Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Your New Year's Eve Plans

It's quite easy to find the perfect party outfit now that sales are dropping faster than the Swarovski ball. Sequins at 70% off are more abundant than confetti in Times Square. Making the perfect end-of-year celebratory plans may not be so simple. Actually, celebrating the end of 2011 may cost you more than a pair of Chanel heels-- and that would be at full price.



The Price Hike, a blog that monitors the prices at high-end restaurant, recently posted about the real cost of dining on New Year's Eve. The "real cost" is calculated by adding the price of tax and a 20% tip to the cost of a tasting menu. Would you believe that the real cost of dinner for two at Eleven Madison Park on New Year's is $1482. That's $1160 more than the price a couple would pay on any other night throughout the year.

Yes, Eleven Madison Park, is offering an amazing menu. According to the expert blogger there will be one course of white truffles, two courses of black truffles, foie gras, lobster, black sturgeon caviar, and many more freebies. Still it's a whole lot of money. No matter how you choose to celebrate your New Year's, we suggest checking out The Price Hike's analysis and making the same calculations before you confirm your reservations. Dinner or a new pair of Chanel pumps? Hmmm. We'll take both!

Happy New Year!!!

Image credit: The Price Hike

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reed Krakoff Second Markdown

Reed Krakoff boutique has taken a second markdown on their winter collection. Bags, shoes, clothing and small leather goods are 60% off retail.

While browsing through the boutique we found the classic boxer tote with a shearling front for $596 from $1490, a perfect-for-New-Years python and chainmail dress for $2796 from $6990 and suede ankle boots for $290 from $725. If you're still looking for last minute holiday gifts you might want to consider grabbing the RK Ribbon wallet, which is just $116 from $290.



Although most Reed Krakoff shoppers favor the leather goods we think that the clothing is really underestimated. Pieces like a fine wool wrap skirt are a true value at just $236 (from $590). So the moral of this story is look at the bags but buy the cloths!

Contact: Manny 212-988-0560

Monday, December 26, 2011

Shopping at Woodbury Common

While some are celebrating 12-days of Christmas, we are still scouting out the best post-season shopping. Since we have already scoured our neighborhood and the vicinity, we thought we would take a little road trip to see what deals can be found at the outlets.

At the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets the deals are about the same as they have been throughout the month of December. Many sales associates say that the merchandise has been pretty well picked over. And then there are the crowds. If you're looking for a more sane shopping experience, local experts suggest waiting to at least mid-week to head North. The next big outlet markdown will come during President's weekend. In the meantime, this is what we found.

Bottega Veneta
Select bags an additional 50% off and clothing is an extra 80% off. Sizes on clothing are running low and the bags with the highest discount are not the most desirable styles.
845-928-4563

Chloe
Merchandise is selling very quickly, which means there isn't a lot to pull at your heart strings about. There is a Sally clutch looking for a good home but there is no additional markdown on current style bags. On older style merchandise you can save an additional 20% off outlet prices. Winter merchandise is now 80% off retail and new spring preview is an additional 20% off outlet prices.
845-928-6260



Dior
There are no additional markdowns in the outlet store but that may be the reason why there is a healthy selection of bags and shoes. Clothing sizes are starting to run low but next month new winter merchandise will arrive.
845-928-4602

Dolce & Gabbana
Right now there is an extra 30% off fall 2010 inventory and 60% off older merchandise. There are still some nice items but sizes are running low and the store is very crowded.
845-928-5221

Etro
The iconic paisley print emporium is now offering customers an extra 50% off outlet prices for a total saving of about 75% off. Men's merchandise is starting to run low but the women's selection is still plentiful. Check back over Presidents weekend for additional markdowns.
845-928-9256

Ferragamo
The outlet is offering an extra 50% off their normal discount for a total saving of about 75% off retail. Men's merchandise is running low but the women's selection is still stocked. An additional discount will be taken over Presidents weekend.
845-928-7116

Giuseppe Zanotti
As usual, there is a great deal of sample size 7 shoes. In addition, there is a section of shoes that are marked down up to 75% off retail. Sizes of these shoes are most abundant in larger sizes. Overall, the word is that it's been pretty well shopped over.
845-928-4828

Prada
The Prada outlet has really locked down their discount policy. Right now the markdown is just 30% to 40% off retail prices. We are told that there are only additional discounts in November and June. We suggest skipping this crowded outlet store and keeping an eye on the boutique sale, which is poised for another discount later this month.
845-928-7415

YSL
There are no additional promotions going on right now. All prices are 30% to 50% off retail. The big discount will come during Presidents weekend. For now, the boutiques and department stores are offering better deals. We even spotted a $1500 Roady at Saks for just $550!
845-928-2169

Lila Dishes for the NY Post

There is no arguing that this is the busiest shopping season on of the year. This year, Monday was the federal Christmas day-off, which meant that more people were free to shop December 26th sales.

The New York Post (12/26/11) dove reporting on the into what's officially known as the biggest return day.

The unusual occurrence of this year’s Sunday Christmas has most families enjoying an extra day off after yesterday’s festivities — and offers a “defining moment” for businesses eager to end the year in the black, said retail-industry expert Lila Delilah.

“Dec. 26 is way better than Black Friday,” said Delilah, founder of Madison Avenue Spy, a shopping blog. “Dec. 26 is to move merchandise. It’s do-or-die for the merchants . . . They close the books and have to answer to their shareholders.”
Earlier this week, The New York Post (12/23/11) credited your favorite deal catcher with finding the best of 11th-hour pre-Christmas bargains.
From Macy’s to Saks to Modell’s, prices are being slashed on every kind of gift that can fit in Santa’s sleigh.

Deal blogger Lila Delilah at MadisonAvenueSpy.com has been keeping an eye on the best deals — and may have gotten one of the biggest bargains at The Gap, where she got some kids’ gloves for 75 percent off.

“They had gloves, children’s mittens, for $20 and I got them for $5,” she said. High-end stores in the fashionable shopping areas of Midtown and the Upper East Side were also boasting big bargains.

At Yves Saint Laurent, prices were down 40 percent. At Bloomingdale’s, shoppers were finding prices cut by 25 to 50 percent.

At Salvatore Ferragamo, $760 men’s dress-leather zip boots were marked down to $494.

While you were preparing for the big holidays the New York Post (12/18/11) took a closer look at the typical mall stores that have opened on Fifth Avenue.  Forever 21, Uniqlo, Hollister, and H&M have all opened flagships on the avenue that is better known for $2000 blouses than $20 shirts.
“I thought we got rid of Disney and the NBA Store, and we were going to get some grand, luxury emporium,” sniffs Lila Delilah, the Upper East Side blogger behind shopping site Madison Avenue Spy. “Things were looking up. And all of a sudden, it was Hollister and Uniqlo. It’s mystifying. The walk from Bergdorf to Saks used to be a dazzling window shopping experience, and now I find it a little more like the new 42nd Street.”Most experts believe that Fifth Avenue's transition to a destination of high-low shopping is a good thing. After all, shoppers are increasingly matching their J.Crew tee with their Armani suits. Do you agree?

Read more:  Christmas' Happy Return$Sales Jingle All the Way and Taking the Fifth.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Saks After Holiday Sale

If we had just one store to shop in on December 26th, we would choose Saks Fifth Avenue. Every year the store hosts an early hour doorbuster/ shopping event where additional discounts bring the total markdown to about 70% off.

The sale usually only lasts until noon and the crowds can be vicious. We suggest shopping on Friday and Saturday and finding a helpful sales person to pre-sale your items. This is one way to avoid the chaos and enjoy the extra savings.



P.S. Saks closes at 6pm on Christmas Eve but those last shopping hours are always thrilling and create wonderful holiday memories.

Happy Holidays!!!

Barney's Scrambling to Fill Custmer Orders

When we posted about Barney's second markdown, we also warned  warned online shoppers that orders on popular items are often canceled. Going to the store is virtually the only way to guarantee you get your purchase.

Even without having a crystal ball we were pretty accurate about the future for online shoppers. According to Racked, the luxury department store emailed customers' that their orders were canceled and that they would not be receiving their purchases.



While doing some last minute holiday shopping we spied dozens of "corporate" employees scurrying throughout the store to pull product to fulfill online orders. We questioned a well-intentioned employee who told us that skinny on Barney's antiquated inventory and fulfilment system.

There is warehouse that houses all the products you see online, our source explained. However, there is only one inventory system and when the warehouse runs out of an item the product is pulled from the shelves of the Madison Avenue Barneys. The problem is that in-store shoppers often purchase the item before it actually gets pulled for the web order. In these instances the online shopper loses out.

For now, we overheard that Barneys was offering disappointed online shoppers $100 gift cards and personal shopping assistance to pick alternative holiday gifts. We think that everyone would be much happier if Barneys spent a little less time creating Gaga installations and updated their technology infrastructures to, lets say... 2009!

Photo: A bag of shoes being pulled from the shelves for online shoppers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gift Ideas: Last Minute Heat is On

It's just days before Christmas and the heat is on high to find the perfect gift for those hard-shop-for loved ones and familial obligations. Don't worry, we have ideas for your catty sister-in-law and your cheap cousin.

While shopping the on the first floor of ABC Carpet & Home we came across the most beautiful glass bracelets. When we looked close we couldn't believe that they were only $2 each. We suggest buying an assortment but even five are nice gift and come in a pretty wrapped box. This should leave a few dollars left over so that you can get one of those color reform rugs hanging in the front of the store.



We love the irony of fashioning your catty sister-in-law in Norma Kamali cat eye glasses. The cool shades are on sale for $75 from $250. Just imagine yourself laughing every time you see her wearing them. Now, that's priceless.

Deborah Lippman sparkle polishes are the perfect gift to get your loved one or family friend a head start on the new year celebrations. The three pack of polish includes Happy Birthday, which is a confetti explosion of sparkle, along with sparkle pink or sparkle black. The pack is $42 at Neiman Marcus.

Fifth Avenue and 57th Street

We've already scoured Madison Avenue and the Meatpacking District for great deals. The next logical stop is a virtual tour along Fifth Avenue and across 57th Street. Highlights include a markdown at Dior, which is very much under wraps and the sad news that there will be no future Ferragamo warehouse sales. Shall we take a moment to morn? Ok, done.

Time to move on to the shopping:

Dior
We are told that Dior will start their sale on ready-to-wear on December 26th. Dior sales people usually aren't very forthcoming about markdowns. So it's going to be up to you to worq-it!
Jenny: 212-249-5822

Ferragamo
Men's and women's shoes, clothing and select bags are 35% off. Ferragamo used to run a second markdown after Christmas but the proliferation of outlet stores has ended that trend. We also hear that the Ferragamo warehouse sale is dunzo. You may recall news of overcrowding and police clearing the sale. Our sources say that the real chaos started when someone bit a guard...
Sal: 212-759-3822



Miu Miu
Leather goods are 30% and clothing and shoes are currently 40%. There is still a decent amount of inventory but size variations are starting to run low. We think that there will be another markdown but cooperate may decide to keep the excess inventory for their outlets.
Judith 212-249-9660

Norma Kamali
Today the boutique started a markdown of various items, which are arranged by price. There's $50 and under category, which contains an assortment of smaller items like bubble shorts, foil leggings and bikini tops. There's also the $100 and under sectuib that contains sunglasses and other assorted item. In the $200 and under category you can grab yourself a cool camo coat or gown. And of course, the $500 and "Splurge" areas will buy you some pretty cool Norma Kamali fashions. We are told that more items will likely be added to the sale section after the holidays. So be sure to check back.
Annie 212-957-9797

Yves Saint Laurent
The YSL discount is 40% off across the board. At the start of markdown season we found several pair of Tribute sandals and a few Muse bags in purple, tan and dark brown. Roady bags in gray, brown and tan were on sale too. Many of these iconic items are already gone but there are still plenty of pretty things to make a fashion lover smile. We are expecting a markdown to at least 50% after the weekend.
Danielle 212-980-2970

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Health Watch: Skiing Safty Tips

'Tis the season for overeating, gift giving and, oh yes, our favorite, vacation. Before you hit the double black dimaond, however, you might want to consider a few expert tips.


Dr. Jerry Lubliner, chief of orthopedics and sports medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center suggests, taking it easy when you first arrive at your ski destination, especially if it's your first time out for the season. "On your second day, cut your skiing down to half a day. It takes 48 hours or more to get acclimated to the thin air and altitude.  The second and third days are when fatigue sets in and many injuries occur."

It's essential that you stretch. When muscles are stiff, injuries happen, so spend at least ten minutes warming up. Pay close attention to stretching the quads and calves, which can be easily stressed on the slopes.

If you do get hurt or feel pain don't ignore it, says Dr. Lubliner, who has 27 years of experience in orthopedics. Remember the easy acronym "RICE"-- Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, but injuries like a broken bone need to be addressed immediately. 

If you are diagnosed with a ligament or meniscal tear, don't feel pressured to have surgery at your the local resort hospital. "Most injuries need time for the body to regain motion before surgery. It's best to wait 10 to 14 days for swelling to subside before heading to the operating table," Dr. Lubliner cautions.

Dr. Lubliner says that he often has patients where ski partners, spouses and friends ski into one another causing injuries that require surgery. So watch where you're skiing!

Dr. Jerry Lubliner
Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
215 E 73rd St # 1C
(212) 249-8200



Sponsored Post

Meatpacking Holiday Sales Roundup

By ManhattanMataHari 

So hopefully most of your holiday shopping is done, but for procrastinators still searching for that perfect something for their loved ones (or themselves) it is worth your while to check out the Meatpacking district.

Tory Burch
For fans of the eponymous line, Tory Burch’s sale starts tomorrow with markdowns of 30% to 50% on Fall/Winter and holiday lines. Unfortunately, no Reva flats are going on sale, but this is the perfect time to snag that pair of boots you have been coveting. Our sources tell us that all the season’s boots will be included in the markdown except for the Selma Riding Boot in tumble leather, and you can shop the sale now online.
 Madeline: (212) 929-0125

Alexander McQueen
Stop by the late designer’s Meatpacking store to score 60% savings off the fall/winter line for holiday appropriate avant-garde fashion. Expect to find gift-worthy silk scarves for $239 or cool skull bangles for $204. The hardest part is not keeping it for yourself!
Max: (212) 645-1797



Stella McCartney
Ready-to-wear for fall/winter 2011 has been marked down to 60% off retail while accessories are 40% off. While there are no classic black Falabella totes on sale, you may find luck with a tweed or duffel variety. If you’ve been really good this year, Santa might save the lone brown classic Falabella on sale for you. If you’re on the naughty list we suggest checking the online sales site which has a better selection of handbags; unfortunately none of the figure flattering “Octavia” illusion dresses on sale.
Liz: (212) 255-1556

Yigal Azrouel While their sales prices at 50% off retail may not be as cheap as their recent sample sale, the shopping experience at their Meatpacking boutique is sure to be more pleasant. Be sure to look for their Fall/Winter line including their fabulous outerwear and sweaters that will surely avoid being re-gifted.
Jennifer: (212) 929-7525

Matthew Williamson Check in for Fall/Winter 2011 finds at a 40% discount. His new edgy MW diffusion line is currently 30% off. While some stores may have a sparse selection of sizes and styles on markdown, Williamson has a huge selection of ready-to-wear and accessories on sale.
Lindsey: (212) 255-9881



Henry Beguelin If you are looking to gift quality handmade leather goods with an effortless chic-vibe, it is worth stopping by Henry Beguelin. Their fall items are discounted 30%, and any leftover summer items are 50% off retail.
Jenna: (212) 647-8415

Jeffrey No shopping excursion to Meatpacking is complete without stopping by boutique department store Jeffrey. All brands (except Alaia) fall and winter collections (including shoes) are now 40% off retail. You should head to the back of the store to shop the sale racks by size. We are still regretting passing up a lovely Chanel anorak during their last designer sale. Don’t make the same mistake!
Charles: (212) 206-1272

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gifts Ideas: For Him, Him and Him

Shopping for the men in your life--your father, husband, brother, brother's boyfriend-- is never easy. They don't usually like sparkly high heels and that's where we usually get stumped. So after some searching we came up with a couple of ideas that fit into a range of budgets and personalities.

First, we are crazy for the new concept Tasting Room. The site/company allows you to order boxes of wine samplers. For example there's a Sonoma Zinfandel sampler, a Chef Batali selection and a Tour of Napa Valley sampler. Each box contains six small bottles of wine perfect for a taste or sharing a taste. The samplers range from $20 to $50 and there are lots of promotions and online coupons that bring the price down even further.

Okay, we all know that Moncler is the urban "it" winter jacket for men, women and children but what do you do if you're looking for something a little less ubiquitous? We found Duvetica men's jackets. These high shine, fun style, jackets are made of goose down and are also reversible. We especially love the colored zippers and the ability to reverse to camo. Prices are in the similar vicinity of Moncler ($500 to $1100) but we love the fact that it's not on every Tom, Dick, Harry, Melissa and Zoe. Duvetica can be found online here and at Barneys.

Guys like sports, or so I'm told. Those shopping for guys who prefer mountain peaks to ocean crests could consider Black Diamond’s Cayenne gloves ($380). The battery-operated heating system pumps heat through the glove, so your fingers stay warm even in a freezing gondola.

If all else fails you can by your stallion a stallion. United Arab Emirates-based horse farm, Al Hawajer Stud, sells some of the world’s most beautiful Arabians. What man wouldn't go wild for a long legged exotic? The best part is that once he gets his prize horse he will learn the real meaning of high-maintenance.

New Shopping on Madison

Since January 2010, over 60 new stores, cafes and specialty shops have opened on Madison. This means that there is a bounty of new places to shop for holiday gifts. Some of the more recent highlights include Bottega Veneta, Tory Burch, Escada, Laduree and the hottest reservation in town, Crown.



After the jump you will find a full list of new stores that the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District compilied for us. We hope the new additions inspire your gift giving regardless if it's to others or oneself. Which are your favorites?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Barneys Second Markdown

Barneys is the first department store in our area to start their second markdown. Right now, fall and winter merchandise is 60% off. The sale includes small selection of Louboutin and a wide assortment of Manolos.



If you are serious about purchasing a hot item at these newly discounted prices, we suggest going to the store or at least speaking to a sales associate. The Barneys online store is famous for their unreliable inventory counts. Unfortunately, we often hear about customers' orders being cancelled several days and even weeks later.

Pucci Moving Onto Madison

It appears as if the old Yves Saint Laurent location will be occupied by another 70s fashion icon--Emilio Pucci! Yes, Pucci is moving their swirly, colorful prints from their quaint 64th Street location and spilling their cheerful colors right on 855 Madison at 71st Street.



Last year, YSL left the location after more than 41-years. This move will give the Pucci brand much higher visibility on Madison and could be seen as a possible marketing strategy change. We wouldn't be surprised if there was a collaboration in the future based on the popularity of Missoni-Target. Can anyone envision a Pucci-Target?!

In other news, Valentino has officially opened across the street from the space they occupied for more than 15 years at Madison and 65th. For a period of time the brand was running shop out of the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue. We are told that this location is only temporary.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gift Guide: An Evening Bag For Her

It's that time of year again and no, we are not talking about the holidays. We are referring to party time. Yes, your girlfriend/ sister/ mother have all enough clothing and shoes to dress a small village but she may need a little help in the evening handbag department.

For your evening starter kit, we suggest going with something small and black and classic. Intermidate-level night time gals can likely use a edgier and more interesting statement piece. For the most basic and versitle bag we suggest the Chanel East West ($2100). It will never go out of style and it's single chain allows the bag to be used as a shoulder bag or it can be tucked in to be transform into a clutch.


Gifts for the Girl in yoiur life
























If you're not looking to make such an investment, we suggest looking at this large clutch from Zara $129. It is simple, classic and has great lines.

Those who already posses the basic bags for evening can be a little more daring. How about this Alexander McQueen knuckle clutch ($1995) or this metal plate clutch ($56 from Top Shop could do the trick.

Now your woman has a proper place for her phone, lipstick and keys but you still need to take care of the entertainment!

Picks of Sale Chanel Bags and Louboutin Shoes

Yesterday we posted a photo gallery of Chanel shoes at Saks Fifth Avenue that are included in the sale. Unfortunately, the media savvy sales person pulled the pictures off the web Don't worry, we aren't going to leave you hanging.



In it's place we created a gallery of Chanel bags and Louboutin shoes that are all now 30% off at Saks Fifth Avenue. You can click here to see the full gallery.

Saks Shoes: Carlos 212-753-4000

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Roger Vivier Sample Sale Review

Beware, reading this post and going to the Roger Vivier sample sale may cost you $1000 or more. If that statement doesn't scare you, then you will be thrilled to know about the vast assortment of products at Vivier's first ever sample sale.

The Viv sale is well stocked with an incredible assortment of shoes including, classic buckle flats, elaborate heels, sandals and boots. No season was left out and no style or print is omitted. There are even in-season styles, which have the tiny square buckle. In addition, there are lots of bags, including evening clutches and larger shopping totes. There is also a small but nice assortment of small leather goods and jewelry.



The pricing of most shoes are about 50% off retail, which isn't fabulous but still a considerable savings. Most classic buckle styles are about $275. Sandals are a bit less at $220 and boots will set you back $420 to $600. Non-buckly shoes are an additional 20% off.  Bags cost between $425 for a long classic clutch to near $800 for lager bags. Near the register, you will find small accessories and jewelry, which make a fine holiday gift. Gloves are $200 and most jewelry pieces are $100. Wallets and cosmetic cases are also $200.

While each item does not seem overly expensive, it's hard not to grab a bag and at least two pair of shoes. By the time you're at the register the damage is over $1000. For others, it was several times that amount.

The sale runs through Sunday and we wouldn't be surprised if further reductions were made. If you can, restrain yourself for later in the sale. The positive side is that a portion of all the proceeds will go towards New Yorkers For Children. You wouldn't want to deprive the children, right? So, shop it up!

Roger Vivier Sale
Through Sunday, Dec 18
Thurs to Sat 9am- 6:30pm, Sun 9am-5pm
Soiffer Haskin, 317 W. 33rd St (bet 8th and 9th Ave)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pics of Saks Chanel Sale

A social media savvy sales person at Saks Fifth Avenue has posted pictures of all the Chanel shoes that have been marked down. The discount is 30% and there are lots of styles from which to choose.



You can click here to view the entire shoe gallary and contact Kristie by email here.

Which style is your favorite?

Roger Vivier Sample Sale

Roger Vivier is famous for not letting their precious square-toe shoes go at discounted prices. It's not surprising considering that the company is owned by Tod's, which is another brand that doesn't love hosting sales.



Fans of Vivier will be thrilled to learn the the brand is hosting their first sample sale at Soiffer Haskin. Shoes and handbags will be included but we are also hoping to find sunglasses and other accessories. We would love to speculate on the markdown and product assortment but it would just be a shot in the dark. Instead, we'll keep you updated and post our findings.

In the meantime we would love to hear your speculations and findings. What do you think the Vivier brand has in store for us tomorrow?

Roger Vivier Sale
Wednesday, Dec 14 through Sunday, Dec 18
Wed 10-7pm, Thurs to Sat 9am- 6:30pm, Sun 9am-5pm
Soiffer Haskin, 317 W. 33rd St (bet 8th and 9th Ave)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christian Louboutin Private Pre-Sale

By ManhattanMataHari

For those of us not lucky enough to get an invite to the Christian Louboutin sample sale, we now have the option of shopping their private pre-sale event. Fans of the iconic red-soled heels can enjoy champagne and macarons as they browse the sales merchandise.



Last year, the discount for shoes was 30% to 40% (right up there with the department store sales) and handbags were a deal at 50% off retail. Unlike the department stores the selection and sizes tend to be limited. If you want to get the best selection or wear a common shoe size be prepared to wait a bit. Avoid the mistake we made last year by going a bit before 5:30pm –- they closed the line 10 minutes after arrival and unfortunately we did not make the cut.

To get in you must RSVP to: Events.MadisonNY@ChristianLouboutin.FR

Insider Tip: Know your Louboutin sizing because it may be hard to grab a sales associate. For new Louboutin fans that means ordering up one full European size.

Christian Louboutin Private Pre-Sale
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
3pm to 6pm

DVF Sample Sale Always Fun

This morning we hit an early preview of the Diane von Furstenberg sample sale. The good news is that prices are the same as previous seasons. The bad news is that the line is already stacking up and items are selling out.

Once inside, dresses were flying, hangers were catching and women were crowding. As usual the sweaters are in the back and the $50 samples are next to the fitting room. Sale newcomers include a great selection of bags, small accessories and winter print scarves. The scarves are a bit pricey at $65 but the bags were a big hit during the press preview. Large bags are $250, small bags are $185 and wallets are $70. The nicer chain bags are already gone, unfortunately.



You're in luck if you are looking for those big fur vests, there are still plenty. In addition, there are lots of "Saks Exclusive" pieces. You may luck out if you're shopping for generic gifts. Laptop cases/ipod cases/zip wallet are $60 and iPhone covers, pencil cases, passport covers for $20. There are also some great belts but are a bit expansive at $70 each.

So here are how the rest of prices break down:
Coats $350
Gowns $275
Leather $250
Wraps and vintage $150
Dresses $125
Jackets $125
Sweaters $80
Blouses $80
Skirts $80
Pants $80
Samples $50

The crowds should continue to thin out as the week progresses. Early afternoon is probably the best time to go. We may try again on Friday when prices are historically slashed. At the end of the last sale dresses were $70, wraps were $80 and skirts were $50. Keep your fingers crossed.

DVF Sample Sale
Tuesday, December 13 through Saturday, December 16
Tues 9am to 6:30pm, Wed 10am to 8pm, Thurs 10am to 7pm, Fri 9am to 5pm, Sat 10am to 3pm
260 5th Ave. (bet. 28th & 29th St.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ippolita's Dazzling Sample Sale

Bling a bling a bling...

What woman doesn't deserve some new bling, especially when it's Ippolita? When we heard that Ippolita was hosting it's first ever sample sale, we knew we needed our Madison Avenue mom to come along for the review.

Though there is a line to get in (Ippolita provides free water bottles), shopping at this sample sale is as civilized as shopping in a boutique, especially since each customer has their very own sales person. With prices at 65% to 70% off retail, there are plenty of great deals on Ippolita's beautiful, easy to wear jewelry.

The fashion jewelry is the least expensive with resin bangles at $50 per piece (normally $275) and resin rings at $30 a piece. There is also a case of specially priced gold worth checking out. We found an elegant and soft gold long necklace with gem stones for $1200.






There is a huge selection of sterling silver. There are current sterling silver rings with gemstones, which retail for $300 and up and are 65% to 70% off at the sale. These sterling silver bangles retail for $295 each and at 65% off you can buy them for $103.25 each. They also have the same bangles in 18k gold which retail for $1795 and are $628.25 at the sale. We considered the silver, but couldn't resist the shiny 18k gold and we walked out with four of them dancing.

Designer jewelry at these prices? Go treat yourself - you deserve it.

PS Mom is still there!

Ippolita Sample Sale
Lighthouse International, 111 E. 59th St., nr. Park Ave.;
F (10–6), S (10–8), Su (noon–5).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The It-it: Maria Grachvogel

Although Maria Grachvogel is not a new designer, it is likely this is the first time you're hearing her name. My first introduction to the British fashion designer was while sorting through the racks of a designer dresses at a consignment sale. Stuck between dozens of Chanel and Valentino gowns I came upon a Grachvogel cocktail dress marked "sample."

The cut was immaculate and the colors were unapologetic. The winning combination reminded me of greats like McQueen and Matthew Williamson. Searching for more of the same, I headed to Bergodorf Goodman. Unfortunately, the trip was fruitless as nobody had heard of the London-based designer.

I immediately hit the web and have continued to be dazzled by Maria's designs, which also count Emma Thompson, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, and Victoria Beckham as her fans. Although Maria Grachovogal has a large following London, her designs can only be found on ShopBop in the States.

If you are in love with her prints as much as I am, the boutique will ship internationally. We promise you won't be disapointed!

Did we mention the winter colleciton is on sale?

Maria Grachvogel 
Contact: Stephanie +44 (0) 20 7245 9331
Prices range from about $600 for a top to $5000 for a gown

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Madison Avenue Sales Update: Chanel, Valentino & More

We are still canvasing the neighborhood looking for the best markdowns and the most wonderful selection. As the height of the holiday shopping approaches, here is what you can expect to find on our favorite avenue. New items are highlighted in bold.

Chanel
We are told that the "private sale" will begin Tuesday. If you have a good relationship with a sales person you might be able to put together a "wish list." The discount, in past seasons, has been 40% off shoes, clothing and jewelry. You're out of luck if you're looking for a leather bag. If any bags do go on sale they are usually tweed or a canvas tote. You get the idea... 
Nicole, Soho 212-334-0055

Chloe
Clothing, shoes and some handbags are now 40% off. Most of the handbags shown on the runway are on sale but the classics are not. The sale has been going for some time. We suggest making your pre-holiday purchases soon. After Christmas, the discount may go to 40%.
Incus 212-717-8220


Dolce & Gabbana
The markdown is 40% and that includes select bags, shoes and clothing from the fall and winter collections. This is the final season of D&G and you we will be keeping an eye out for blowout discounts.
Rodney 212-249-4100


Gucci
The discounts on handbags are 30%, men's and women's clothing and shoes are 50% and the kids collection is 30%. The sale started last week and can be accessed online as well as boutiques.

Jil Sander 
Clothing, shoes and bags are 40% off at Jil Sander. We are in love with this bright yellow dress ($1390 from $2780) and this tunic ($923 from $1845) is absolute.
Kendra: 212-925-2345


Lanvin
The markdown is 30% off everything, or so we were told. You can count on another discount before the season is over but the temptation might prove too much. Usually prices go to 60% off.
Anna 646-439-0380

Marni 
Clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry are now 30% off. The boutique merchandise is also available online. We love this pink deco clutch ($1082 from $1545) and this window pane jacket ($1236 from $1765).
Dana: 212-257-6907


Milly
The markdown ranges from 30% to 50% off, depending on the item. While browsing, we found a peacoat with fur trim for $696 from $995, a delicate pink merino cardigan is $206 from $295 and an enamel cuff is $110 from $225.
Kat 212-395-9100


Missoni 
The Missoni discounts range from 30% to 40% off and some merchandise is marked down 50%. The python coats collection is all 50% off but most other items are 40% off.
Paige 212-517-9339


Prada
The discount on shoes and clothing is 40%. Those iconic bi-color Mary-Jane boots are included in the markdown along with more traditional boots and booties.
Betty 212-327-4200

Valentino 
The Valentino markdown is 40% off cloths, shoes and bags. If you won't be disappointed if you like the Rockstar series. There are not many basic black bags included in the sale but burgundy is a great second choice. Hito 212-772-6969


Yves Saint Laurent
The YSL discount is 40% off across the board. There are several pair of Tribute sandals that are included in the markdown. We were also shown a few Muse bags in purple, tan and dark brown that are part of the presale. Roady bags  in gray, brown and tan are on sale too. Upstairs there is a wide collection of ready-to-wear that's ripe for the picking. If you're on the fence about an item, you can wait until after Christmas. second markdown is usually 50%.
Danielle 212-980-2970

Brunello Cucinelli Sample Sale

By ManhattanMataHari

Brunello Cucinelli is well known for their high end luxury designs and fabrics, as well as their lofty prices. At their sample sale you can save up to 60% off Italian fine cashmere. While the prices are still pretty high, you have to remember that the retail prices are significantly higher.

If you head straight into the accessories table you will find belts for as low as $100 after the discount. Keep your calculator handy as you make your way over to the shoes where sample size 37 ladies will fare best. The selection isn’t great are the prices, which are 60% off a range of $595 to $1000.



We suggest skipping the exorbitantly priced handbags and going straight to the bottoms, which are the best deals. Most of the skirts and slack are discounted to about $295, which really isn't bad considering normal Cucinelli prices. Most of the skirt sizes are a sample size 42, but there is a larger variety of sizes for slacks ranging up to size 48. Smaller sized women will have a much tougher time finding sizes.

Moving on to the star of Cucinelli-- cashmere sweaters. We are sad to say that the selection for women is quite small but if might not walk away disappointed if you're shopping for a man. Most of the cashmere are 60% off the normal range of $800 to $2300.

We also found a nice selection of wool and cashmere blend coats but they are still pricey even with the 60% discount. The retail prices in this section seemed to range from $2730 to $4140. See? Still a lot.
If you have your heart set on finding a good deal here. we suggest waiting until the last day of the sale. Further reductions are expected and should range in the 70% to 80% range. And before you leave, don’t forget catch a glimpse of the $15,000 fur vests at the register. At 80% off, one might end up being an early holiday gift to yourself!


Brunello Cucinelli Sample Sale
Until Friday, December 9th
 9am to 5pm daily
150 E. 58th Street, 3rd Floor, (b/w Lexington & 3rd)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fabulous Fur Sale

The Rockettes are kicking and and the Fifth Avenue snowflake is hung, which means winter season is upon us and the cold is here to stay. When it comes to winter there's no better option than fur. Either faux or real you have to look stylish and stay warm. 


 Starting Wednesday, you can get a jump-start on winter chic and save a bundle at the Cassin, sherry cassin and Jocelyn sample sale. The three-day sample sale will include a variety of luxury furs and outerwear, including rainwear and faux fur at 80% off. Jocelyn fur trim sweaters will be priced at $80 and fur vests will be $275. You can also find a Cassin blue iris woven mink hat for $250 and sherry cassin raccoon vest for $425 from $850. The bride-to-be will be excited to find cover ups in mink, fox, rabbit and feathers starting at $50.


In addition to the anticipated vests and coats, we are also told there will be a great selection of scarves, hats, wraps and ponchos. You can even bedeck your picky older sister with gifts starting at under $100. Lets see her turn up her nose at that! 


Cassin/sherry cassin/Jocelyn Sample Sale
Wednesday, December 7 to Friday, December 9 
Wed &Thurs. 9:30am to 7:00pm, Fri 9:30am to 6:30pm 
150 West 30th Street (@ 7th Ave), 5th Floor 
Cash and Credit Cards Only 
CassinCollections.com 


 Sponsored Post

DVF Sample Sale

We can't tell you how many email we have received inquiring about the Diane Von Furstenberg sample sale. There were even rumors that the bi-annual sale was canceled. (The horror!)

We are happy to announce that this year's dates have (finally) been released. Starting Tuesday, December 13 shoppers will be able to sort through racks of wrap dresses and wonderful prints that are all priced up to 75% off. Last year the prices were: $40 for tees, $80 for pants, skirts, blouses and sweaters, $125 for dresses and jackets, $150 for wrap-dresses, $250 for leather and $275 for cocktail gowns/dresses and coats. Our favorite section, however, is the $50 sample rack.


Here's a little insider tip: The DVF sale may officially start on Tuesday but at about noon on Monday friend's and family are invited to shop. By mid-afternoon, the sale is usually open to the general public. Bargain shoppers should wait until mid-week, prices usually drop along the lifespan of the sale.


DVF Sample Sale
Tuesday, December 13 through Saturday, December 16
Tues 9am to 6:30pm, Wed 10am to 8pm, Thurs 10am to 7pm, Fri 9am to 5pm, Sat 10am to 3pm
260 5th Ave. (bet. 28th & 29th St.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Your Guide to Chanel Handbag Prices

The Madison Avenue Spy team is always talking about prices. What's the real value of an item? What's the markdown?  What's the retail price? 

When it comes to Chanel's Classic bags we even get confused. There are so many different sizes, styles and leather finishes. Even Chanel salespeople get confused. So as you jump into your holiday shopping, we offer you the Madison Avenue Spy price guide to Classic Chanel handbags.




We picked three of the most popular styles-- the Classic Flap, the Reissue and the Tote -- and priced out many of the variations. Just for fun, we also dug up prices from 2009. Although we can't fully vouch for the complete accuracy of the vintage information, we thought it would be an informative reference. 

You can access a PDF version of our price guide here or click on the image above and expand the copy so that's legible. We hope you find this guide useful and we plan to bring you more. Please let us know if you have any suggestions. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Your Designer Sale Shoe Guide

By ManhattanMataHari

It is our favorite time of year again – shoe sale season! At this point, almost every department store has started their first markdown. Many stores started just yesterday, which means the inventory is still plentiful. Just one note, Christian Louboutin and Chanel have not been discounted anywhere. That markdown usually comes in a couple of weeks. So start putting your presale list together now!

Below is a full blown tour of all the best shoe departments and markdowns in town:

Barneys
As always, we like to start our shopping at Barney’s since their first cut is 40% (unlike 30% everywhere else). Unfortunately, the better bargain has its drawbacks – namely a smaller selection of shoes and fewer size options than Saks or Bergdorf’s. You will be a very happy shopper if you are a fan of Lanvin, Manolo Blahnik, Casadei, Fendi, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta. We were thrilled to find $389 Manolo Mary Janes alongside, $479 YSL Tribtoo slingbacks and $759 python Lanvin flats. There is also a good selection of boots, with the best bargain being buttery soft Bottega Veneta’s signature woven high boots for $589.
Leticia 212-833-2141





Bergdorf Goodman
For the best selection of sizes and styles, head a few blocks over to Bergdorf Goodman. While their shoe sale area is always chaotic, you will find plenty of glittery Miu Miu pumps and Jimmy Choos to complete your festive seasonal looks. This was the only store where we found discount Brian Atwood Maniac pumps. Fans of Alexander McQueen, Nicholas, Kirkwood, Tods, Dior, and Valentino should head here first. Noticeably absent this year were the walls of boots. There are currently no tall boots on sale despite one sales associate saying they were mixed in the racks.

A second markdown will take place the day after Christmas and should be 60% off.

Insider tip: avoid wearing black shoes since the shoe salon’s new carpeting sheds everywhere.
Jose: 212-872-894 Jose_olaso@bergdorfgoodmanstore.com






Saks Fith Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue is having their 10022 shoe sale starting with a 30% discount. This is hands down the best place to go for “it” shoes by Yves Saint Laurent. You can find their Tribute (pumps and sandals), Tribtoo and Palais pumps in a variety of materials and colors with plenty of different sizes available. If Jimmy Choos are more your thing, then Saks should be at the top of your list. Unlike Bergdorf’s there is a good selection of boots on sale too.

Insider tip: On December 26th, ALL sale merchandise including 10022-SHOE will be an additional 20% to 50% off the sale price. Plan on arriving early and dealing with queues and utter chaos – last year they had to shut the line down around 2pm due to the insanity.
Alfonso: 212-940-2401


Jeffery
Downtown divas may want to stop by Jeffrey in the Meatpacking district. While their selection and sizes are more limited than the larger department stores, the service and atmosphere are much better.
Lemar: 212-206-1272

Photos: #1 Bergdorf #2 Saks

Versace at H&M Returns

The Versace collaboration with H&M was quite successfully by all accounts. On launch day there were lines around the block and every item available was sold. Though you can really see the carnage of a design collaboration from the returns bin.

Over at the 86th Street H&M we were surprised to see there was more than a small bin of returns. As a matter of fact, the returns have their own section within the women's department.



So what items did Versace fanatics decide to do without? To start there are lots of little pink bags and lots and lots of shoes. In the clothing section there are several of pink skirts with tassels, purple dresses and sequined print dresses. We found only one pair of printed leggings in a size two and a single bustier top. The pièce de résistance, however, was a men's overcoat with a leather lapel and leather sleeves. Both the quality and the styling of this item was head over heals better than anything else we saw.

The aforementioned coat is posted on ebay for about $700! From the looks of the ebay sales, we bet a lot more inventory will be coming back to H&M. You bet we'll be keeping our eyes open for markdowns.