Saturday, January 31, 2009

Prada 75% Off Friends and Family

I told you there would be another reduction and there is. Through the weekend all Prada boutiques are offering 75% off fall and winter merchandise (along with whatever they dug up from last spring.)

The merchandise is going fast so you might want to put a jump on it. At the SoHo boutique there were plenty of lace bags, small shadow bags, bright colored nylon totes and other assorted cast offs.

On the ready-to-wear racks there was a variety of lace getups, a few shadow dresses and a bunch of winter jackets. The best deal was a $20,000 sable coat that's now $5,000. We know that's a lot of bank, but it's sable!

Just an FYI to all the sales people out there: Just because a $4,000 mini-skirt is reduced to $1,000 does not make it a great deal. And furthermore, nobody --and I really mean NOBODY--cares how many clients purchased the skirt at full price. 

Contact: Michel Hubner (SoHo Store) 212-334-8888

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Zara Semi-Annual Sale

Zara is well into their winter semi-annual sale. Everything from the winter season is now half-off. Coats and jackets that ranged from $89 to $129, are now, well, half of that. I can list more prices but that seems like a waste of space. Let's put it this way, Zara in general is a great deal for affordable fashionable styles. Zara on sale is economically savvy.

The sale has at least two more weeks. The one caveat, look your purchases over carefully. More than once I've heard stories about people coming home with damaged clothing unknowingly.

Manolo Sale Update

We were in the neighborhood and passed through the Manolo sale, which is about as dry and boring as this post. Shoes range from $185 to $400 but most shoes are limited to 35s and 41s with a splattering of 37s. Yes, it's day three of the sale but YAWN!

The highlight of the sale were the pastel alligator shoes that were originally $4100 and are now $1500. A savings, yes. Worth it, no. If you're in the neighborhood, take a walk through but by no means waste cab money on a sale as boring as this.

Then again, maybe I'm just cranky because I don't have enough feet for more shoes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Scoop 75% Off

We are coming to the end of a long sale season. Today we hear that Scoop has marked down their Fall/Winter merchandise to 75% off. Our spies say that there is still a large selection, which does not mean good things for this retailer.

Rumors are that Scoop is being plagued with severe financial -- a.k.a. bankruptcy--troubles. Say it ain't so. I guess that's what happens when you are too slow to markdown in a difficult economic season.

Speaking of the difficult economy, my Facebook friend and fellow blogger, Andrew James of What is James Wearing?, is asking everyone to figuratively burn a bit of money in honor of the Chinese New Year and his very own stimulus package.

I say, in difficult times-- cash is king. If you've got it hold on to it. You never know when a great opportunity might present itself!

Contact: Ed 212-535-5577 (Scoop Woman's)
Ranee 212-744-1836 (Scoop Men's)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

La Perla's Final Markdown

La Perla has been marking down their Fall/Winter collection since early December. I know, however, that a 30% markdown isn't enough to entice shoppers like you and me. Well, this week, the markdown finally reached 60% off. This is what we fondly call, le grand final. Within the next 10 days all leftovers will be shipped away never to be seen on Madison Avenue again.

Included in the sale are bras, panties, night wear and some bathing suits. The sale is also running online if you prefer shopping cyber-shopping. The selection though is alwasy much better in the store.

Remember, gentlemen, Valentines Day is a bit more than two weeks away. Lingerie is always a great gift beacuase it's as good for you as it is for her.

Contact: Nefta 212-570-0050

Monday, January 26, 2009

Manolo Blahnik Sale

Today starts the famous Manolo boutique sale. We don't know the exact discount yet but in past seasons the discount has ranged from 50% to 75% off. The "boutique collection" and some alligator styles will be included in the sale this time around.

The sale only runs for a week then the unwanted shoes are sent to the dreadful sample sale. Just a heads up, during the sale the store usually closes for restocking from 2:00 to 3:00pm. So keep that in mind while planning your war strategy.

31 West 54th Street (b/w 5th and 6th)
Monday to Friday 10:30 to 6:00
Saturday 10:30 to 3:300

Contact: 212-582-3007

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pressman Wants Barneys Back

As rumors swirl that the Istithmar, the private equity firm from Dubai that owns Barneys, is looking to get out, we hear on VERY good authority that Gene Pressmen wants back in.

The New York Times reports that Barneys would probably fetch $300 million to $400 million now, considerably less than the $942 million Istithmar paid to obtain the luxury goods retailer for the Japanese clotting conglomerate, Fast Retailing.

Before Gene jumps back into the retail business that he-- um-- troubled. We thought it would be prudent to pass on some friendly words of advice.

1. Customer Service: The backbone of a luxury business is service. Barneys has never been known for any-service. This would be a prime time to scoop up talented sales associates who have fallen on hard time at other luxury department stores.

2. Technology: Your online inventory controls are horrible. Your system needs to be updates so that customers who purchase items online don't get an email weeks later saying that the product they purchased is out of stock.

3. Social Networking: Times have changed since you ran Barneys. These days customers don't need to step one foot into a store or even be on the computer to shop. We suggest arming sales associates with camera equip Blackberries. An item comes in, it's photographed, emailed to clients and poof sales are made. This works the other way too. Client sees a picture in a magazine, emails her sales associate and poof another sale is made.

4. The Men's Store: Barneys was founded on servicing men. This foundation has been lost over the years. We suggest going back to your roots. It worked then and it will work now.

5. Learn From Past Mistakes: You've been through this before. Remember to keep your eye on the ball and nothing good ever comes from "chasing cool." If you earn it, cool will find you.

With these words we wish you luck in securing financing. In this environment getting money will be no easy feat, but the reward will be plentiful. Just take some time to look into the future of retailing. There's a lot of promise you just need to have deep pockets and vision. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Neiman Marcus 75% Off

The current markdown at Neiman Marcus is about 65% off, which is no hot deal considering the Spring collections have arrived. However, until Jan. 25th the store and website are offering an additional 40% off for a total of about 75% off.

There's not much left to choose from but browsing from your computer seems to be a great use of wind-down-time or waste-time-at-work-time. What we find most amusing is that the Bergdorf site, which practically mirrors the Neiman's site, does not have the additional 40% off markdown.

For example, these two-piece lace up Prada losers were originally $1,800 but are now $810 on both the NM and Bergie sites. On the Neiman site, though there is an additional 40% off bringing the total price down to $486.

The moral of this story is that these shoes are damn ugly and Bergodorfs may have more cache but the best deals are always found at Neiman Marcus.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Spy: Prada '08 Samples 90% Off

Looking to score the hottest look of Winter '08 on a 2009 budget?

At the Woodbury Commons outlet we spied two racks of Prada and Miu Miu samples all priced at about 90% off retail. Lets put it this way, most items were under $250. We're talking about REAL samples. The ones with "sample" stamped on the inside, not store returns.

If you go today, however, you won't see the samples. They moved the racks out because "they looked too messy." Don't be timid. Ask for the Prada samples and a sales associate will wheel them out. Just be mindful that many of the beloved lace looks have quickly dated and seem highly unwearable whithout the colored body suits.

For your viewing pleasure, here a link to some of the looks that are included on the sample rack.

Contact: Penny (845) 928-3706

Saks Consolidation Sale

At the end of each season Saks collects all the leftover merchandise and ships it to major flagship stores, like Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and, of course, Fifth Avenue. Prices are usually marked down 80% or more and the racks are filled with buried treasures. All you need to do is dig a little.

Consolidation starts Thursday, Jan. 22nd and runs until Jan. 29th. This year, the sale will be different. There are no accessories meaning, no shoes, bags or jewelry. In addition, as part of Saks cutting costs, no goods were shipped to other stores. So the Fifth Avenue merchandise is the same unwanted designer looks that been hanging on the racks since the beginning of the season.

Our trusted Saks Mad-Spy tells us not to even bother going to the store. "There's nothing here," he says. "It's all been picked over and what has come back as returns quickly went out to shoppers with good connections." Oh well, money not spent is money earned?!

Contact: Jean Phillipe 212-753-4000

P.S. We are all very sad about the recent layoffs at Saks an other retail outlets. We thank you for your constant pictures, phone calls and email. Best of luck and we hope that you will find new great opportunities. Please stay in touch. xoxo

Amex - NY Fashion Week

Call me a purist. Call me a snob. I'll plead guilty to both.

American Express sent the below information to its Starwood card holders. It's so sad to think of all the effort we went through trying to scam seats to shows while in college, design school or just playing poser. For just $250 you can now preview all the fashion week shows without even changing out of your Banana Republic chinos. The all the information you need is below. Just don't be surprised if you hear chuckles as you turn your back.

NY Fashion Week
Your preview of the 2009 spring collections is the must-have invitation of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
*This insider event includes a private skybox reserved exclusively for Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cardmembers:
* Enjoy a unique view of the fashions coming down the catwalk
* Talk one on one with an in-the-know, high profile fashion insider
* See and be seen at a stylish cocktail reception
* Take home a gift bag

Price per ticket: $250.00, limit two tickets per Cardmember (proceeds go toward the Council of Fashion Designers of America)

Only 24 packages available. Reserve your seats now: Call 1-800-445-7374

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mikimoto Private Sale

Thursday, January 22 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Friday, January 23 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

680 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor
Between 53rd and 54th Streets

· We accept credit cards only. No cash or checks please.
· No exchanges or returns.
· No holds.
· No gift boxes or wrapping available. No shipping.
· Admittance will be determined by capacity. There may be a wait.
· All coats and large bags must be checked.

Commentary: Expect lots of great inventory because this has not been a steller year for jewelry. The discount is usually about 50% off retail. In past seasons, shoppers were happily surprised by the price range, which includes pieces that can be afforeded even by mortals.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spring '09: Heels and Headbands

Spring, more than any other season is a time that trends are defined. I think it has to do with the whole optimism having to do with the season. In Spring 2004, my personal celebrity soared when I declared "Capris and Cuffs" to be the flavor of the year. No need to rehash ancient history, we all know where that went.

Today I feel confident enough to do it again. I declare-- Spring 2009 --to be the season of "Heels and Headbands." I know you love your Chanel ballet flats but they do absolutely nothing for your kankles and that ass of yours will not defy gravity forever. So pull out those heels and not just for evening. Wear heels to breakfast. Heels to lunch. Heels to walk the dog. Sneakers to the gym but heels afterwards. Lulu Lemon is not all-day wear.

Next, headbands. Think less Hillary Clinton's severe black velvet headband and more Gossip Girls' Blair Waldorf with her headpieces gently placed in the middle of her head like a tiara. Our style guru, Shawn suggests staying away from a headband that is too wide, "You will look like a pom pom cheerleader in your old high school cheerleading squad." (As if, we were ever cheerleaders.)

"Hair with a slight wave looks great all tied back in a bun with one or if your daring two thin head bands." according to Shawn. "A thin headband can even be such items as interesting textured yarn or fabric to colorful dramatic shoelaces."

As far as conventional headbands go, we go ga-ga for the Paige Gamble coral python gardenia headband (photo above, $450) or you can get the look for less with a flirty floral headband from Claire's ($5.50)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Woodbury MLK Jr. Day

It's a holiday weekend, for some at least. And whenever there's a day off Woodbury Commons stores run extra promotions to drive in customers. It might be cold outside but that means that the stores should not be too crowded. Here's what to look forward to if you are brave enough to brave the cold.

Space (845) 928-3706, the store that carries Prada and Miu Miu, has 30% off newer items (Spring '08). Older item, from Spring/Summer '07 are 75% off. Shoes and handbags are the same discount and are not being marked down any further.

Chanel (845) 928-1550, has an ongoing sale where the markdown ranges from 25% to 60% off. The larger discount can be found on the ready-to-wear collection from Winter '07. Many accessories from Fall/Winter '07 are 60% off. Bags range from 25% to 40% off.

Dior (845) 928-4602, is discounting their older merchandise up to 75% off. Shoes are mainly 50% off but there are a scattering of 75% off merchandise. Men's ready-to-wear is 50% off and belts are 75% off.

Bottega Veneta (845) 928-4563, ready-to-wear from Spring/Summer '07 is 75% off. Bags are 60% off and include, canvas bags and leather bags from pink, yellow, white and brown families.

Here is a list of all the outlet's phone numbers. If you can't make the drive there's always Fed-ex...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Krizia 60% Off --But Going Down

When all the sales are over, the weather is freezing and the stores are filled with nothing but Summer frocks, Krizia warms our hearts with their awesome winter sale. Most items are 70% to 80% off. Shoes that were $600 are priced at $50 and boots are something like $75. It's a sale worth looking forward to.

The current markdown is 60% off but Julius, our insider, let us know that the annual sale will be in a few weeks. As always, men's ready-to-wear will be included in the sale. Remember, buying last season's look for 70% off only makes you more stylish. How far off is the above from look from this yellow and red number that Christopher Kane sent down the runway for Spring 2009?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

DVF 70% Off

This 70% off sale is one of many reasons why I never go to Diane von Furstenberg sample sales. Some people, however, might find standing in line in the cold to be a fun afternoon. Personally, I'll take my MacBook and a hot chocolate and let my fingers do the shopping.

Take notice, all sales are final and the 70% off sale is online only. The Meatpacking store location has a current markdown of 60% off.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Petit Bateau Semi-Annual Sale

All of us up here love Petit Bateau--it sure beats the hell out of that poly/cot Splendid crap. Historically, the problem has been the attitude of the store's sales people. For instance, one would walk in and ask a question and it would not be out of the norm for a sales associate to pretend like she didn't speak English. (I kid you not!)

No matter how much of a Francophile one may be, it just wasn't cool. Word on the Avenue is that enough irate customers sent letters to corporate to make a difference. While giving the store an overhaul this Summer, Petit Bateau anchored with a whole new attitude. Gone are the days of a sneer of indifference.

What's even better is that the store is hosting it's twice yearly sale where most items are 20%, 30% and 40% off. The discount depends how seasonal the item may be. For example, a basic undershirt is likely to be just 20% off while a stars and bow print pajama is 40% off.

The sale is also online but the selection is very small. So you might want to hit the store if you have a little baby, need to buy a gift for a baby, or need some lounge wear for yourself. Remember, the Woodbury Commons Petit Bateau store closed and finding these goods at a discount is not simple...

... Except if you go to Century 21!

Contact: 212-988-8885

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is Gucci Going?

Recession and hard-economic-times have become an important part of our lexicon this season. And those possessing fractional jet ownership and Black Cards have been as hard hit as those living on First Avenue. This economic fallout has much more impact than clothing discounts.

Unfortunately, the end is not as near as some would hope. We recently received a book of available or soon-to-be available Madison Avenue retail properties. The list is staggeringly long. Last year at this time there were hardly 25 available spaces along Madison. Now the list seems endless.

We thought it might be interesting to publish excerpts of this confidential real estate log. After all, we are informants and we do specialize in Madison Avenue.

Most interesting, to us at least, is the fact that Michael Kors is moving into Gucci's space but nobody seems to have information about Gucci's relocation. 'Tis the season of cutting back. Maybe Fifth Avenue is proving to be all Manhattan needs of the double-Gs.

Click on the image below to get a peak into the future of our local topography.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bottega Veneta Sample Sale

The Details:
Bottega Veneta
Until Saturday, Jan. 10, 10am to 6pm
697 Fifth Avenue
(54-55 Streets) 3 Floor
Women's & Men's Clothing and Accessories
Sample & stock sale. Bottega Veneta's fabulously sharp collections - women's and men's ready-to-wear, shoes, bags and other accessories. Credit cards only.

The Mad-Spy Report:
Just a few bags, which were very expensive. Exotic skin bags are just 10% off original prices. Leather bags are just $200 but there were none to be found by the afternoon.

The deals are found in the ready-to-wear department where tops and bottoms are $40, dresses are $80 and shoes are $50. Again, not a lot of inventory by mid-day but if you wear shoes size 38 and up, there are still some left. There's a spattering of things for men but those who wear larger sizes have more options.

Lila's Commentary:
The sale is scheduled to run through Saturday. It's only logical that the Veneta folks are smart enough not to host a sample sale with no inventory. I imagine that they are pulling out new merchandise daily. For the best picks it's probably best to hit the sale early because it looks like they aren't replenishing throughout the day.

Better yet, skip the lines and early morning rush and hit the Woodbury Commens outlet where bags are priced at least 30% off retail and the discount only gets better from there.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Carnegie Hill Retailers Struggle

I hopped north 86th street today and was totally shocked by what I found. It appears as if almost every other store is either relocating or going out of business.

On the North-West corner of Madison and 86th Street is Baltons--a fairly unremarkable department store mostly supported by grandmothers and nannies. The loud yellow signs covering every window of the store shout that the store is closing and that everything is 30% to 50% off.

Steps North on the same block, Village Designer Shoes has a bright orange sign that screams, "Co-op tripling our rent. Everything must go."

If you take a few more paces North, Feldman's IV, the long-loved home furnishings and miscellaneous store --if you know the goods you know miscellaneous is the right word-- has a sign announcing that they are moving to Lexington. That store has been there longer than I'm alive!

On the same block, Didi's Children's Boutique, an upscale toy store is hosting a 30% to 50% off sale. Why? Because they are moving. To where? The owner admitted sadly that she still does not know. For those in the market for fancy European toys, these are heavily discounted considering this toy segment rarely hosts a markdown. For example, Carolle dolls and accessories are 30% off. Unheard of!

For now we say farewell to those leaving our lovely avenue. You will always remain in a place in our hearts and memories. Especially Boltons, whose employees refused my 2-year-old a restroom. Serves you right!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gucci and Prada Third Markdown

Christmas was just 12 days ago and already stores are taking another slash at prices in an attempt to cash out. Today Gucci and Prada are offering customers additional savings. Gucci ready-to-wear is now 75% off and suddenly the collection that had little to be desired is looking a bit more attractive. (Just a tiny-weensy bit.) Bags and shoes are now 50% to 60% of.

Prada-- whose sales people were overheard saying that they will NEVER reduce prices below half-off-- is now 60% off ready-to-wear and 50% off bags. Don't worry lace lovers. I still think there is another to come. I feel 70% off is the right number. I guess we will have to wait and see.

This is probably last call for Gucci so you better buy now or forever hold your piece. For those who can't get to the Gucci store you can snag the same savings online but we're told that there store has a lot more pieces to choose from in addition to sizes. (That's hard to imagine!)

Prada Contact: Christina 212-327-4200
Gucci Contact: Maura 212-717-2619

Net-A-Porter To Launch Outlet

The online luxury fashion retailer, Net-A-Porter, is getting ready to launch an online outlet appropriately called Rumor has it the site was originally slated to go live after the New Year but has been pushed back until February. 
A Google ad boasts that prices will be up to 70% off but how much more of a markdown is that from their normal sales? Lets hope they dump the flashy editorial and pass the savings along to the shoppers.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Saks EGC With Chanel Trunkshow

Accessories have become the bread and butter of many designers' bottom lines. It's the hot shoe or hot handbag that sell out while the clothing is a clear afterthought. Gucci, YSL, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Dior are prime examples. So when the market takes a wild downturn how does a department store draw customers to its $3000 bags?

Stores are still trying to figure out the magic formula but the trend seems to be increased use of electronic gift cards. Next week Saks is hosting a giant Chanel trunk show. Guess what's coinciding? EGC!

The Chanel trunk show and electronic gift card event runs for two days starting Wednesday, Jan. 14th. The levels are below and as you would expect the big discount comes when you spend $3000 on anything in the store. You get $1000 or 33% back in gift cards to spend on anything else in the store. Yay, spend more money...

Saks EGC 1/14 and 1/15
$250-$499 = $25
$500 -$999 = $75
$1000-$1999= $250
$2000-$2999= $500
$3000+ = $1000

Photo credit: Stylefrizz

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Louis Vuitton Currency Arbitrage

Welcome to the other side of the new year. As always, we are committed to finding you the best deals in the universe of luxury shopping.  The savings exist even among the loftiest of brands and this economy watching your dime is more important than ever.

Lets use Loius Vuitton as an example. No matter how much you hope, pray, wait or stand on your head they are not going to discount their products. We're not sure if the "shredding room" is truth or legend but does it really matter how the goods are disposed if they're not falling into wanting hands for a bargain?

On the Vuitton US web site the iconic Speedy 30 is $700US. The LV's UK site has the same bag for £355UK or £309UK (minus the VAT*). The exchange rate brings the total cost of the bag down to $447.19 as of business close on Friday, January 1st. That' a savings of $253 or about 35%.

This currency arbitrage can come in handy among many of our favorite European luxury brands. So officially: Happy 2009 and don't fret too much about the new economy. There's always a deal to be had.

*VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a tax levied goods and services in many countries throughout the world, including the UK and most EU countries. The VAT is currently 15% in the UK but is refundable to many tourists upon traveling home.

Contact: LV Bond St. 011 44 20 7399 4050