these shoes are often the styles marked $100 at the sample sale.

Most of the selection had orange dots ($255), which is only $60 more but it seems to be a mental hurdle. We spotted one style of Hangisi, a satin open-toe slingback, that was offered in assorted colors. They are marked with a navy dot, which indicates that they are  t$325 from $935. You can see an assortment of pictures right this way.

Unlike most years, women didn't have towers of boxes surrounding them as they tried on multiple styles. You can see why in the pictures in the jump. There aren't very many eye popping styles and some pairs we even recognize as being several seasons old.

There was no reported line to get in on Monday. Just be sure not to show up at 2pm, when the store closes to restock. Lets agree to understand that restocking means reorganizing the merchandise. The boutique sale does not usually receive new inventory throughout the sale.

Manolo Blahnik 
31 West 54th Street
Abby: 212-582-3007
 Monday-Friday 10:30am-6pm

 The boutique will close from 2pm to 3pm to restock

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Best Monolo Sale of the Season

We have made it through two markdowns at Manolo Blahnik and the final price cut is finally here. Starting Monday, Manolo will begin their final Winter markdown. This four day sale is the perfect opportunity to stock up on classic and ornate shoes from the winter collection at up to 75% off.

Sale styles are from the exclusive boutique collection and include some alligator. Prices are always marked by sticker dots, which usually range from $195 for a red dot up to $350 for a green dot. Most shoes and low boots-- even highly ornate styles-- are priced at $225.

The markdown event will begin this Monday and run through Thursday, February 11. Once the sale ends the Blahnik boutique will close for a breather. The planned re-org will continue until Monday, February 15th, when the store will reopen with the new collection.

The boutique is often crowded and don't expect your calls to be answered. On the bright side, unlike the sample sale there usually isn't a long line to get in. The sale will only run for four days and styles and sizes run low quickly. If you're looking for a great deal we suggest you switch out of your heels and take a run over to the boutique asap.

Head this way to see the full rundown of last year's final markdown sale.

Manolo Blahnik
31 West 54th Street
Abby: 212-582-3007
Monday-Friday 10:30AM-6PM

The boutique will close from 2pm to 3pm to restock and reorganize (read: for lunch)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Paul Morelli Fine Jewelry Sample Sale

There's a way to really knock the socks off of your sweetheart this Valentine's Day in true Madison Avenue Spy style. Fine jeweler-- Paul Morelli-- is hosting a sample sale at his Madison Avenue boutique. We are told that discounts will extend to 70% off retail prices.

Paul Morelli is will known for his modern pieces that are manufactured with profound attention to detail and delicacy. Each piece is handmade and reflects his dedication to superior craftsmanship and artistic curiosity. All of Morelli's pieces are singed and produced on-site, by hand, in his own workshops from conception to completion.

The jewelry line can also be found at Neiman Marcus and  1stDibs but is seldom found discounted or on sale. For this reason, we suggest you take advantage of this opportunity and stock up on diamonds as lovely as your true love.

Paul Morelli Sample Sale
Sunday, February 7 through Tuesday, February 9
Sun 120m-5pm, Mon & Tues 10am-6pm
895 Madison Avenue @ 72nd Street

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Valentine's Day Sweets for Your Sweetheart

Valentine's Day always feels like a hugely manufactured holiday that is maintained by the restaurant and flower lobby. Truth be told it is a welcomed ray of sunlight admist the gray gloom and slush of February.

Valentine's Day doesn't always require a huge grand gesture but rather something sweet and thoughtful. However, we don't know a girl who would turn down anything from Paul Morelli. Below are some of our favorite gift ideas for him and her (and even the kids).

Lanvin clutch | Tom Dixon Charcoal Scent Diffuser | CDC Tee | Thom Browne Polished-Leather Holdall | Diptyque candle | CDC Canvas Sneakers | Catbird ring | Uniqlo Ultralight Down | Heart glasses | Kate Spade emoji earrings| Smoking slippers | Girl's Pizzasauras outfit | Czech & Speake manicure set | Del Toro Bee Happy smoking slippers | CDC Sweatshirt (on sale)| Optic socks | Fendi monster belt

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Madison Avenue's SHI Cashmere Sale

If you have a crush on cashmere then quickly grab a hot coffee from St. Ambrose and head over to SHI Cashmere. The Madison Avenue boutique is hosting a very rare sale where their top quality Scottish cashmeres and linens will be discounted 30% to 70% off. The sale is slated to start on Saturday but friends and family have been invited to come in for a sneak peak.

For the uninitiated, SHI is a British brand that is best known for their fine traditional knits and linens that come in a variety of contemporary designs, ranging from body-con to more relaxed silhouettes. The cult insider brand started in 1980, out of an abandoned Scottish farmhouse and has grown into what is known as one of the finest privately owned Scottish cashmere mills in the world. Our spies tell us the mill only uses the best yarns such as Loro Piana and Todd & Duncan. That's the same yarn Chanel uses for all there knits.

The sale will include discounts on the current season collection and an arrangement of samples and prototypes that have been shipped directly from the factory in Scotland. Two ply cashmere turtlenecks, in an assortment of colors will be priced at $125 from $850, fine gage tunics that are perfect for spring will be $95 from $650 and a hand intarsia moon tunic is $860 from $1650. Discounts hot off the loom are almost more heart warming than coffee.

SHI Cashmere Friend & Family Sample Sale
Friends & Family: Friday, February 5 from 10am-5pm
Public Sale: Saturday, February 6 through Sunday, February 7
10am to 6pm
944 Madison Ave @ 75th Street
(212) 717-7115

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Inside the Final Sale at Saks

The discounts have been good for some time but this is likely the final week to snag what's left of the winter collections at department stores. Today we checked in at Saks Fifth Avenue to take stock of what merchandise is left and their prices.

We started off at the top, in the shoe mega-floor. The discounted shoes now make up less than 25% of the sales floor space. Actually, there are probably only 10 racks of sale shoes. Right now, the discount is an extra 20% off the sticker price. That brings the final discount to about 70% on most shoe styles. Shoppers will find lots of Manolo Blahniks, Jimmy Choo, Balenciaga and Stuart Weitzman.

A gold Manolo BB is now $180 from $595 and sparkling satin pumps $562 and $1875. We found a lone pair of platform Chanel pumps that come to $290 from $950, and Fendi sandals are $225 from $750 and Aquazzura leafy fringed ankle boots are $300 from $995. Online we found Fendi fur monster boots for $570 from $1900 and Lanvin hightop sneakers for $255 from $850.

If you're looking for discounted clothing you should head to the second floor. Most of the sale merchandise is discounted 75% off. To get an accurate price you might need to find a sales person. The stickers and markdowns seem to be all over the place. It's generally safe to just calculate 75% off the original price but it's not foolproof.

While browsing, we found one Valentino floral dress that comes to about $1500 from $4600, Aquilano Rimondi cream sweater dress that came to $150 from almost $600 and Alexander McQueen body con stretchy dress for $260 from $1161. Online we found Christopher Kane shift dresses $343 from $1430, a Fendi dress for $540 from $2250 and Yigal Azroual leather leggings for $676 from $1690.

You can check out lots of photos of what we found during our shopping trip inside the jump. Take note, all sales are final. You really can't blame Saks for not wanting to see the merchandise come back when they are selling it so highly discounted.