Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Decade of Shopping

The decade is coming to an abrupt end and before we head out of town to celebrate we wanted to take a moment to look back at the past 10 years. At the start of a 2000, the Dow was above 11,000, my magazine editor never heard of Osama bin Laden and Sony PlayStation 2 was nearly impossible to come by.

Wow. How times have changed. Check this out: In 1999, the word fashionista was published in about 233 print articles around the world. So far, this year, the word has shown up in 5,978 articles. Overused? Perhaps as much as the Chanel bag/ Louboutin shoes uniform.

In 1999, the Fendi Baguette was the snazzy bag and one with signature interlocking Fs, appliqued with snakeskin leaves and flowers was $1,250. Today, you can buy a mulit-colored embroidered Fendi Baguette on Overstock for under $1,000.

In contrast, a basic Hermes Kelly bag, in 1999, cost $4,450. The 32cm Kelly with "Clemence" leather will set you back $7,550 today. Karl Lagerfeld's signature Chanel bag, ten years ago, was called "2005" and was meant to double as a pillow on long flights. The cost of the pillow/handbag was $900. This year, Lagerfeld's "Cocoon," which also happens to look like a pillow, cost $2,395 for the medium size. The hot Gucci 'Jackie' bag cost between $500 and $600 (depending on materials), a decade ago. This Spring, the Gucci "New Jackie" costs $2,995 for a leather trim bag to $9,900 for the ostrich-skin version.

So, in the past decade, the Hermes bag has nearly doubled, the Chanel bag almost tripled and the Gucci purse has increased in price by 600%. Suddenly, the Kelly bag doesn't seem so expensive. Perhaps the old adage about quality is true!?

Happy New Year!


Manolo Blahnik First Markdown

Starting Monday, the Manolo Blahnik boutique will be reducing their winter season shoes by 1/3. Anxious shoppers will be saddened to know that here is no presale this season.

Before you start gathering to form a line we would like to point out that there are two more markdowns to come. In past seasons, shoes were reduced to 50% and then 75% off. We don't see why this sale season shouldn't turn out similar discounts. All it takes is patience.

Manolo Blahnik
31 West 54th Street (b/w 5th and 6th)
Monday to Friday 10:30 to 6:00
Saturday 10:30 to 3:300
Contact: Abby 212-582-3007

Monday, December 28, 2009

Versace 50% Off

Remember Versace? Yes, they are still around and the boutique is hosting a 50% off sale. A 50% off sale at this time of year is not at all newsworthy but when all the luxury labels were discounting merchandise last year, Versace announced it would hold firm to its pricing scheme.

The horror of teeny-boppers carrying Versace bags through their local mall caused the company to revive its lower-priced Versus line, which had been discontinued in 2005. Subsequently, Versace has hired a new CEO, fired their CEO and fought off rumours of bankruptcy.

Fast forward to Christmas 2009 and we have 50% off. What is even more shocking is that last week, the boutique discounted prices 75% off as part of invitation-only sale. As a matter of fact, one invitation holder tried hocking their discount on Craig's List for $1,000. The entrepreneurial posterpointed out that discount "means you can buy $10,000 worth of merchandise for $2500." (A gift for math?!)

Unfortunately, the 75% off sale is over but our experience tells us that if a store is discounting deeply for friends and family, it's only a matter of time until the discount is wide-spread. In the meantime, we'll keep popping our head into Versace and let you know when the Medusa hits final markdown.

Post-Christmas Saks

Big stretch.
It's been a nice long weekend of shopping and our spies have been out in full force. Saks, again, wins the sale game. A 70% off sale-- before Thanksgiving or after Christmas-- apparently has the same response. Madness!

Our first report comes from Dapper Homme who was on the scene at 7:45. (DP is one of our top special agents. To understand the caliber of shopper, we have to divert a moment to present an example: at a recent unnamed sample sale there was a throng of rowdy women lined down the block and around the corner. DP organized the attendees in such a manner that the sample sale organizers gave him early admittance. This man can easily win the silver metal in Olympic shopping. Sorry, DP, Lila takes gold.)

So, Dapper Homme reports that there were about 150 people lined up, early Saturday morning, for the 70% off Saks doorbuster. Much of the crowed rushed two places: the shoe department and to Chanel handbags. To the dismay of many customers there were only four Chanel handbags on sale. We hear that Chanel sales people spent the entire rest of the day yelling, "We have no more sale bags." That's always a fun day at work.

After scoping the main floor, DP headed straight to the ninth floor. For some crazy, wacky, unspecified reason, all mens' sale items were sent to nine. The disorganization was somewhat like a Barneys Warehouse setup. Unfortunately sales people and customers were equally confused. Dapper had six pair of shoes picked out but his salesperson could only locate mates to three pair. After about 45 minutes of sorting through racks, DP, says he found some of what he wanted, including Kiton shirts for 70% off.

Enough of the men's stuff. Shoes! Or lady spies report that it was difficult to move at 10022-SHOE. The floor was so crowded that it was nearly impossible to find a sales person to pull a match or charge a purchase. We heard reports of women throwing their credit cards at sales people and buying shoes without even trying them on. YSL Tribute heels for $167 can make people do strange things.

Moving down, floor five was overcrowded, but the designer floor was bliss. Premier ready-to-wear designers, including Dior, were priced 70% off or more. A $2500 Dolce & Gabbana sweater was found for $500. A $750 Marc Jacobs dress was marked down to $160.

The store continued to get more crowded as the day drew on. At about noon there was a 10minute wait to get inside the store-- and yes, it was raining!

Shoppers who headed to Saks.com faced similar competition. One reader commented:
Damn website kept crashing... even at 1:30 AM EST!!! I had a pair of Dior shoes in my shopping and when I was in the final stages of checking out, my shopping bag was suddenly "empty". Shoes now gone.
Most continuing reports are that Saks is wiped out. We are sure, however, that after-New Years returns, the store will be amply supplied with enough sale merchandise to hold us over until consolidation . Just remember, there's always something to buy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Giuseppe Zanotti 50% Off


Giuseppe Zanotti Design Boutique

50% *off Original Prices

Fall/Winter 2009

*no adjustments to prior purchases, all sale items are final sale!

We look forward to your visit,

George Nelken

Giuseppe Zanotti

806 Madison AVE/68th ST


212 650 0455

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sex and the City II

We don't know if we approve of the whole idea of a Sex in the City movie influencing fashion, but it happens, and it's happening again. Just today, the trailer to Sex and the City II was released and gals all over are preening for Carrie's fashion.

While it's Christmans Eve and most of our readers are already arguing with family we know that some of you are stick in an office building. To pass the time we came up with The Sex and the City Guessing Game: It's up to you to guess the plot and the fashion.

We already know that in the the opening clip Carrie is wearing limited edition Mykita & Bernhard Willhelm sunglasses ($525 @ Patricia Field.) Her white dress is Halston and the necklace is Solange Azagury-Partridge, and costs almost $200k. The shoes are Louboutin and the clutch is Chanel. Big is treating Carrie very well!

In the clip taking place in front of Bergdorf Goodman, we have Samantha with a VBH bag ($1300) and black Ray Bans. Miranda is wearing YSL Tribute heels. Charlotte is in head-to-toe pink Dior (including the bag) but not the shoes. Those are Loubs.

We also know that the girls' trip is to Morocco, or at least, that's where they shot. (Yes, we have spies all over the world.)

Below is the trailer. What do you know?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kevyn Aucoin Sample Sale

Our favorite cosmetic brand is undoubtedly Kevyn Aucoin. We first fell in love with the mascara, which flakes off rather than smearing off. Then the eye shadows, which has incredible pigmentation. You see where we are going with this?

There aren't many stores that carry the line. Bergdorfs seems to be the Aucoin hub but it can be found in Sephora for the time being. The problem, like most high end brands is the price. Well Aucoin fans, listen up: the headquarters is having a sale where their cosmetics are being sold at a fraction of their retail prices.

For just $10 you can get lipsticks, glosses, eye and brow pencils and eye shadows. Most of these products retail for $24 to $28. The $15 category includes powders, which retail for about $40. In the $20 category you can find eye shadow sets, foundations, lose powder and primer, which range from $42 to $62 in retail outlets. There's also two amazing brush sets the travel set is $50 (regularly $140) and the deluxe is $140 (normally $350).

Just be careful that you go home with the correct product. We have to plan a return trip tomorrow to make adjustments. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the last day of the sale and the hours are short. There are no mascaras but if you have the time it's definitely worth the trip.

Kevyn Aucoin Insider Sale
Wednesday, Dec. 23rd,
9am to 1pm
1412 Broadway, 25th FL

Online Shopping Round-up

Lets face it, shopping can be exhausting. That's why we love browsing the Internet. There's no blisters, no crowds and no over-anxious sales person hoping for a commission. Just you and your trackpad. To end our week of round-ups we're searching cyber space for the best sales. We know that purchases made today will not get there for Christmas but isn't holiday shopping mostly about finding great things for yourself anyway? Below is a list of sales occurring at our favorite online boutiques. We imagine that the prices are subject to change at any moment.

Don't forget to check out our past round-ups were we dove into the department stores, Meatpacking District, men's boutiques, 5th Avenue/ 57th Street and, of course, Madison Avenue.

25Park.com: Sometimes you can have the best of both worlds. 25Park started off as a Internet-based retailer but for the holiday season opened a pop-up shop on Third and 74th Street.( We hear the location may become permanent.) The owners of the site have a great eye for style but they are a bit green when it comes to sales. Nobody wants to buy last year's Behnanz Sarafour when it's still over a $1000. Department stores already reduced the dress 75% off and it's bound to show up on Yoox or Guilt for even less. Keep an eye on this site, they have a great variety and once they become more seasoned they will learn the key to successful retailing is "turns."

In the meantime go for last year's Missoni scarves, which were originally $390 and now $175. Missoni isn't putting their scarves on sale this season. So this is the best you're going to get.

MyTheresa: The German based site carries all the best designer names and ships them literally all over the world. It's up to you though, to figure out the tax situation. You can deduct the 17.5% VAT but you're going to have to pay import taxes through DHL. We imagine it evens out. You also have to do a currency conversion. Right now EU100 is about $143. Keeping that in min,d we shopped the sale section and found: YSL cage boots that are just 30% off. So last summer! A Matthew Williamson brocade jacket is EU935 but comes out too about $1350, once you do the conversion. Basically, everything on the site is way too much money after the conversion but it's still fun to look around.

Net-a-Porter: Most designer labels are 30% to 40% off. That's not enough to compete with department stores and we expect prices will be dropping momentarily. If you scroll around or sort by discount, you will see there's lots of 70% merchandise. We found a silk tulip skirt for $87, lots of Stella McCarney, and a great animal print Clements Ribeiro dress, now $427 from $1425.

Vivre: Right on the homepage there is a link to items "up to 75%" off. We love the colorful suede lambskin gloves , $62 from $125. A $395 Michael Kors satin bow clutch is now $99. How about a Roberto Cavalli top reduced to $491 from $1965?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Department Store Round-up

Department store markdowns are the slowest in memory. As one Saks salesman remarked, "We are getting revenge from last year." Oh, there's no revenge in shopping. We just lust after great deals.

If you're still in holiday shopping mode you're going to want to check out our discount guides for the Meatpacking District, Men's boutiques, 5th Avenue/ 57th Street and, of course, Madison Avenue. Below are the department store promotions.

Barneys: Congrats to Barneys for becoming the first department store to take a second markdown. The sale is now 60% off on shoes and clothing and bags and accessories etc. Sizes are going fast. Be careful if you are ordering online. The inventory for the site is not maintained in real time. Orders often get canceled when items are sold out.

Bergdorf Goodman: The first markdown of the season followed Black Friday. Women's 3rd floor designers, shoes, accessories and the men's store were all discounted 40%. Second markdown will begin Tuesday and all the same departments will discount fall/winter merchandise 60%. With one wave of the sale wand, Bergdorf has become the best place to shop -- for selection and price--before Christmas. We imagine there will not be an additional discount until mid-January.

Bloomingdales: Figuring out the discount at Bloomingdales always takes a math PhD. The 40% off regular price, plus an extra 20% incentive, plus an additional 15% off if you use your Bloomies card brings the saving to, drum roll please... 58.4% off. I hope I did that right. While you're there don't forget to pick up a Nespresso espresso. It's the perfect antidote to the cold weather and shopping fatigue.

Saks: How we used to love Saks. Though 30% to 40% off is just not that lovable. We spoke to several sales people today only to find out that there will be no additional discount until after Christmas. And it's after Christmas when our love will return to Saks. Until noon Satuday you can take an additional 50% off already reduced prices for a total of up to 70% off. After noon, Saturday, the discount goes to 40%. We suggest you find a sales person immediatly if you would like to take advantage of the early discount.

Neiman Marcus: The official discount on fine apparel and designer collections is still just 40%. We are told that the stores are "awaiting a directive for after Christmas sales." However, we have heard reports about Viviers at half off. We're not crossing a bridge or tunnel any time soon. So we're going to need you to report back on what you see.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Meatpaking District Round-up

We are combing the city looking for the best deals. There are only four shopping days left until Christmas and you need to keep to a budget. We’re telling you what discount to expect before you get to the store. So far, we’ve covered Madison Avenue, Fifth Ave/57th Street, our favorite gentleman's boutiques, and now we're heading down to the Meatpacking district.

DVF: The fall season is discounted just 30%. Smart shoppers hit the sample sale where prices were 50% to 75% off. If sample saling (yes, we use it as a verb) does not fit your lifestyle, boutique prices often go to 70% by season's end.
Ashley 646-486-4800

Alexander McQueen: You never know what to expect when you go to an McQueen store. Sometimes the collection can be morose and other times just over-the-top. This season, everywhere we looked there was something to love. The markdown is 60% off. Even with the steep discount some items are way over budget. Take this bird-print funnel neck dress. It's still almost $2400 even after the discount. The dress was originally $5,975. The dress is a real piece of art but for those prices we prefer to save up for a Kandinsky. Not all items are thousands. A cable knit dress is $664 from $1670, a cowl neck dress is $659 from $1655 and statement platform shoes are $464 from $1165.
Mosell 212-645-1797

Stella McCartney: As we write, the fall/winter collection is 40% off but the discount goes to 50% on Monday. The discount includes bags and shoes. The additional markdown is happening right on time because there's still quite a bit of merchandise left.
Jason 212-255-1556

Matthew Williamson: Everything is so much more colorful downtown but few designers are brighter than Matthew Williamson. Right now prefall is 60% off and the runway collection is 50% off. The discount could go to 80% after the New Year and that's when we will start charging it up.
Charice 212-255-9881

Jeffery NYC: The discount went down to 40% on Thursday. Shoes are selling quickly. The "racks" are up and if you're a 7.5 don't even bother. There's nothing left. There is a healthy selection of 8s and the biggest variety of shoes is the 10s or a European 40. The clothing is hit or miss when it comes to sizes. It is very clear that Jeffery was very cautious with his inventory.
Michelle 212-206-1272

Shelly Steffee: If you're looking for great customer service, Shelly Steffee is the store for you. The sales women are super helpful and sweet. Dawn even offered to give us dresses on special consignment, so we can try them on at home. The markdown is 20% to 50% off depending on the production run and stock. Bottoms, for example, are 30% while a vest is just 20% off. There's a little bit of everything left. It's worth a shot just for the enjoyable shopping environment.
Dawn 917-408-0409

Rodarte for Target

For weeks we have been anticipating the launch of Rodarte for Target. It's the perfect designer mash-up. Rodarte's clothing is thousands of dollars even on sale. So to get your hands on great design for a very novel price is well, novel. In this case, Target left out an important component of a successful collaboration--quality. There needs to be some semblance of quality to the garment no matter how inexpensive the price tag.

Yes, the Rodarte line looks great. We've been eyeing that black sequined ribcage dress since early pictures hit the Internet. When we actually felt the dress our hearts sank. The front is great looking but the back feels like a Disney fairy princess costume. The same goes for many of the Target garments. As a matter of fact, we looked through the entire line and couldn't find a natural fabric besides for a few tee-shirts.

The pretty camisoles are a horrid polyester. Silk can be sourced for so cheap. Come on! The crepe floral wrap dress feels like a flame retardant pajama. The faux fur vest might be better used to scrub pans.

We understand the pressure to raise profit margins in tough economic times but Kate and Laura Mulleavy must have questioned the quality being used to execute their creative vision. For us, we rather admire $5,000 dresses and never own one than to overlook quality for a name on a label.

Luckily brand appeal is prevailing. A fitting room attendant told us the line is doing very well. If you must buy something from the Rodarte collection go for the floral wind breaker or the mesh lace cardigan. In both cases the material and design are suitable.

Going forward we hope that Target execs will look back to the quality lines they did with Rogan, Thakoon and Templerly London. All are great examples of Target designer collaborations. Unfortunately, it looks like a CFO had the most significant input in this Rodarte collection.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Men's Roundup

This week we're breaking down all the sales. So far we've listed our sale finds from Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Even with all these lists we've overlooked the boys. Today we are dedicating ourselves to the men and the women who shop for them. Here is an encapsulation (we're not stopping) of sales occurring for men. Keep checking back throughout the day. We have several more stores to add.

Armani: We love the spacey feeling of Armani Fifth Avenue but really, how many Armani stores can be in a 15 block radius? We clock five. Anyway, we diverge. All collections of Armani, ranging from Giorgio Armani to Armani Jeans, are 40% off. We spotted several iconic unstructured suits marked down, along with Armani Exchange shoes and Armani Jeans denim.
Jennifer 212-207-1902

Ermenegildo Zegna: Most of the fall/winter collection has been marked down 40%, including shoes, sweaters, pants, and shirts. Suits are discounted just 30%. In prior seasons we've seen the Zegna discount go as low as 70%.
James 212-421-4488

Ralph Lauren: One thing that drives us crazy about Ralph Lauren is that the prices on the web don't match up to prices in the store. For example, most items ranging from Black Label to RLX were 50% off in the store but if you look at the site the discount is still just 40%. There are also so many different web coupons flying around that you never really know if you're getting the best price. Ralph, lets streamline things a bit. Okay?
David 212-606-2100

Tom Ford: The autumn collection has been cut in half. Everything from suits, to shoes, to sweaters is now half the price.
Contact: Mario 212-359-0300

Turnbull & Asser: Best known for dressing the Prince of Wales, Turnbull & Asser is the place to go for the perfect shirt. Forget about mass marketed Thomas Pink. We're talking bespoke, Be-spoke. Most frequent shoppers of T&A don't even know that that store has a major sale twice a year: January and July. Prices go as low as 80% to 90% off. Think $100 shirts and $50 ties. Nothing is marked down now but January is just a month away.
Michael 212-752-5700

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fifth Avenue and 57th Street Round-up

Yesterday we started our countdown to Christmas with an overview of sales happening along Madison Avenue. Today, we bring you a recapitulation (game on!) of the markdown along Fifth Avenue and across 57th Street.

Bottage Veneta: The bag sale, according to most sales people, never happened. Wink. Wink. Sure. Getting sale information about ready-to-wear and shoes is no problem. Anyone is happy to alert you to the fact that clothing and select shoes are 50% off. Just don't mention discounted bags because you will get sent straight to a department store. L'horreur, or should we say l'orrore!
Angeline 212-371-5511

Burberry: Our email box is filled daily with Burberry communications but try getting a sales person on the phone. The store is completely unable to communicate. After calling four times and being left on hold-- one time for nine minutes-- we decided we don't really care about Burberry THAT much. If the web site is accurate, the Porsum collection is discounted about 30%.
Sadia (212) 407-7100

Dior: Most of the fall/winter collection is off the sales floor "but there's a bit in the back we can take out for you." The discount on ready-to-wear is 40% and 50% off. Unfortunately, Ski gear is not on sale...yet!
Jenny 212-249-5822

Emilio Pucci: The Pucci sale started just last week so there is still a great selection of merchandise across the board. Most clothing, shoes and bags are 40% off and new items are still being added to the sale selection. To get a better idea of the sale selection, shop the web site.
Marcia: 212 230-1135

Ferragamo: There is a good amount of merchandise on sale. The discount is still just 35% off for clothing, shoes, scarves, wallets and handbags. We say wait for after Christmas. Prices here usually get get very good towards January/ February.
Nick 212-759-3822

Miu Miu: Clothing and shoes are marked down 50% off. Bags are 40% off. There's actually a good selection of discounted handbags including studded purses and classic style totes.
Judith 212-249-9660

Yves Saint Laurent: Shoes bags and clothing are now up to 60% off. There is still a quite a good selection of discounted bags that range from 40% to 60% off. The discount all depends on the popularity of the bag. For example, sale the popular Muse bag in python, metallic leathers and fur are 40% off.
Donald 212-832-710

Yipit Launches

We know you love Madison Avenue Spy because we serve up great sale information about all your favorite boutiques but there's more to New York than just shopping. Yes, just a bit more. Like, we need to eat right?

Yipit sorts though all the promotion clutter and serves up the best deals at restaurants, bar, spas and services from all over the city. Oh yes, they have shopping information too. (Some of which comes from us!) What's even cooler is that you can enter your personal information and Yipit's sale data will be localized to your specific neighborhood. We're talking a three block radius.

Our favorite Yipit deal came this fall, when David Burke Townhouse offered an Octoberfest lunch for $9. The Spies all loved the food and the price. Right now in our neighborhood, we can get 20% off a new bag at Artbag when we bring in a purse for repair, we can get a free glass of champers at Brasserie Julien or get 25% off a new coat at Barbour when an old coat is donated.

Pretty cool, huh? You can find out the best deals in your neighborhood or throughout the city by signing up here.

J.Crew Collection Markdowns

The J.Crew store, on Madison, always has nice sparkly things but for the price we figure that we can do better. Today, we passed through thinking it would be a fast stop but then we spotted a man with a markdown gun. (Always keep your eyes open for a markdown gun.)

In an unprecedented moment, tons of J.Crew collection items were being discounted. The markdown gun lead us to blouses that went from $79 to $19.99. We found a gorgeous wool coat that was reduced from $258 to $159. There was even sale jewelry. We found a jeweled necklace for just $20 and a floral sash was just $10 from $35. In addition, there was a great assortment candy colored cashmere crew-necks for $99. (Gift Alert!)

Don't bother shopping the website. The assortment of sale merchandise at the store is much more plentiful and the discounts are steeper.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Madison Avenue Sale Round-up

We are a mere ten days from Christmas and the pressure is mounting. For the final countdown we are going to canvas the city in order to find the best deals. Today we hit dozens of Madison Avenue women’s boutiques to form our most comprehensive sale round-up ever.

Carolina Herrera: Pre-fall and fall merchandise is 50% off. Don’t expect to find a large inventory and what’s left is a scattering of random size. So what’s your lucky size?
Naura (212) 249-6552

Chanel: We are sorry to report that there are no sale bags this season. If it makes you happy, jewelry and shoes are 40% off.
Stephanie 212-535-5505

Chloe: “We have loads of clothing and lots of bags,” all of which are discounted 40%. The shoe and boot collection is smaller but we think that there’s time for additional markdowns.
Incus: 212-717-8220

Christian Louboutin: The 40% off discount has been going on since Thanksgiving. What’s left? “It all depends on size.” Sale items include select fall/winter shoes, fashion pieces and a scattering of inventory from last spring/summer. The older merchandise isn’t discounted any further because: “We don’t ever go more than 40% at the boutiques.”
Erich (212) 396-1884

Dolce & Gabbana: Last weekend, our friends and family got a 60% off discount but mortals are only awarded with a 40% markdown. There is still a nice selection in clothing, shoes, accessories and handbags. The sale should go to 60% either right before or after Christmas. Keep your eyes open.
Rodney 212-249-4100

Gucci: Inventory is starting to run low, at Gucci as customers pick through the sale items. Ready-to-wear and shoes are 50% to 60% off. If there’s something you want, go now, because “there’s not much stock.”
Maura 212-717-2619

Jill Sander: The ready-to-wear, shoes and bags are 50% off. There is a “moderate” selection of sizes.
Jess (212) 838-6100

Jimmy Choo: There’s still a great selection of boots, bags and shoes, which are now 50% off. Sizes are also abundant. So you’re likely to find Cindy's lucky size.
Faisa 212-759-7078

Luca Luca: The discount ranges from 20% to 50% depending on the specific stock level for each item. At the 50% level there are several sweaters and dresses.
Solia (212) 288 9285

Michael Kors: Expect to find a lot of one-shoulder numbers, black and white sheaths, satin dresses, and neon frocks at Michael Kors. Fall and pre-fall is marked down 50% across the board. Just be warned: there are only four neon-pink strapless cashmere dresses! If you have a body and personality to pull that number off, we suggest you save money and just wear a bikini.
Denny 212-452-4685

Missoni: Upstairs, you will find fall/winter ready-to-wear discounted 40%. The men’s collection, downstairs to the right, is discounted 50% off. No. Scarves still aren’t on sale. We wonder if this is good sign for the economy. Call it, The Missoni Indicator.
Paige Newsam 212-517-9339.

Prada: Ready-to-wear and shoes are 50% off. Handbags and accessories are discounted 40%. There is an unusually large selection on Madison because “a new shipment just came in from Italy.” You’ve got to love customs.
Christina (Madison Ave.) 212-327-4200

Sigerson Morrison: Markdowns are still in progress. Select items are 30% off. There is a “good” selection of flats and boots on sale. We would wait for a larger and wider markdown before hailing a cab.
Contact: Amelia (212) 734-2100

Valentino: Expect to find a plentiful assortment of ready-to-wear, bags and shoes – all marked down 40%. Of course, the classic style bags aren’t on sale but you can still get the seasonal colors (patent green and gray) discounted. Robert 212-772-6969

Monday, December 14, 2009

Devi Kroell Discount Night

Devi Kroell, one of our favorite newcomers to Madison Avenue is gearing up for a holiday shopping incentive and second markdown. For two hours on Wednesday, Dec. 16th, Devi Kroell will be offering 15% off it's Handbags and full price merchandise. In addition, sale merchandise (shoes, RTW and Belts) will be marked down to 50% off the original price. The current markdown is 30% off.

If you haven't already passed through the Devi Kroell boutique, this would be the perfect time. Between now and Wednesday we are going to drive ourselves crazy over those pointy toe lizard wedges, which will be $345. Click here to see more about our favorite Devi items from our first trip to the store.

Devi Kroell Discount Night
Wednesday, Dec. 16th
6:00pm to 8:00pm
717 Madison Avenue @ 63rd Street

Sunday, December 13, 2009

L'Oreal Friends and Family + YSL Cosmetic Discount

Here is the L'Oreal friends and family info I promised. This is the perfect time to pick-up a few small holiday gifts. The sale starts on Wednesday, Dec. 16 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 20th.

Take note, the sale is no longer at the L'Oreal headquarters but takes place at the Met Pavilion. The promotion also states that you need a copy of the above invite to gain admittance.

While we are on the topic of cosmetics, YSLBeauty.com is hosting a friends and family cosmetic promotion. The 20% off discount starts on Monday, Dec.14 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 20th. Just use the discount code: FF2009 at checkout.

L'Oreal Friends and Family
Wednesday, Dec. 16 to Sunday, Dec. 20
10am to 8pm
125 West 18th St, 5th Floor

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ports 1961"Insanely Cheap"

As we suspected, the Ports 1961 sample sale is a real winner. Vava Vino hit the sale this morning and reports back that prices are "insanely cheap!"

Shoes are $38 for flats and $64 for heels. Clothes are a steal. Staff is helpful + an amazing press rack with prices ranging from $15 to $70 for gorgeous pieces all size 2. Line to pay is painful but no line to get in and large bright area to try on. Also, they have a small room with a kid's sample sale. Few pieces but beautiful pieces.

More details (unedited)
38 for a ports 1961 leather ballet flat + 60 for a gorgeous green skirt are equivalent to what s/o pays at H+M for junk!!
Place was super organized by size too.
Skirts were 60, sweathers were 45-60,dresses were 100-400. Saw a gorgeous lace dress marked down to 449 that was orig over 3.
Meticulous detailing and fabric.
People were snapping things up like mad! If you are size 2, sample rack was heaven!!!!!!!!!! Pants, skirts, tops and jackets for 25, 20,35.

Def a sale to go to- worth the trek. And, its a trek, but one that rewards you well!!!

The sale is only today, so if you want to get the goods you better make some time now.

Ports 1961
Friday, Dec. 11
11am to 7pm
601 west 26th Street, suite 875

DVF Cuts Prices

Just in from DVF staff (10:31am):

It is the last day of our Sample Sale and prices are reduced even more! $70 for dresses, $80 for wraps, $50 for skirts.

As of yesterday Paige Turner reported:

FYI: DVF slashed prices. Passed by lots of stuff but did not get anything. Barley any sweaters left. There are still tons of dresses and tops.

This is the last day of the sale but we all know that the next wrap dress discount is just six months away. Also, be on the the lookout for department store markdowns. DVF wrap dresses do go to $100, from time to time.

DVF Sample Sale
Friends, Family & Fans Monday, Dec. 7/ 11am to 6pm
Public Sale Tuesday, Dec 8 to Friday, Dec. 11
Tues: 9am to 6:30, Wed: 10am to 8pm, Thurs. 10am to 7pm, Fri. 9am to 3pm
260 Fifth Avenue (b/w 28th and 29th)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Madison Avenue Shake-Up

It appears as if Madison Avenue is undergoing a new shake-up. Juicy Couture executives have decided that Madison Avenue may not be the perfect location for their track suits and charm bracelets. The company is looking to sublet their Madison Avenue and 70th Street location for the remaining six years on their lease.

On other news, Eric Le-Goff, senior director of Cushman & Wakefield, tells us that Lanvin has been looking for space. We have a feeling that Juicy may be too big for Lanvin but the old YSL store on Madison and 71st Street is still empty?!
The lease Michael Kors store on Madison and 76th expires shortly?!

According to Le-Goff, we can expect to see french designer Barbara Bui, fine Italian cashmere designer Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana and Carolina Herrera's lower end brand CH joining the Avenue.

"We had a purge in the past 12 to 15 months," Le-Goff explains. "Brands that couldn't make it or shouldn't have been here-- didn't make it. People look for exclusivity on Madison. It’s what makes the street interesting. Juicy can easily be on Fifth Avenue. They are targeting a different customers."

There are currently 30 spaces available on Madison, but that number is quickly declining. At the height of the market, spaces were going for over $1500/ sq. ft. but that price dipped to $600 during the real estate panic ,last year. Now, Le-Goff estimates that most deals are taking place at $700 or $800/ sq. ft.

Lets hope that luxury designers start sharing the savings with us!

Extra Scoop Discount

Scoop is offering customers an extra 30% off. Lots of items are already 30% to 40% off so the extra discount brings the final savings to about half-off. We're still holding out for Scoop's end-of-season sample sale.

Last year, we found a Roberto Cavalli dress that was $1295 but reduced to $150 and a gorgeous Chloe knit that ended up costing about $260. You just have to love sale season!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ports 1961 85% Off

Today we are taking a break from uptown and looking at some great downtown brands. First up, starting Friday, Dec. 10, Ports 1961 will be hosting a sale where merchandise will be discounted at least 85% off.

The sale will be taking place in their showroom, which is always a good sign of great deals. The stock will contain all prior collections including, spring 2009. We are told many coats will be $75, jackets $40, tops $20 and shoes $75

Ports 1961
Friday, Dec. 11
11am to 7pm
601 west 26th Street, suite 875

Opening Ceremony Sample Sale

Opening Ceremony always makes us think of Barneys circa 1980. It's cool, it's small and has a distinct cult following. We are hoping that Opening Ceremony's sample sale is as good as the Warehouse sale of the good old days.

Merchandise will be from 60% to 90% off and will include edgy designers such as Vena Cava, Proenza Schouler (who are also hosting their own sample sale), Alexander Wang and of course, Opening ceremony. The sale is just three days, Friday, Dec. 11 to Sunday, Dec. 12.

The current store discount is about 40% off. Take note, the sample sale is not at the store. If you're not familiar with Opening Ceremony, take a look through their site. You are sure to be inspired.

Opening Ceremony
Friday, Dec. 11 to Sunday, Dec. 13
Fri & Sat 11am to 8pm, Sun. 12pm to 7pm
201 Mulberry Street (b/w Spring & Kenmare)
Credit cards accepted with a minimum purchase of $100

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana Friends and Family

You want friends and family? We'll give you friends and family.

Dolce & Gabbana boutiques are marking merchandise down 60%, starting Thursday, Dec. 10th. This sale is strictly for friends and family. Make sure to print the below image if you want to enjoy the additional discount. We have learned this lesson the hard way. (Aren't you happy we've become BFFs.)

If Dolce & Gabbana is still to pricey-- even after the f&f discount--wait until next week and the D&G label will be discounted the same amount.

Fall and winter merchandise is currently discounted 40% at both boutiques.The friends and family sale tends to get a bit hectic in the store. If you have the time, take a spin through now and ask your favorite sales person to put your selection aside.

Have fun and lets make sure to grab drinks real soon. We, really, never get to see each other. xoxo

Contact: Cono 212-249-4100

Madison Avenue Spy Gift Guide

Madison Avenue types maybe the hardest personality to shop for. If she likes it, she buys it. So, if she (or he) has everything, what do you get? Below is a list of suggestions, along with some money saving hints. And don't feel self conscious, everyone knows the best part of the holiday season is shopping for yourself.

1. Giuseppe Zanotti made the perfect high boot. It has a wearable heel and they can be slouched to look casual or rolled-up to go over the knee. The boots started at $1095 but are currently 30% off. We know the Giuseppe discount usually goes to 50% but this is a popular style. If your loved one is a size 8 or 11 you might luck out at Yoox.com, which has what looks like a very similar pair of boots for just $325.

2. Diptyque just opened a gorgeous store on Madison (@ 69th). Candles are $60, soaps $15 and perfume $120. Hint: Diptyque usually runs a sample sale in July, where candles are $25 to $35, room sprays are $25 and perfumes start at $25. For next year, remember to buy your Christmas candles in July.

3. All the uptown girls are raving over a spin studio (yes, that's exercises) called Soulcycle. There are two locations, one on 72nd and Columbus and Third and 82nd. The 45 minute classes transpire in candlelight and combine yoga and meditation techniques. A single class is $32. We don't know of any discounts besides buying a package but we do have a booking trick. Soulcycle classes are so popular that they usually fill up within an hour of open registration, which is noon on Monday, at Soul-Cycle.com. We have noticed, however, that bikes open the night before from cancellations. So if you can't think a week ahead, just pop on the site the evening before you want to spin.

4. Some people love buying fancy logo clad luggage but we think it's much more practical not to be flashy or draw attention in an airport environment. Our go-to travel brand is Bric's. It's stylish enough for our travel needs and holds up. Our favorite piece is the extra large travel tote ($130) that folds to the size of a soft cover children's book. We always pack the tote on the bottom of our suitcase and use it on way home to carry all our new purchases. We found our favorite 22" tote on eBags for $100.

5. Every lady must have a clutch for evening occasions. You get extra points if the bag is made of an exotic skin. VBH is always an easy Madison Avenue choice. We just happen to prefer the intimacy of Paige Gamble's boutique to the understaffed mausoleum VBH calls home. Even better, an Alligator clutch at VBH can cost you upwards of $3600 but a Paige Gamble alligator bag that's adorned with semi-precious stones is $2800.

6. It should not be overlooked that, above all, the holiday season is about family and giving. May we suggest bringing the family to see fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi, narrate a special presentation of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, at the Guggenheim Museum. The production runs from December 10 to December 14th at 4:00pm and 5:30pm every evening. Creating family memories is more valuable than any gift.

7. Speaking of family, shopping for toys uptown can be a disaster. Toys at local stores are often two to three times the price of big box stores. Sometimes you have to pay for convince. If we have enough time, we try to order our kid's toys from Walmart.com. (Yes, I understand the irony.) If time isn't on your side we suggest running to Daffy's on East or West 57th Street. There you will find a large variety of Alex art toys for a fraction of retail prices. There's also a great assortment of Dora and Hello Kitty toys.

8. Madison Avenue has always been a mecca for high-end retailers and is an obvious location for a dazzling array of jewelery stores. If you're not in the mindset to spend your entire depreciated 401k, you could head over to Mauboussin where an attractive semi-precious cocktail ring can be taken home for about $3,000. If you're looking for higher quality for less money, ask for Guy at the Manhasset location of London Jewelers. He will help you find a high quality gift for the perfect price.

9. Our very favorite chocolate store is Debauve & Gallais. It is a tiny shop just west of Madison at 69th St. Every thing in the chocolate jewel box is completely delectable. If it weren't for the price we would not be able to control ourselves. It's true, their chocolates are on the pricey side. One piece of chocolate can easily set you back $4. With those types of prices you would think they would be generous with sampling, but no. That practice was squashed about a year ago and chocolate shopping became a lot less fun. A less expensive alternative is always La Maison du Chocolat. (Who ever thought they would be in the less expensive category?) Chocolates here average half the price and they will allow you to try a bite before you buy a whole box.

10. Holiday season is synonymous with colder weather. And when the weather gets cold, out come the sweaters. Few articles of clothing feel more delicious on the body than a Ralph Lauren Black Label cashmere sweater. You can have one for years and years and years and years and every December it feels brand new. Spending almost $400 on a sweater isn't for everyone -- even if there are scattered sales. J. Crew, which is just a bit further up Madison is always a dependable substitute at $170.

Monday, December 7, 2009

DVF Sale Update

We just had an incredible morning at the DFV sample sale and can't wait to tell you all about it. The store is stocked with dresses galore. We saw black and white graphic print wrap dresses along with the spotted cat print in red and green/blue. There were also lots of basic sweaters and cardigans in brown, cream and yellow.

The prices? Not cheap but still significantly below retail.

Coats $350
Cocktail Dresses $275
Wraps and Vintage $150
Dresses $125
Jackets $125
Blouses $80
Skirts $80
Pants $80
Sweaters $80
Tess $40
Samples $50
Damages $40

The sale is certainly perfect for for a sweater, dress or top. We hear that restocking will take place on Wednesday. So try to go today or Wednesday for the best selection. Or hit the sale on Friday for the best prices.

DVF Sample Sale
Friends, Family & Fans Monday, Dec. 7/ 11am to 6pm
Public Sale Tuesday, Dec 8 to Friday, Dec. 11
Tues: 9am to 6:30, Wed: 10am to 8pm, Thurs. 10am to 7pm, Fri. 9am to 3pm
260 Fifth Avenue (b/w 28th and 29th)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

DVF Sample Sale

Friends, family and fans are invited to preview the Diane von Furstenberg sample sale one day early, starting Monday, December 7th at 11am. The sale opens to the general public Tuesday and continues through Friday.

At the last sale, wrap dresses started at $125 but were reduced to $100 towards the end of the sale. This is the type of sale where it's worth shopping at the beginning and bouncing for the extra $25. It's fun to go again on the final day of the sale but by then the merchandise is pretty wiped out and so are our wallets.

DFV has made appearances at prior sales and we look forward to a time when we get to hear a list of her favorite shopping secrets. For now, take a look through the DVF site and plan your attack. It's going to be a fund sale. It always is!

DVF Sample Sale
Friends, Family & Fans Monday, Dec. 7/ 11am to 6pm
Public Sale Tuesday, Dec 8 to Friday, Dec. 11
Tues: 9am to 6:30, Wed: 10am to 8pm, Thurs. 10am to 7pm, Fri. 9am to 3pm
260 Fifth Avenue (b/w 28th and 29th)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Coach Discount

Madison Avenue girls are not usually known for prettifying themselves in Coach. Receiving a discount card, however, caused us to take a closer look.

What did we find? First, we made sure to avoid the handbags. Then we ran into the sweetest lavender cashmere lined gloves ($98). We were hoping to find an acceptable pair of boots but there was nothing. A tween would likly enjoy carrying her lunch money in a wristlet ($98). Yup. That's all we could muster.

Lucky we aren't the brand's demographic but maybe you have a friend, neice, babysitter or sister-in-law who just adores Coach. In that case, you can save 25% off all your purchses at Coach boutiques between December 4 and December 13. Just make sure to take a copy of the above imagine with you on your shopping trip.

Good luck. Even if you don't like the gift you're purchasing we are sure they wrap beautifully.

Rodarte Sample Sale Details

Rodarte for Target is just hitting stores but if you're looking for the real thing -- at a discount-- you are going to want to hit the sample sale. One problem. The details of the sale are super secret. Only after you make an appointment and confirm do you receive the sample sale location.

No sweat. We've got it. Rodarte sample sale details are below. We are told that prices will range from $50 to $1,500.

Rodarte Sample Sale
Thurs., Dec. 3rd
Appointment only: andy@rodarte.net
Ace Hotel 20 West 29th St. (b/w 5th and Broadway)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Theory Sample Sale

We have the perfect sample sale for those of you with a practical sense of style. Theory is hosting a two day VIP sample sale followed by a six day of public sale.

According to Racked's archives,the sale isn't cheap and you should be careful of damaged clothing. Our resident spy, Paige Turner, reported that there were lots of markdowns towards the end of the sale. Tees and tanks were $20 and cardigans and sweaters were $60," Paige recalls.

The VIP part of the sale requires an RSVP . Good luck!
Thank you Mia for returning the phone and passing on this practical piece of information.

Theory Sample Sale
Public Sale: Fri., Dec. 4 from 11am to 7pm
Sat., Dec. 5 and Sun., Dec 6 from 11am to 5pm
Mon., Dec. 7 to Wed., Dec. 9 from 11am to 7pm
261 West 36th Street, 2nd floor (btw 7th & 8th Ave.)

Chanel Private Sale

Last week, we reported about the Chanel presale. As of today, it's officially being called a Private Sale. (What does that mean exactly?)

As with the presale, cloths and shoes are 40% off. There aren't any reductions on bags... yet.

Contact: Erman 212-355-5050