Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shop For Japan

By: ManhattanMataHari

There’s nothing quite like the guilt-free experience of shopping for a good cause. While many designers and companies have donated directly to organizations that help disaster relief in Japan, others are encouraging donations though consumerism.

Several designers and companies are holding special sales or designing limited edition apparel and accessories to benefit Japan and their recovery from the natural (and radioactive) disasters that occurred earlier this month.

Here is a brief overview of how your shopping dollars can be put to good use. After all it’s a win-win, right?

Fashion Girls For Japan
Saturday, April 2 – Sunday, April 3
11am to 5pm
The Bowery Terrace at the Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery

Fashion girls grab your bags because more than 60 designers and companies have come together to create the ultimate fundraising shopping event. Product from Barney’s, VPL, and 3.1 Philip Lim, Alexander Wang, Yigal Azrouel, DVF, Jil Sander, and Proenza Schouler will all be discounted under one roof. Each designer has donated a rolling rack that will be discounted at least 50% off retail prices. All of the proceeds of the Fashion Girls for Japan benefit will be donated to the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund.

There is likely to be a high turnout for the event, so it may be a good idea to go to go online www.fashiongirlsforjapan.com to buy the $5 admission ticket early for faster admission. Sample sales host, is Clothingline is managing the actual event, so don’t be surprised if there is a mandatory bag and coat check.



Online Shopping Relief
Several designers have committed to donating a portion of their online sales to Red Cross's Japan Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami Fund. Rag & Bone, Diane von Furstenberg, Josie Natori and Rebecca Minkoff have all committed to taking their part in disaster relief.

Until April 11 Rag & Bone will give 10% of each sale and customers can receive free shopping on orders over $250. DVF will be donating 10% of sales until April 8 and Josie Natori has committed the same amount of online sales until the end of April. Rebecca Minkoff will be donating $100 from online sale of each RED handbag.

Bakes Sale for Japan
April 2
10am to 5pm
Brooklyn Flee Market, Japan NYC Booth

If shopping gets you hungry, you can snack guilt-free on April 2nd at the Bake Sale for Japan NYC booth at the Brooklyn Flea Market. A portion of the sales from your sugar rush will benefit the charity Peace Winds for Japan.


CFDA Fashion & Friends for Japan Online Charity Auction
Online auction begins April 5th

If you are truly looking for one-of-a-kind designer finds, The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is hosting the Fashion & Friends for Japan online charity auction. The auction items will go live on CharityBuzz.com starting April 5th and the proceeds will benefit the Japan Society. Apparently Steven Kolb, the executive director of the CFDA, personally wrote to designers requesting “very special experiences or over-the-top, one-of-a-kind items for the auction.”

We can’t wait to see what our favorite American designers come up with!

Jewelers for Japan
Saturday, April 9 to Sunday, April 10th
2pm to 6pm
ABC Carpet & Home, 888 Broadway New York, NY 10003

A number of Jewelry designers are coming together on April 9th and 10th to raise funds for Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief at the Ring of Love benefit for Japan, at ABC Carpet and Home. Nearly 30 different jewelry designers have donated pieces to be sold at 25% to 50% off retail. Several designers even created unique charm pieces as part of the Wish for Japan Charm Project. At just $35 each these trinkets can turn into beautiful reminders of your support and generosity.

Charlotte Ronson Sample Sale
Wednesday, April 13 to Friday April 15
10am to 7pm
1071 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 301, between 40th and 41st Streets

Charlotte Ronson is doing her part for the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund by hosting a sample sale Wednesday, April 13th through Friday, April 15th. Merchandise will be discounted at up to 75% off retail prices, in addition to the sale of a specially created "Save Japan" t-shirt. All proceeds will donated to the Fund's relief efforts.

Expect to find a printed chiffon pintuck dress for $80 from $295, a leather zipper platform shoe for $80 from $180 and a cew neck sweater for $60 from $180.



Designer T-Shirts
Both Anna Sui and Tory Burch have designed fashionable t-shirts to benefit Japan Disaster Relief. Anna’s “We’re All In This Together” shirts are just $20 and come in both black and lavender. Shipping is free but the stylish tees will not be shipped until April 15.

The Tory Burch version is a symbol "We Love Japan." The price is $29 and 100% of the proceeds will be given to the American Red Cross.

Polo Ralph Lauren partnered with the United Way to create the chic Japan Hope Polo for both men and women. The polos range in price from $98 to $100, they come in three colors and 100% of the proceeds go toward Central Community Chest of Japan.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hunting for Fur Bargains

Our roster of spies continues to grow with the addition of ManhattanMataHari. MMH, for short, is a full time graduate student. Moving to New York ignited her passion for fashion and living on a student's budget has taught her to get the hottest designer items for a discount. She counts persistence, online and in-store reconnaissance as her greatest tools, in addition to following Madison Avenue Spy daily!

The end of winter’s wrath and the onset of spring signals a favorite time of year for New Yorkers -– end of season sales. Warmer days are the perfect time to invest in that fur coat you have been pining overall winter long. In order to find the best discounts, we did a survey of local department stores and firmly believe that Bloomingdales (with the upcoming friends and family discount) is the best place to score a fur for a fraction of its November price.



Here is an overview of the discounts being offered on fur at all our local department stores:

At Bergdorf Goodman, exclusive furrier J. Mendel is having markdowns of 50% on regular minks, 40% off sheared mink, and 30% off other styles. A sales associate confirmed this is the final discount on the ultra luxurious designer and there will be no further markdowns.

Saks Fifth Avenue’s fur salon is having a department wide 30% off sale. The salon has a large selection of various styles in stock and no further discounts planned.

Macy’s furs currently range from 30% to 60% off. In addition, Macy’s cardholders can use a 15% to 20% off coupon that can be applied on top of the current markdowns.

If you really want to snag a great deal, then the Bloomingdale’s Maximilian fur salon is your destination. The fur salon is tempting customers with markdowns on many classic furs that range from 55% to 80%. Naturally, more unique designs tend to have the greatest markdowns. A sales associate confirmed these are the lowest markdowns and the salon will be participating in friends and family, which can save customers an additional 20% off clearance prices.

Bloomingdale's is already allowing customers to presale their purchases. Now is the time to start your search for the perfect new fur coat at department stores while both the selection and markdowns are at their best!

Blair Waldorf doesn't go anywhere without her Lady Dior bag. Neither should you. Score yours for just pennies today at ScoreLuxe.com. You know you love to win.

Xoxo,
Madison Avenue Girl.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Extra 30% Off J. Crew Clearance

J. Crew is sweeping out its oldest stock by offering custmers and additional 30% off clearance items. The restrictions say that the additional discount is online only with the code LOVEIT. Even so, we have found that store managers are often happy to extend the same shopping incentives.



While shopping online we found a gold cuff bracelet trimmed with reinstones, which looked a lot like a cuff we saw at Tom Ford. The final price is just $30 and you can bet the Tom Ford version was many multples more. Adding a playful hair accessory to little girl's birthday gift is always appreciated. This bedazzled headband is now just about $9 from $14.50. A cashmere cardigain is the perfect topper to keep out the early spring chill. Here is a great navy one that comes out to about $90 from $168. This simple waredrobe staple can become a total homerun if you sawp out the buttons with a more personalized punctuation.

Just be mindful, these deals are tempting but all sales are final. That means that if the sweater might not fit, don't buy it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bloomingdales Friends & Family

Bloomingdales friends and family will begin Wednesday, March 30 and run through Saturday, April 2. It's been a while sine we've had a good friends and family sale but we're not sure if this sale really counts as good. The discount is 20% but almost all luxury brands and cosmetics are excluded.

Online shoppers can use the code BFRIENDS and stack an additional 10% off by registering your email address. When shopping in the store we suggest calling for a manager to arrange for the same additional discount. Presale is already underway in stores.



Instead of listing all the excluded brands we thought our readers might be better served if we listed items they could consider purchasing with the discount. If you so desire, you can get Tory Burch ballet flats, Tom Ford sunglasses, Burberry accessories and clothing, Frette linens and luxury housewares.

Saks F&F usually towards the end of April and we expect the discount to be 20% off merchandise and 10% off cosmetics. Manolo, Chanel, Prada, Gucci and Louboutin are always excluded at Saks too. However, we are hoping to bribe someone to allow us to use the discount on Lanvin.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

True Love: TAG Tumi Luggage

Think of how much thought you put into what goes into your luggage: shoes with personality, bags that have their own iconic names and jewelry that speaks of generations past. It's impossible to imagine all that thought going into a big black box that needs a little red string to differentiate itself from the other four million people fly on commercial airlines worldwide each day.

Does that make sense? We don't think so either and it must stop immediately. This month, Tumi teamed up with famed NYC graffiti artist John "Crash" Matos to create a limited edition luggage collection that literally catches the eye. The Tumi TAG line, is a limited run of just four sizes of travel bags and an iPhone cover. There are only 1000 pieces in each size, which are all individually numbered.



Prices range from $445 for carry-ons to $595 for the extended travel case. The iPhone cover is $45. The bags are available online and in Tumi stores.

If you are a real Crash fan, you can bid on the original piece of art, which is being auctioned off to benefit ACRIA or AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. The current bid for the untitled piece sprayed on canvas is $10,000 but we expect the price will rise considerably by the end of the auction on Tuesday, April 5. You can click here to track the auction and place your bid now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Big Score

Sometimes shopping is a game, while other times it's a sport. The new online penny auction, ScoreLuxe.com brings the two together. ScoreLuxe.com brings out the fieriness in shoppers by making some of the hottest goods on the luxury market available at a fraction of their retail price.

For instance, just yesterday, the website auctioned off an iPad2 for just 90-cents! Could you imagine? To purchase an iPad2 at full price, you'll need to wake up at the crack of down and keep your fingers crossed that the stock outlives the line at the Apple Store. Get this, the winner could even select from black or white. Touchdown!



So this is how it works: First you register for free at Scoreluxe.com. Next you purchase your desired amount of bids for just 99-cents each. Once you set your eye on an item, you start bidding. Don't forget to watch the clock and keep bidding. Be the last one to bid when the clock strikes 0:00 and you're the winner. Grand slam!

This week, ScoreLuxe.com is auctioning off a large Louis Vuitton duffle bag and $100 gift cards to Bloomingdales, Saks, Burberry and Restoration Hardware. How nice would it be to walk away with $100 gift card for just pennies? We would say it would feel better than a whole-in-one!

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Where to Get Hermés Bags NOW!

Madison Avenue Spy is very excited to introduce our newest contributing spy, "TJ Kennedy." TJ Kennedy is a college student with a keen eye for style and passion for a good deal. She admits to being obsessed and consumed with the fashion industry for as long as she could remember and she continues to draw from the excitement daily. "There is always something new to discover here, new shops to find and great deals to share," she says.

Please give TJ Kennedy a warm Madison Avenue welcome and that doesn't mean the cold shoulder!


Hermés fans are unanimously disappointed with this season's sample sale but that doesn't mean all hope is lost if you're counting on snagging a Birkin or Kelly bag now. While Hermés fans were waiting in the sleet for hours, we did some investigating and found that the most impressive Hermés selection can be found at the consignment store, Fisch for the Hip.

The Chelsea store is continuously stocked with at least 15 to 20 Birkin bags, which are available in wide array of colors and sizes. This is undeniably the ultimate Hermés hookup! Fitch from the Hip may not offer significant discounts but instead caters to the customer who wants her bag now.



For this reason, most bags range from 30-40 cm (35cm being the most popular) and are priced about $10,000. All colors are the same price too. So whether you’re craving classic black, sultry red, or forest green, they’ve got you covered. Some bags are even brand new with plastic still covering the hardware.

If you’re feeling extra extravagant, they even have a couple of exotic crocodile bags for a cool $42,000. If they don’t have the exact object you long for, the store will do their best to satisfy your Hermés desire through their personal Hermés network of dealers.

More of a Kelly bag type of girl? These bags range in price from $5,000 to $7,000, depending on if it’s new or vintage. There are currently five available-- mostly in dark colors, like deep red. Other small leather goods were also available along with three watches and a few enamel bracelets starting at $300 each. Of course, you can’t have an Hermés outpost without an assortment of signature scarves, which sell for $200 to $300 along with some men’s ties. (Remember, the scarves at the Hermés sale are $250!) There is even a blue plaid Hermés dog coat fit for a princess Toy Poodle.

In our opinion, the Hermes experience doesn't include standing in the freezing rain, snow and sleet for hours. If you're looking for a fast Hermés fix, skip the sample sale and head to Fisch for the Hip!

Fisch for the Hip
Open Mon-Sat 12pm-7pm; Sun 12pm-6pm
153 W. 18th St #1 between Sixth and Seventh Avenues

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hermès Sale VIP Review

The Hermès sale doesn't officially start until tomorrow but press and VIPs were given a head start today. Our spies report that the sale was the most quite it's ever been. By noon there were not more than five press guests floating around the sale and VIP ticket holders given entrance at two hours early.

Our veteran sale spies summarize that this was the most lack luster sale yet. There were absolutely no leather goods. Not a single leather bag, no wallets, no key chains, not even a bookmark. Wait, there was a ... leather game mat. Great, right?

The best find of the day was a fabric Picotin (feed-style bag) with leather trim for $937. The only catch was that there were only five! The larger size was $1237 but there weren't many of those either. Shoppers were fawning over an Hermès travel bag with the Evelyn logo. Our resident expert says, "I never even saw the bag in a store. It looked like something you might find on BlueFly.com."

As Hermès shoppers might expect, there were Garden Party style canvas bags but only the mini mini size. They were priced at $800 and $900. Hermès addicts reminisce about the sale's good old days where these preppy style bags can be picked up for about $400.

Moving on to gloves-- there were only about 15 pair, which ranged in price from $200 to $400. As usual, scarves and ties were plentiful and were $250 and $110, respectively. Shoppers may be able to find a small stash of belts but they were not very discounted and not desirable styles. In addition, there was a small assortment of leather and enamel bracelets, which were 50% off.

In the shoe department, the selection was pretty pitiful, according to our spies. Boots were all still over $1000 and there weren't many great looking shoes. Ready-to-wear was also still not discounted enough for our Hermès bargain shoppers. Over in housewares, shoppers can find lots of crystal but glasses were still close to $300 each. There was also select pieces of china and a small assortment of beach towels.

Everyone was in agreement that this was the most disappointing Hermès sample sale yet. Before heading out to the public sale, we suggest looking out the window and checking the weather forecast. With discounts and selections this slim, we would suggest heading to Madison and spending full price for the item and style you love.

Hermes Sample Sale
Wednesday, March 23 to Sunday, March 27
Wed 9am to 6pm, Thurs 9am to 8pm, Fri to Sat 9am to 6pm, Sun 1pm to 5pm.
Soffer Haskin, 317 W. 33rd St between Eighth and Ninth Avenues

Monday, March 21, 2011

Heidi Weisel Sample Sale

Heidi Weisel, who has elegantly dressed a gaggle of celebrities ranging from Oprah to Jenny McCarthy, is hosting a sample sale where everything will be 80% to 90% off retail prices.

The catch is that there are only 300 pieces from the collection, which can be found at high end stores like Barney's and Neiman Marcus. In addition, sizes are truly sample size and range from just 2s to 6s.



Customers who aren't eliminated by these restrictions can really capitalize on great prices. We are told that a cashmere gown with fox cuffs will be $400 from $3000, an embroidered cashmere wrap will be $125 from $675 and a crepe dress with chiffon ruffles will be $350 from almost $3000.

See ladies, these are the cases when a trainer really pays off. Look at the savings you can get from falling into the size two to six category. We're hitting the treadmill... now!

Heidi Weisel Sample Sale
Tuesday, March 22 to Saturday, March 26
11am to 6pm
420 W. 14th St (Btwn Ninth Ave and Washington St)
212-675-5205

Dannijo Sample Sale

This week one of our favorite fashion jewelry designers, Dannijo is hosting a sample sale at their showroom. Prices are expected to start at $10 but we can't imagine what that would be. We imagine that most jewelry will range from 50% to 70% off retail.



If you're not inclined to cab over to the Meatpacking District, we suggest you hit the Dannijo website where there is a small selection of sample sale items on the company's online store. We found great a Swarovski crystal and chain cuff for $178 from $438, dazzling rhinestone cluster earrings for $138 from $320 and an elaborate necklace for $298 from $795.

Just keep in mind that this online promotion is final sale. So even if the deals are good, there are no backsides.

Dannijo Sample Sale
Tuesday, March 22 from 10am to 7:30pm
423 W. 14th St @ Washington St.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

David Yurman Sample Sale

The Hermes sale is later this week but women looking for real gems are going to want to check out the David Yurman sample sale. At past sample sales the discount has ranged from 30% to 70% off. We expect the markdown to be about the same this season.

This sample sale is often a big deal with David Yuman fans because most department store discounts exclude the jewelry designers' merchandise. You can expect to find 30% off silver, 40% off gold and a few cases cases of items for 60% and 70% off. The sample sale does contain some sunglasses and children's jewelry at a 50% discount, but not very much.



For the same discount you can shop the David Yurman outlet at Woodburry Commons and avoid the hour line to check out. If you are adverse to leaving the city and waiting on lines, we suggest waiting until for the initial rush to pass. Items are usually restocked throughout the sale.

David Yurman Sample Sale
Thursday, March 24 to Sunday, March 28
Thurs 3pm to 8pm, Fri & Sat 10am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 5pm
The Altman Building, 135 West 18th Street

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Filene's Missoni and D&G Steals

Spring merchandise has been in department stores for several weeks now but this month is when the discounters start receiving the best selections of the season. Our first stop was Filene's Basement on the Upper West Side. The store is usually an excellent source for discount Missoni and D&G and this season was no different.

On the Missoni racks we found lots of gowns ranging from $299 to $599. Peseant cut Missoni print tops ranged from $100 to $200 with original prices ranging from $400 to $600 and heavier weight knit dresses were $199 with an original price of $500.



Over in the D&G neck of the woods, we spotted a gown that we saw at Century 21 last season. Priced at $1700 at Century 21 then reduced to $600 during their end-of-season clearance sale, that same gown is a steal at Filene's at just $399. (The full retail price of the D&G gown was quoted as $4200 on the tag at Century 21 but $5200 on the tag at Filene's??!!)

Moving past gowns, the Filene's D&G collection appears to be mainly from the Spring 2009 RTW collection that was heavily weighted with nautical themed designs. A light weight tweed jacket is $200 from a suggested retail price of $575 and a sequined top is $199 from $1035.

Even though these prices are amazing, they do get better. Filene's is known for their great markdowns with an extra 50% to 75% off. If there's an item you really like now, however, the prices are truly good enough not to worry.

One more suggestion: Although we found a lot of great items on the Upper West Side, true bargain shoppers should head to Union Square where the selection and brand assortment is several times larger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gap Family Give Get

For four days you can use the below coupon to save 30% at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and their corresponding outlet stores. The promotion can be used in stores from March 17 to March 20. What's even nicer? 5% of what you spend will be donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.



We've been a long time fan of Gap's 1969 jeans but feel the company may be confusing customers with their marketing of the boyfriend jean and then the skinny cropped jean. Maybe shoppers are looking for more choices. Over at Banana Republic, we wish the brand would beef up the jewelry selection and start to follow the stylish example of J. Crew. It can't be that hard, or can it?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lauren Merkin Sample Sale

Not every occasion calls for a super expensive, over-the-top, statement accessory. From time to time it's nice to make a purchase that makes you feel good, look good and doesn't empty your wallet. The Lauren Merkin sample sale is a perfect example of a feel-good low-key purchase.



Lauren Merkin handbags, clutches and accessories will all be priced up to 70% off. A very pretty snake textured peach shoulder bag will be $150 from $325, a rainbow colored hobo will be $150 from $425 and small leather goods will start at just $15. How can you turn up your nose at that?

Lauren Merkin Sample Sale
Tuesday, March 15 to Saturday, March 20
Tues to Friday 11am to 7pm, Sat 11am to 4pm
231 West 29th Street (Btwn 7th & 8th Avenues)
212-239-2459
Cash and Credit Cards Only

Sunday, March 13, 2011

TJ Maxx Runway Collection

For the longest time we thought of TJ Maxx as a resource for discount Apple accessories and children's story books. It wasn't until a recent trip to Miami that we fell upon a treasure trove of designer discount merchandise. We found Fendi and Valentino bags, Prada shoes and Missoni knit sweaters.

We knew we needed to the bottom of the mysterious uber-designer TJ Maxx finds. After a few phone calls we were connected with Sonya Cosentini, a style expert for the discount chain. Turns out the story is much like stores' commercials: There's a designer with overstock merchandise or returns and TJ Maxx is there to snatch up the off-the-runway looks at a fraction of their retail price.

What we witnessed in Miami, however, was different than the Juicy Couture and Eli Tahari we find at most of TJ Maxx stores. There was an entire luxury department delineated by purple and black signage within a department called Runway. According to Sonya, there are only 50 TJ Maxx stores with Runway departments in the country.



With in Manhattan, the Columbus Village TJ Maxx (at Columbus and 101st Street) is the only location that has a specific designer Runway department. Sonya adds that all TJ Maxx stores do have an assortment of designer labels and don't have the department broken out because of space constraints. "You have to be on the lookout for merchandise with black and purple tags that are dispersed throughout the entire store," she says.

In the name of "research" we made a few calls to TJ Maxx stores with runway collections. We couldn't believe what we were able to find: a Bottega Veneta overnight bag for $1200, a Helmut Lange tank for $40, Prada and Manolo shoes for $200, Fendi totes for $800 and a Valentino bag for $700.

Going forward, we are going to spend a lot less time playing with the Apple accessories at TJ Maxx and a lot more time searching out purple tags. Have you found any interesting merchandise while shopping at TJ Maxx. Tell everyone about your finds in the comment section below. We can't wait to drool!

Feeling as lucky as the Irish? ScoreLuxe.com is auctioning a fabulous classic Chanel wallet today. Be sure to check it out right away because you could end up scoring this beauty for just pennies.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Retail Therapy: Shoshanna Gruss

Shoshanna Gruss is as native to Madison Avenue as spring tulips are to Park Avenue. Her uptown taste, urban savvy and local sensibility have all contributed to the designer's successful clothing, swim and jewelry lines.

As a lover of fashion, Shoshanna is always on the lookout for a great deal but always stays true to her core belief that fit comes first. When she started her namesake clothing line she recalls, "I found that there were not any wearable, beautiful clothes out there for someone with my body type. I could never find a halter dress or strapless top that offered support for women who usually need to wear a bra. That experience inspired me to create the pieces that make up the core of my collection."

In her most recent venture, Shoshanna is bringing her East Side look to QVC in the form of a jewelry line. The collection is versatile yet bold and is all very reasonably priced. Check out this aqua cabochon and crystal necklace for $99. Can you think of a better way to accessorize a plain white tee?

Below Shoshanna shares her prized wardrobe items along with a few heart breakers. Read below to find the full scoop and let us know what you think.



What's your most prized deal?
I’m not sure if it was really a deal so to say, but my best purchase was a pair of black patent leather platform Christian Louboutins. At the time I didn’t really think that I needed them and almost didn’t buy them, but ended up getting them and they instantly became my go to pair of shoes and I continue to wear them all the time!

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
I once saw the most beautiful Oscar De La Renta dress. It was 70% off and my exact size. I saw it on the runway, and LOVED it. I almost bought it, but then thought, when will I wear this gorgeous, huge, and still very expensive dress? The answer came a few weeks later when I got the invitation to a VERY black tie wedding. Alas, the dress was sold. I think about it all the time.

This season you are looking for...
A great new fun and colorful bag for the summer! For a while I think that some of the bags being shown on the runway were either too big or too small, and recently I have noticed they have went back to a very manageable size. Something that I can throw more than just a lipstick and my phone in, but something that isn’t a suitcase.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Know your own body, what looks good on your best friend, may not always work for you. Once you find a flattering silhouette that you like, stick to it and continue to personalize your look with accessories!



What's your biggest weakness?
Shoes! I think that the right pair of shoes can change your outfit completely. I am also rather petite, and shoes over the past few years have reached a whole new level in terms of height, so for me the higher the better!!

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
A great coat! When it comes to quality in outwear, you should never skimp. I think it is important to do your research and find something truly amazing that you can keep forever and pull out years from now. They are like a good watch, timeless and something you will always need.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coco Chanel by Man Ray

Sometimes buying a Chanel bag, shoes, coat or sunglasses just isn't enough. Why not have a legitimate piece of the "real" Chanel?

Well, now you can be inspired by the woman behind the fashion. Christies is auctioning the most exquisite photograph of Coco Chanel by Man Ray. This piece is quite dramatic and trumps almost any piece of fashion.



Man Ray, is considered a modern master. He is credited for bringing some of the most avant-garde art movements to the US. In addition, Man Ray was a famed fashion photographer and shot for Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair.

Lot 311 goes live in Paris from March 29 to March 31. Bids are accepted on the Christies website, here. The estimated price for Coco is between $559 to $977. Don't you think a bit of Coco art is worth more than ballet flats or a faux strand of pearls? Well, we do too!

Freelance Spies Wanted: Mad-Spy's Shopping Squad

Are you the type of shopper who instinctively knows to head to the back of the store, down the stairs or into the side room for the best deals? Do you feel as home in Hermes as you do in H&M? Are you ready to share your shopping secrets with the rest of the world?



If the answers are yes to all these questions, and you have a knack for writing, then Madison Avenue Spy needs you to join our growing bureau of roaming spies. Please send us an email with your resume, writing samples and your best shopping secret.

The hardest part is picking your personal spy name, of course!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Spring Sale

Memorial Sloan-Kettering is kicking off the season with their annual "Celebrate Spring" sale. The Third Avenue thrift shop is a local destination for luxury treasures and the spring sale is usually the cream of the crop.



Starting Wednesday, shoppers will be greeted with a full stock of designer castoffs including, bags and shoes from Manolo Blanik, Jimmy Choo, Prada and Gucci. All will range in price from $100 to $175. Hermes shirts and sweaters will be priced from $120 to $175 and scarves will be just $185. Now those are prices that can't be found on eBay or at sample sales.

There's one hitch, of course. This sale isn't such a deep rooted secret. The great prices and wide variety of luxury products attracts dealers and hoarders who line up at the crack of dawn. We suggest skipping the initial long lines and popping in towards the end of the sale. After all, one woman's junk is another's treasure.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop
Wednesday, March 9 to Saturday, March 12
Wed 10am to 7pm, Thurs & Fri 10am to 5:30pm, Sat 11am to 5pm
1440 Third Avenue (btw 81st & 82nd streets)
212-535-1250

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Now Open: Brooks Brothers, Frey Wille and ... Michael Kors

This has been a busy week on Madison Avenue. So far Brooks Brothers and Frey Wille officially opened shop. Michael Kors on the other hand, looks as if it's movements away from pulling the butcher tape off the front doors.

Brooks Brothers, which opened early last week, took over the space formally occupied by Bolton's, at Madison at 86th Street. The 3,000-sq-ft location carries the brand's signature men's collection but is banking on drawing the family oriented customer to it's revamped fleece line and boys and girls clothing.



Frey Wille, which should not be confused with Free Willy, is best known for their enameled bracelets. The Austrian brand has taken the space that previously housed Furla, at Madison and 64th. Frey Wille is not a newcomer to luxury and has more than 80 free standing stores around the world. It will be interesting to see how the jewellery company educates and entices the Madison Avenue customer to their $1000+ bangles. Historically, Hermes is the go-to brand for enamel bracelets.

The biggest Madison Avenue debut--which seems to be just days away -- will be Michael Kors. This weekend, we spotted employees carefully putting the final touches on in-store and window displays. The new store is located at 790 Madison Avenue, the Southwest Corner of Madison Avenue and 67th Street. The 4000-sq-ft location was formerly occupied by Ungaro and features two floors of selling pace, plus a finished lower level.

Michael Kors already has two stores on Madison, one at one at 77th and another at 60th. We hear that this grand space will serve as a Michael Kors emporium and sell merchandise from all lines ranging from Michael Kors Collection to MK.

With all these new store openings one has to wonder which retailer Cintra Wilson will hit first for her New York Time's column. We are placing our bets on MK. What do you think?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hermès Boutique Sale

How many times has an Hermès sales person told you that the boutiques never have sales? Countless, right? Aren't you glad you know better.

The Hermès store at the Shops at Riverside, in Hackensack, NJ is hosting a sale where ready-to-wear, shoes, hats and gloves are 40% to 60% off. (Bags, small leather goods, belts, jewelry, scarves, ties, etc. are not included in the markdown.) Move quickly, because the sale runs just until Saturday.



Last year, we found high-heel platform lizard sandals that were reduced from $2350 to $1410, black patent leather flats with a silver "Kelly" buckle were $388 from $970 and suede high boots were $710 from $1775. In the ready-to-wear department we spotted a silk trench coat that for $2920 from $7300, a $10,600 cashmere coat with a mink collar was marked down to $4240, a heavy brandy wool winter scarf was $573 from $895, a $345 rain hat with an orange lining was reduced to $207 and a bright orange knit cap with darker Hs was $177.

The best part of the sale, however, was the helpful staff and civilized high service Hermès environment. Try getting that at Soiffer Haskin.

Speaking of which... the Hermès sample sale extravaganza at Soiffer Haskin (Soiffer Haskin, 317 W. 33rd St.) will run from Wednesday, March 23 to Sunday, March 27. This week, well connected Hermès customers received invitations to the VIP sales day that will take place on Tuesday, March 22. If you're not a VIP, it pays to become friendly with a sales person- like now!


Contact: Manny 201 -487-1111
The Shops at Riverside

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Petit Bateau Warehouse Sale

It’s time to get our heads out of the snow and start to smell the Park Avenue tulips. March is here and warm days are not too far away. It’s almost Spring!

In order to help us along, Petit Bateau is hosting a huge sample sale of spring merchandise. Prices will be from 50% to 60% off retail and we hear that the warehouse is stocked with a rainbow of stripped cotton classics. In addition to the standard kiddy collection there is a large assortment of candy colored adult tees, which are simply the best.



Don’t wait too long if you’re looking to stock up on the beloved French cotton. Just like March, this pop-up sale is coming in like a lion and will be gone like a lamb.

Petit Bateau Warehouse Sale
524 Hudson Street (between 10th & Charles)
March 3 to April 30
Mon- Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat 10 to 5, Sun 11 to 5
Cash and credit cards only

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