Sunday, February 28, 2010

Now Open: Perez Sanz

You can find the most wonderful treasures if you take a moment to peak along some of the side streets along Madison. As a matter of fact, just this week we stumbled upon Perez Sanz in the the space that was formerly occupied by Debauve & Gallais, on 69th Street, just west of Madison.

Perez Sanz carries an array of artisan accessories, including bags, belts, brooches, jewelry and household objects. The boutique's Argentine owner, Julio Perez Sanz is part designer and part artisan. Most of the items are handmade and adorned with a combination of silver, mother-of-pearl and semi-precious stones.

Sounds expensive, huh? We thought so too until we took a closer look at the price tags. Bags start at $350 for a leather and silver evening bag to $3,300 for a full-on silver and coral minaudière. An exquisite alligator bag with silver hardware is moderately priced at $1,850.

We especially like the Perez Sanz belt buckles, which could easily spice up a LBD or your normal winter wardrobe of jeans and a sweater. Buckles range in price from $100 for a small silver buckle to about $500 for one that is large and ornate. Some of the larger pieces also double as a large broach.

The boutique also carries lots of small and unique pieces of jewelry and household items like a silver candle snuffer, a large opal cuff and big cocktail rings. So if you're shopping along the Avenue and feeling uninspired, don't forget to look around the corner. There you may find something truly unique and luxurious.

Perez Sanz
20 East 69th Street
212- 249-5151

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Conran Un-Sale

Last month we reported that Conran was closing it's First Avenue location and moving to the ABC Carpet building, on Broadway. In preparation for the big move, merchandise was supposedly being marked down 75% or more.

With the March 31st closing date quickly approaching we figured we would check-up on the markdowns and hopefully take home a few great pieces of decor. Pink signs in the window loudly yell, "Moving sale, up to 75% off." Smaller black signs discretely add, "Take an additional 15% off already reduced sale merchandise." We couldn't wait to get our hands on affordable modern treasures.

After a quick look around it became very clear that very few items were actually on sale and those marked 75% off were horribly damaged. Patio furniture, not on sale. Most lighting, not on sale. Children's accessories, not on sale. So what was discounted? In a clearance department we found old display accessories reduced, but still not cheap. For example, a small bags of rocks were $5 each, a side table with a top that "would not screw on" was $40, bent and distorted silver wall decals were $2 and lamps that may not even work were $40.

Maybe some people consider this type of markdown to be a good sale but you know better, right? After all, you read Madison Avenue Spy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rene Caovilla Sale

We tend to think of Rene Caovilla as the Cartier of shoes. Maybe it's the royal red boxes, the spectacular gems or it could be the lofty prices. The association is probably a combination of the three but the expensive issue can temporarily be circumvented.

Several sandals from the summer '08 collection have been dramatically reduced. A quick browse through the online sale section reveals discounts of up to 75% off. A rather ornate Bulgary-looking shoe was $1295 but is now $453, a gemed flat was $1055 and is now $255 and an evening heel was $1275 but reduced to $446. There are a few bags also reduced but your money is probably better spent on shoes-- those are the real jewels here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Retail Therapy: Lauren Ezersky

There are so many reasons to love fashion- the beautiful colors, the sensual fabrics, the creative designs and, of course, the electrifying personalities. Lauren Ezersky one of those notorious fashion characters. Her strong Yonkers accent, white streaked hair and black uniform are just an accessory to her ability to personify a pain pair of black leggings into a high art form.

Lauren has been a front row fixture at fashion shows for as long as we can remember.
She hosted the show, “Behind the Velvet Ropes," which ran on the Style Channel for eight years and wrote a column for Paper magazine for a decade. Lauren is currently a fashion expert for, works for the fashion site Vevant and is a strong supporter of the North Shore Animal League.

Here’s a little insight as to the things that drive Lauren Ezersky when she’s not interrogating fashion designers and models, and is in fact, indulging herself.

What's your most prized "deal?”

An Azzedine Alaia coat I found at Barneys. It started off at $7000 and I think I paid $2500. It wasn’t cheap but it was a great deal. When I found it and I know I had to get it. It was a big deal. I wear it a lot. In fact, I almost sleep in it.

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?

I can’t remember the specifics but I remember there was something on sale and I didn’t get it. When I went back it was gone. It must have been a black dress. Everything is always black.

This season you are looking for...
Something really different. Something that I don’t already have. I am into jewelry right now. You can wear the same dress and just change the jewelry to make it look different. Then if you get desperate you can always sell it.

What's your number one shopping tip?

My number one tip is to make friends with a sales person. That’s the best thing. When you don’t want to play full price a good sales person will snatch an item for you and put it in the back until it gets marked down. If they can’t do that they will keep an eye on the item and give you a call when it goes on sale.

Oh, don’t shop with a friend they are distracting.

What's your biggest weakness?

When I see something I love, I have to have it. I end up spending money when I shouldn’t and can’t afford it. Buy now, pay later. It’s a disaster.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
Something that you have to have. When there’s only one in your size, it’s going to be gone by the time it goes on sale. Buy it and think about it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dueling Beauty Promotions

Saks and Neiman Marcus are running beauty promotions at almost exactly the same time. The Saks event runs from Feb. 25 to March 6th and shoppers who spend more than $75 receive a tote bag with several samples.

The Neiman Marcus promotion also starts Feb. 25th and continues until Mar 7th. Shoppers who purchase $100 worth of cosmetics or fragrance products will get a Neiman Marcus tote filled with, you guess it, several samples.

So how does a shopper determine the best value? Don't worry we've done the hard work. Here's a tête à tête comparison of Saks -vs -Neiman Marcus. Who do you think is offering the better deal?

Neiman Marcus Saks Fifth Avenue
Main Gift Choose from two tote bag designs Choose from three tote bag colors
Delux Samples Cleau de Peau's cotton pads, Dior foundation, Le Metier tinted moisturizer, Chantecaille eye cream, La Mer serum, Sisley face cream packette, Atelier fragrance , Van Cleef's Oriens, Glowelle drink mix and Balanciaga fragrance Fekkai shampoo, conditioner and serum packets, Lancome full-sized lipstick and Narciso Rodriguez fragrance.
Dior Spend $125 and you get: a white pouch with L'Or De Vie deluxe, deluxe bronzer, jadore deluxe and dior show mascara deluxe Spend $125 and receive a travel size mascara, travel size eye shadow and samples of cream
Nars Spend $100 and get a full sized nail polish and a multiple Receive a mini-lipgloss trio with $75 purchase
La Mar Spend $300 and get deluxe cream, eye concentrate, body cream and cleansing foam With any La Mar purchase you get travel size eye concentrate
Jo Malone Spend $150 and get a travel case and a colonge spray N/A
Chanel Spend $200 and get a shopping bag with lip color Face cream and body lotion. Receive a mini-shipping bag, samples of Allure and Chance, lip color and eye cream with a $150 prucahse
Additional Stuff N/A The tote bag comes with additional incentives including, a certificate for $50 off any sunglasses ($250, or more), a certificate for $20 off any Spanx ($100, or more) and a
certificate for 6-week supply of Neulash with $150 Neulash purchase

Sonia Rykiel Pour H&M

The Sonia Rykiel line for H&M only hit racks on Saturday but most New York stores are almost sold out. Today we stopped by H&M's 86th Street location to see what knits were left in the wake of this weekend's madness.

We were surprised to find that there was very little inventory considering how long the Sonia Rykiel lingerie line hung around. A man dismantling one of the Sonia Rykiel displays told us that all the children's clothing was sold out within hours and he thinks this may be the best selling collaboration H&M has ever done. (Yes, that would make it better than Jimmy Choo.)

So what can you still buy from the Queen of Knits? We found three horizontal striped dresses, two pink rhinestone sweaters, about a dozen jumpsuits, several black asymmetrical knit dresses and a couple hot pink knit dresses. In the accessories department there are still lots of bangles, belts, scarves, barrets and shoes. We were even able to find a few Sonia Rykiel dolls behind the counter. Click here to go through a full set of pictures.

Stake out the cashier if you have a hankering to get your hands on Coco Rykiel's designs. Those who overbought over the weekend are coming back in full force to get their money back. Also, the second inside display (shown above) is coming down at 2:15pm today and the window's merchandise is being swapped out at 10:00am tomorrow. The display sizes are small and extra small and the kid's are wearing two to four-year sizes.

You know what you have to do!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Robert Marc Eyewear Sale

The Robert Marc eyewear boutique is hosting a winter sale where select optical and sunglasses will be half-off. The biggest discount is on the house brand of the same name but Lunor, Blinde and Oakley glasses will also be included in the sale.

The above glasses were designed by Robert Marc and worn by Calista Flockhart's character, in Brother's & Sisters. The frame usually retails for $445 but is now half off.

The sale runs from Monday, Feb. 22nd until Sunday, March 14th. Robert Marc has five stores along Madison between 48th Street and 92nd Street, in addition to a boutique on the West Side and two downtown locations. Click here to find the store closest to you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where's Aldo?

Fashion week is over and we undoubtedly had a blast. Above all, the Tents were a wonderful place to get inspired but not everything comes with a mortgage-worthy price tag.

As unbelievable as it sounds, fashion designers are always a fantastic source for budget-friendly fashion ideas. After all, much of their money goes into manufacturing their designs. For many designers, buying shoes is a necessary nuisance. (Remember season one of Project Runway.)

After hanging back stage at numerous fashion shows, we couldn't help but notice how many designers filled in their standard Manolo, Choo, Louboutin, Prada and YSL shoes with Aldo. Yes, Aldo shoes were as easy to find as a 6-foot toothpick.


Where did we find Aldo? Christian Cota, Gar-de, Mandy Coon, Pamella Roland and threeASFOUR.

Following our Fashion Week inspiration, we stopped by our local Aldo. (The winter collection is up to 70% off.) Unsurprisingly, shoes made of faux-leather were as fine as a non-flamable nightgown, but we found lots of spring/summer styles made of genuine leather uppers.

We especially loved the Louboutin-looking patent leather sandle booties ($80), McQueen-like high collered ankle boots ($100), Chanel-ish wedge-heeled clogs ($90) and Gusseppi-style jeweled flats ($45). Go ahead, take a browse for yourself. You can even wait it out for a sale because we all love a cheap thrill.

McQueen Frenzy

Since the untimely death of Alexander McQueen, fans have been paying tribute to the designer the best way shoppers know how-- buying his designs. We've noticed that inventory of his current collection has been selling out quickly. This is quite a contrast from last season, when his pricey merchandise was aggressively discounted.

Even before Christmas, his Meatpacking boutique discounted the winter collection 60%. It's not even March and inventory is running low. On Net-a-Porter, McQueen merchandise is also selling out fast. A yellow lace satin embroidered silk dress, a signature item from the collection, is sold out except for one size. Cropped paint splashed jeans, one size left. An eagle print sift dress, one size. Knitted asymmetric spiral dress, one size. Are you following?

A spokesperson for Net-a-Porter wouldn't comment about the renewed desire for McQueen merchandise. Though the UK Times reports that McQueen sales have soared 1400%. This is quite a turn for a company that has reported losses every year from 2001 to 2008, when a small profit was made. Economic turmoil sent the McQueen brand back into the red in 2008.

A sales person for Decades Two, the LA designer consignment shop, told us that they are almost sold out of everything McQueen. (They have two pair of men's shoes if you're interested.) Prior to the designer's death, the store had a few items, including blazers and scarves. They receive several calls a day inquiring about the designer's legacy merchandise. In general, the demand is for clothing and not scarves or accessories she said.

If only we went with our instincts and invested in our favorite dress from last season rather than saving up for a Kandinsky. At least PPR, which holds a controlling stake in Alexander McQueen (and Gucci), announced that they will "continue to build the brand" and “The Alexander McQueen trademark will live on."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fashion Week: Oscar de la Renta

Anyone would be hard pressed to find a piece from any Oscar de la Renta collection that wasn't beautiful. Although the same could be said about his most recent runway show, we must say that we weren't very surprised. Glamour, beauty and quality are expected of a master designer, such as Oscar but we missed a special magic that existed in prior seasons. Maybe it was the styling or the economic realities of retail but sometimes need over-the-top glamour and dazzle is necessary.

Oscar de la Renta Fall 2010

Who is the customer: Fifth Avenue

Why buy: Classic beauty is always in style.

What to buy: Color. We loved the reds, greens and purples in the collection but our favorite piece is this plumb cashmere coat with dyed fox collar.

Bypass: Outdated hats. A good rule of thumb is that if an item ages a model it will send you straight to Miami.

Overall contribution to fashion: Always perfect for the woman of a certain age.

Fashion Week: Norma Kamali

Norma Kamali has never been known to maintain the status quo. She has a long track record in changing the retail environment: Customers are encouraged to take home clothing and review it at their leisure for a 48-hour duration, sales experts consult customers over Skype and her Fall 2010 collection can be purchased immediately.

This season, Norma partnered with SkanLife, a mobile technology that allows customers to scan bar codes with their iPhone or Blackberry to get detailed information about a product. In the case of Norma Kamali's new eye wear collection. browsers that scanned the accompanying sign were shown a short video about the sunglasses collection.

For Norma's presentation she displayed all her collections, which include her collaboration with Walmart, an eBay collection that all retails for under $350 and her signature OMO designs. We love how her fashion is always iconic regardless of price.

Norma Kamali Fall 2010

Who is the customer: Walmart utilitarian to uptown eccentric

Why buy: You appreciate the creativity of an all-in-one and value a personal sense of style

What to buy: The high-tech fabric is as warm as a sleeping bag but oh so stylish. We are also going to pick up an all-in-one striped tunic on our next shopping trip.

Bypass: A parachute ball gown may be a bit too eccentric.

Overall contribution to fashion: Staying true to your core roots while embracing change is a true talent.

Fashion Week: Tory Burch

This season, Tory Burch deviated from her signature iconic caftan and shifted into a much more fashion forward and bold collection. Of course there were classic pieces but they were all shown with a twist of young artful sophistication: slouchy sailor trousers were shown with a sparkly mesh top, tweed jackets were paired with contrasting tweed pants and a hooded sweater became dazzling with sequined sleeves.

Tory Burch is proving to be as talented of a fashion designer as she is a mass merchandiser. Lets hope she keeps continues. Girls, get ready to trade in your ballet flats for high-heel hiking boots.

Tory Burch Fall 2010

Why buy: You know you can rock it.

What to buy: Bold red print dress with lively embellished sleeves

Bypass: Winter shorts with tights is always a hard sell.

Overall contribution to fashion: We love watching a fashion designer evolve.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fashion Week: Pamella Roland

Pamella Roland is best known for creating flawless red carpet looks. This season she channeled classic Venetian glamour and combined it with a sharp 2010 attitude. The soft silhouettes and structured suits were shown in winter white, purple and silver. Of course there were lots of beading, glitter and metallic. We especially went ga-ga for the detailing in the jeweled tights. Talk about attitude.

Pamella Roland Fall 2010

Immediately after the fashion show we caught up with Pamalla and asked her a few questions about dressing up:

Who is your customer: My daughter's are now in their 20's and their input is becoming more apparent in my collections. These days I am designing both for mother's and their daughters.

What to buy: The violet chiffon gown with the asymmetrical bodice is striking and will look great on a variety of customers.

Advice: When shopping for a special occasion dress bypass trends and choose a gown that looks great on YOUR body.

Filene's Basement Closing

The Filene's Basement in Chelsea is closing and cleaning shop by marking down merchandise from 70% to 90% off. Signs in the store contend that the store lost its lease and will be closing on March 6th.

Merchandise is already running very low and a store manager said that the closing date has been moved up to February 26. He also told us that close-out merchandise from their 79th street & Broadway location will be added to the inventory daily.

So what deals are to be found? Um. Not much quality, that's for sure. We did, however, find a few racks of Armani reduced an extra 75%. Slacks that once retailed for $500 are now $30, a straight-off-the-runway looking rouched blazer was $12,600 at retail but is now $650 and a velvet blazer started at $3,700 at retail but is now $200.

Overall, the merchandise is lackluster but we are sure that those who love to dig can uncover some real jewels.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fashion Week: Jill Stuart

Hosting a fashion show in the Astor Court of the New York Public Library is quite a statement. Just being there reminds of us of watching Chanel at the Rodin Museum, in Paris. Leave it to Jill Stuart to leap over a bar being held that high. The collection started with a military theme with lots of kelly green and high lace-up boots. The inspiring military boots continued throughout the show but the look took a quick right turn onto rock-and-roll. A combination of tartan plaids, heavy knits, intent tailoring, thick leather belts, metallic and sparkles made this collection a fashion week favorite.

Jill Stuart Fall 2010

Who is the customer: A little bit of up-town and a little bit of rock-and-roll, no country.

Why buy: You know you can rock it.

What to buy: We'll take one pair of those lace-up boots and a chunky sweater with eagle strong shoulders --to go please.

Bypass: Velvet with sparkles is like gilding the lily.

Overall contribution to fashion: Sophistication can be young.

Fashion Week: Monique Lhuillier

It's hard not to fall in love with the romance of long gowns. As a designer, it's even harder not to fall into the cliche of designing for a fairytale princess. Monique Lhuiller was able to steer clear of Snow White by channeling the feel of a strong warrior and punctuating her flawless designs with powerful reds.

Monique Lhuillier Fall 2010

Who is the customer: Oscar nominees and black tie circuit

Why buy: Flawless beauty without the cliche

What to buy: We were captivated by the way the chiffon on this red gown moved. The asymmetric neckline is also a nice twist on a very classic design.

Bypass: The red duchesse draped gown with the floral skirt. The detailing was so heavy that it's hard to pay attention to the woman in the dress.

Overall contribution to fashion: Evening wear that shines.

Lana Marks Sale

We interrupt our incisive fashion week coverage to bring you news of a huge Lana Marks sale. The exotic skin handbag boutique is discounting handbags from 30% to 50% off.

Totes that normally range in price from $12,000 to $25,000 are discounted 60% off. The famous Lana Marks clutch that regularly ranges in price from $6,000 to $9,000 is now 50% off. There is still a wide variety of colors left in the clutches, including navy, black, Burgundy and royal blue.

Not all exotic skins are created equally, hence the high prices. Lana Marks uses AAA quality skins-- the highest quality rating We are told that they are the same quality as Hermes. In contrast, exotic handbag maker Nancy Gonzalez's handbags are much more affordable because her skins may contain flaws. It's like a diamond da'rling.

Lana Marks bags are also sold in Bergdorf Goodman and once in a while, at the end of the season, you can find super reduced leftover. Keep your eyes open because great quality should never be compromised.

Contact: Shawn 212-355-6135

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fashion Week: Lela Rose

Lela Rose always shows an elegant and sophisticated collection filled with stunning cocktail dresses and gowns. This season, Lela was inspired by the celestial sky of the Galapagos Islands. The elegant designs were filled with colors and textures that shimmered and glistened. Many of the dresses may look simple but that's just the outcome of great craftsmanship.

Lela Rose Fall 2010

Who is the customer: One ISO elegant femininity

Why buy: These dresses can only extenuate your natural beauty

What to buy: There were so many gorgeous dresses and gowns but we especially love the woven bodice and print in this dress.

Bypass: Jackets that may come off looking like they are for an older customer.

Overall contribution to fashion: Pretty is always classic.

Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

Irina Shabayeva is best known for being the season six winner of Project Runway. The 27-year-old was born in the Republic of Georgia and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her most recent collection, prodigiously shown as part of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, reminded us very much of Roberto Cavalli. The collection is best summarized as a long night spent clubbing in Moscow. Don't lose your watch!

Irina Shabayeva Fall 2010

Who is the customer: The wives (and girlfriends) of Oligarchs

Why buy: Nothing spells lux better than fur.

What to buy: A trapper hat is the perfect February accessory but is even more delicious when paired with soft white cashmere.

Bypass: Feathers. How does one clean all those feathers?!

Overall contribution to fashion: This collection is living proof that Moscow can be a wild place.

Fashion Week: Vivienne Tam

Kung Hei Fat Choi-- Happy Chinese New Year!
Vivienne Tam's collections always showcases her heritage, but this year, The Year of the Tiger, Vivianne showcased flawless designs inspired by all types of animals. We especially loved the playful textured tights that added a splash of wild to almost every design.

Vivienne Tam Fall 2010

Who is the customer: Sophistication with a touch of wild-side

Why buy: It only takes one great piece to spice up an outfit or woredrobe.

What to buy: We liked lots of the flounced blouses or heavy long vests but this cream colored coat with the chic funnel-neck is dying to come home with us.

Bypass: Feather dress or skirt.

Overall contribution to fashion: Wouldn't it be wild to celebrate New Year's all-year long?

Fashion Week: Twinkle by Wenlan

The Twinkle by Wenlan collection is one that is chic and comfortable. Big chunky sweaters to see-through knits, Wenlan Chia has assembled a line that is stylish, timely and cozy. By mingling knit gauges and piles, Wenlan's designs become three-dimensional and full of texture. After all, a cozy sweater is a lot more than an throw blanket with sleeves. The Twinkle collection is currently sold at more than 350 boutiques and specialty stores throughout the world, including Wink, in our neighborhood.

Twinkle by Wenlan Fall 2010

Who is the customer: Bergdorf's 5th Floor, (although it's not currently sold there.)

Why buy: Sophistication and style transcend the chunk

What to buy: We love how this oversized sweater looks belted. We also liked the way a wild printed legging looked with a great solid knit sweater.

Bypass: Brown print dresses.

Overall contribution to fashion: More stylish and novel than Vince but also affordable.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dress Up at Kimberly Taylor

A few weeks ago we happened to stumble upon a great discovery - the new Kimberly Taylor boutique in the Meatpacking District. This chic store features a beautiful collection of silk jersey cocktail dresses, silk party dresses, vests, tops and skirts, all of which retail for under $325.

Better yet, Kimberly Taylor is currently holding a Valentines Day promotion where customers receive $100 off any two items they purchase from the new Spring 2010 collection. An amazing deal, considering that certain pieces such as the silk dress shorts are only $125. The cutout dress above is just $250 and can be fashionably worn to hang with Patricia Field at the Hudson Hotel`s Good Units or to a romantic dinner at Daniel.

Kimberly Taylor boutique
400 West 14th Street

Sponsored Post

Fashion Week: Christian Siriano

Christian Siriano may have found his voice on Project Runway but he is truly one of the greats. One can only hope that this young talent has a good CFO because there is no lack of talent. The collection was, fierce! Black coats, jackets and dresses were fitted perfectly and touched with soft flouncing. Each look was more fabulous than the next but the real show stopper was the shoes, which were inspired by Louie XVI.

Christian Siriano Fall 2010

Who is the customer: A fashion lover who has the nose to know great talent when she sees it.

Why buy: You appreciate great tailoring and imagination.

What to buy: The obvious choice is a ball gown for the red carpet. If you're not in the market for white tie attire, go for a fitted dress or coat with flouncing.

Bypass: Chiffon layered trapeze dress.

Overall contribution to fashion: This was Siriano's third collection shown at Bryant Park and we know there will be decades more. (Well maybe not at Bryant Park, but you get the point.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fashion Week: Ports 1961

Under the creative direction of Tia Cibani, Ports 1961 has turned out women’s ready-to-wear lines that are classic but never boring or predictable. The designs are often structured with a romantic twist or a note of ethnic roots. This collection took a bit of a turn showing lots of unstructured and draped dresses and coats in neutral tones like, beige, olive, dark gray and coffee.

Ports 1961 Fall 2010

Who is the customer: The Ports 1961 customer is sophisticated, worldly and very astute to quality. We love that the designs are feminine but always chic and sometimes edgy.

Why buy: As usual the fabric and textures were a major component to the collection. Watching the show you just wanted to reach out and touch every garment. Any and all of the looks could be worn straight off the runway .

What to buy: A wonderfully tailored coat.

Bypass: The print jumpsuit. It looked great belted on the model but most of us aren't models.

Overall contribution to fashion: Looking pretty doesn't doesn't mean giving up on the chic factor.

Fashion Week: Duckie Brown

The duo behind Duckie Brown, Steven Cox and Daniel Silver, have a knack for attracting the cool guys. And you know where cool guys go, chic girls follow. Much of the collection was a combination of traditional plaids that were always mixed and never matched. All of the looks were worn with cropped pants. We loved the use of color especially as it was used in tweeds.

Duckie Brown Fall 2010

Who is the customer: Bavo's Launch My Line, contestant and consummate dandy Patrick McDonald, Ugly Betty's fashion loving kid brother, Mark Indelicato and a fashion forward Jeffery customer.

Why buy: You don't work at Goldman and have you do have a knack for looking great.

What to buy: A cool combination of plaids

Bypass: Too much matching tweed

Contribution to fashion: Dressing up can be fun, exciting and lux. Daniel, Steven and the men who wear Duckie Brown are living proof.

McQueen Tragedy

We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the talent and artistry Lee Alexander McQueen gave the fashion world and his customers. We will forever be inspired by his work.

The McQueen website and online store has been taken down-- we hope -- temporarily. Be sure to take a look when it's live again because his spring collection was amazing. We were/are looking froward to purchasing his yellow and black prints. This collection will be archived and catalogued like the fine art it is. If you can grab a piece of fashion history.

McQueen was a fashion icon and like many of the good ones, he died too young.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Henri Bendel Instant Savings

Henri Bendel may not be selling ready-to-wear any longer but they have done a super job concentrating on their jewelry department. Just in time for Valentines Day, the department-store-turned-accessory-store is offering instant discounts when you spend $200 or more from
Just got your FB message: I can do the 17th too.

This isn't one of those department store shopping incentives where you spend some now and then get a gift card where you end up spending lots of money later to use your silly $50 gift card. The savings is instant. The price levels are as follows:

Spend $200 ore more, receive $35 off
Spend $350 ore more, receive $70 off
Spend $500 ore more, receive $125 off
Spend $750 ore more, receive $185 off
You get the picture...

We love these rivet stack bangles ($98) and very David Yurman. Take a look at this mulit strand pearl necklace ($198). It's a great way to dress up a black cashmere sweater and jeans combo. Or try this rocking cocktail ring ($78).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Retail Therapy: Liz Lange and Jane Wagman

Liz Lange made a name in creating chic clothing for women baking with babies. But there comes a time that every baby must grow up. Liz Lange is moving onto ready-to-wear and launching a collection-- Completely Me by Liz Lange--which will range in price from about $25 to $60, on HSN starting Feb. 19.

It's hard not to develop a serious shopping problem when you grow up on the Upper East Side. Liz and her sister, Jane Wagman, started their careers working at the fashion temple we fondly refer to as Vogue. The sister duo is now hitting the world wide web and sharing their eye for fashion on Shopafrolic where they pick out best buys and wonderful fashion finds. Today we get some serious shopping tips from sisters who both love shoes, specifically Chanel boots, and the exhilarating powers of a really good buy.

Hey, you're bound to learn a life lesson or two when you spend enough time playing in the rock garden of the YSL boutique. What do you think?

What's your most prized "deal?”

Liz Lange: My most prized deal changes from season to season but at the moment it is a large oversized navy patent leather Prada pocketbook with great gold hardware. I snagged it at half price and it is big enough to fit everything I need in a day. It's great for travel and since in patent leather, I feel comfortable bringing it to the pool. It was under $1,000, which for Prada, is amazing.

Jane Wagman: The Silver tipped, Fox fur coat I just scored at the Manhattan Vintage show for $650 (cash). The bottom zips off to transform the coat into a perfect car-coat and then I can wear the "bottom" as an amazing fur wrap. It's a 3-for-1! I did pass a Siberian Husky on the street today and thought we looked separated-at-birth, so that might explain the price.

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?

LL: Shopping like life is about never looking back. There are no items that I truly regret not purchasing. That said, there was a little jersey dress in the Gucci resort collection, this season, that I saw in Palm Beach and should have grabbed!

JW: The black Chanel knee high boots Liz bought this season. I wanted them in brown so badly. Dreamt about them but didn't buy them. I should have as they are classic. I still think about them. Every time I see Liz in hers I get a little (or big) pang of regret.

This season you are looking for...

LL: This season I am looking for anything and everything Chloe. They really have their game on right now. Also, nautical. I can't get enough navy, white, red and rope! Chanel and Gucci all have fab looking nautical pieces this season.

JW: Spring/Summer - short shorts, skirts, dresses, flirty tops. Already thinking about next Winter and I want a fur hood (a la Audrey Hepburn in Charade)

What's your number one shopping tip?

LL: My number one shopping tip is, when in doubt walk away. If you can't stop thinking about it, then you should go back the next day and buy it. If you forget about it after leaving the shop, clearly it wasn't meant to be. And nothing is too expensive if you wear it all the time and conversely even the cheapest item is too much money if you never end up wearing it.

JW: Buy it... and lie about the price! You only live once. A new purchase really makes you happy.

What's your biggest weakness?

LL: I have a huge weakness for little short skirts and little dresses. My favorite "little black" ones are Prada but really I buy them everywhere and anywhere from to Versace and everything in between.

JW: Is shopping an answer or is that the given and the question is "what is my shopping weakness?" I would have to say shoes. Good shoes transform any outfit. I often pick my shoes first and then plan the outfit to go with them.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?

LL: You should never mind paying full price for great shoes. Shoes are delivered early in the season (particularly boots!) and if you don't buy them then, you greatly run the risk of losing out. I always buy my Louboutins, Manolos and Chanels at full price when I see them and I wear them forever, so I don't feel badly about the price.

JW:Shoes, Bags, watches. But always try for the sale! You can often find amazing things at the end f a season/ But if you love something buy it full price or you risk not getting it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ungaro 75% Off

The marketeer who suggested that Lindsy Lohan pay artistic advisement to Emanuel Ungaro must be in major trouble. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a MBA from Northwestern to forecast a fashion disaster in the making. Sure, Justin Timberlake could lend his eye towards some jeans and tee shirts and 50 Cent can put is name on sweatshirts but Ungaro needs a Designer.

You can now rubberneck the Lindsy train-wreck, which is just hitting stores. While you're there, take a look through the fall/winter merchandise because its been reduced to 75% off. Unlike many Madison Avenue boutiques, Ungaro is stocked with past-season inventory. There are lots of dresses from which to choose.

We're just not sure how much longer this brand can exist with disappointing collections. After all, who wants to own any clothing that is associated with LL-- even if it were free.

Contact: Kenny 212-249-4090

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Naomi to Sashay for Haiti

Fashion Week is like the Superbowl of fashion. The biggest and the brightest take to the Tents to display their talent. And it's not always the fashion designers that steal the show. Talent comes in a variety of specialties including, stylists, make-up artists, hair designers, and, oh yes, the models.

If you have ever seen Naomi Campbell walk the runway, you know why she is paid the big bucks. This season, you can get in on the action and catch Naomi doing what she does best.

On February 12 Naomi will star in "Fashion for Relief," to benefit benefit CARE to raise crucial funds towards rebuilding Haiti’s healthcare system for mother and children. Tickets cost between $100 and $150 and are available via The runway show will be hosted by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and will feature internationally recognized designers, celebrities and VIPs. All the donated garments will be auctioned online at Net-a-Porter starting March 15.

The show will be styled by Rachel Zoe, hair by Orlando Pita, and make up by Charlotte Willer for Maybelline New York.

Event Details:
Fashion For Relief-Haiti NYC, 2010
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Bryant Park, New York City
Friday, February 12th 2010
Tickets are still available:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Manolo Sale: Last Day

At this point, we may want to change the name of this site to Manolo Blahnik Spy-- but that's only because the sale is that good. Tomorrow, Feb. 5th, is the last day and we thought we would paint a picture for those of you who are still procrastinating.

At this point, the crowds are pretty thin and sizes and assortment are quickly diminishing. The price list goes as so: Blue sticker $185, green sticker $225, yellow sticker $250, red sticker $350 and alligator shoes are priced as marked, most of which are $700, from $4100!

The majority of shoes we picked up were in the category of $225 or $250, short boots were $250 and high boots were $350.

These prices are even better than last year, when shoes and boots were priced up to $400 (there was an orange sticker!) and alligator shoes were $1500. Of course, there will be a Manolo sample sale next month but who wants to shop in a hotel and deal with eBay crazed shoppers?

This sale is just one more day. If you want Manolos, go now.

Alessi Closeouts

Sometimes we get a bit obsessed with clothing and accessories. We don't, however, live in a cardboard box. On occasion we need to take the time to nourish our surroundings with beautiful and inspiring design. Alessi's designs are the perfect intersection between whimsy and functionality.

Until the end of the month both Manhattan's Alessi stores are moving out overstock, discontinued items and floor samples at up to 70% off. We took a peak in at the 60th Street location and found breadboxes reduced 25% to $42, limited edition sugar and creamer set 40% off to $94, limited edition gold vases 50% off or $200 each, most serving trays are 20% off, many serving utensils are 20% to 25% off, dinner flatware 60% off and some funky bud vases were reduced to $25 from $95.

Just be warned: Alessi's most popular designs like the Anna cork screw and popular tea kettles are not on sale. Call ahead if you have something specific in mind.

30 E. 60th St. @ Madison Ave.
130 Greene St. @ Prince St.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chanel's Inventory Issues

Classic-style Chanel bags have increased in price about 10%. Even so, they are harder to find than a pop-star without shoulder pads.

Below is the a unofficial price list for Timeless Classic (TC) and Reissue style bags:

TC Medium/Large Caviar from $2425 to $2600
TC Medium/Large Lamb from $2695 to $2850
TC Jumbo Caviar from $2650 to $2995
TC Jumbo Lamb from $2850 to $3250
TC Maxi Caviar from $2895 to $3295
TC Maxi Lamb from $3195 to $3500

Reissue 225 from $2695 to $2850
Reissue 226 from $2795 to $3250
Reissue 227 from $3095 to $3600

Chanel raising prices doesn't seem very newsworthy, however, the lack of inventory has us wondering. Is Chanel trying to control their brand by holding back product? Could there have been a production mishap? Has demand for classic bags skyrocketed?

Several calls to Chanel's public relations representative were not returned. Sales people, however, were quite forthcoming about their opinion. One Chanel saleswoman speculated that they cut production because they were becoming too mainstream. Another Chanel bag specialist said she thought that the shift in the economy has customers choosing to spend their money on more classic style bags.

The lack of Chanel inventory has more to do with dramatic economic shifts than a corporate scheme to manipulate customers, according to Patricia Pao, CEO of the Pao Principle, a global consulting firm for luxury companies.

Like many luxury brands, Chanel's sales fell off significantly when the economy made a quick nosedive, in September 2008, Pao explains. There was no other choice but to cut back significantly on production.

"It was a prudent move as demand did not pick up until Christmas 2009," Pao says. "The pent up demand surprised Chanel. Basically, by Christmas they had sold out of all of their basic stock in all of their boutiques in both RTW and accessories leaving them in a situation where they left a lot of money on the table."

Pao says, she thinks that the core Chanel customer has returned and the company will see healthy improvements for Spring 2010. In the meantime, the waiting lists are growing and Chanel customers want their bags-- even if they do cost $500 more.

What do you think?

Lila Dishes for The National

Dubai just celebrated the opening of the tallest building in the world, started taking bookings for the first ever Armani hotel and welcomed the first international Bloomingdales. Well, Dubai actually started with two Bloomingdales. One location is a three-floor, 146,000-square-foot fashion and accessories store and the other is a 54,000-square-foot housewares store.

Lila Delilah dishes to the Middle East's leading English daily newspaper about the New York Icon:

“As far as luxury goes, Bloomingdale’s falls within the middle of the New York department store hierarchy,” explains Lila Delilah, the editor of the popular New York shopping blog Madison Avenue Spy. A longtime luxury shopper, Delilah launched the blog in May 2008 in response to the lack of information about top sales in Manhattan available on the web. Since then, she has developed a cult following.

“Bloomingdale’s has a wider assortment of price points and is less intimidating to many customers,” says Delilah. “They carry more bridge/diffusion lines, which attracts a more economically diverse clientele.”

Click here to see Lauren Sherman's full article. Get this, the Dubai Bloomingdales will even have a 40 Carrots and Magnolia Bakery. For now, can we keep Duncan Hines our little secret?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Manolo Slashes Prices

We waited through the first markdown, 1/3 off. We bit our nails when the discount went to 50%. Ladies, the day is here. Manolo Blahnik has started their super semi-annual sale and shoe prices have been slashed to 75% off.

The store is so crowded that you would think Mr. Manolo was there himself giving shoes away. Some shoe may say that these prices are almost as good as free. Tall boots are $350 and shoes and booties range from $185 to $250.

The sale runs for three more days, until February 5th. If you're looking for a great deal we suggest you switch out of your heels and take a run over there asap.

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

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

Retail Therapy: Alison Brod

Alison Brod, started the public relations firm of the same name 13 years ago and represents some of the largest names in fashion, like Jill Stuart, Oscar Blandi, Guerlain, Liz Lange and Kooba. Her professional success can be attributed to the fact that her clients represent the brands that Alison loves.

Alison's shopping (and business) philosophy is one that is quite simple: more, is more. One is never enough, two is sufficient but more is better. Her addiction spans from Pucci prints-- which punctuate almost every wall of her office-- to vintage jewelry. Shoes, handbags, furs and one shoulder dresses are just a few of the passions that have motivated this five star shopper.

Take two and tell us what you think.

What's your most prized "deal?”

A chubby sapphire and diamond ring purchased on a good month at the Sotheby's Fine Jewels auction. More expensive than the pair of shoes that would have made me happy, but so much better priced than the similar stones I saw on Fifth Avenue. Sometimes you may spend 50 or 60 times more than you wanted to in a normal day, but it will be worth it.

Also, Pologeorgis for furs - don't hate me fur people, but I had a designer coat made at wholesale and used a tip that my mother gave me: have it lined with zippers. Now, I can zipper off layers and have a 3-in-1 jacket.

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?

When the dollar was decent I found a ream colored Suhali Fabuleaux Louis Vuitton bag--Louis Vuitton's answer to the Birkin. I already had the black and thought it was too much to have the cream. Now it is almost twice the price at close to $5000. I also found a baby blue Hermes clutch in a random Hermes outpost at the Java airport. These are two times that I didn't cave into my weakness, which is...

What's your biggest weakness?

When the opportunity strikes to buy more than one of something, I can't resist. Hard to find pumps show up at Barneys in two colors...I take two. Extra soft cashmere sweater in slightly different shades of pink? Two, in case something happens to the first. And maybe a third to leave in the Hamptons.

A look in my closet unearths few actual styles of shoes, but each one in a rainbow of colors. You may find seven colors of my favorite one shoulder dress that bought in one shot. That's not counting the one that the one that the designer made especially for me in another leftover fabric, but you get it. It's less decadence than fear of never finding anything that fits as well again.

This season you are looking for...

Emilio Pucci chairs, magenta platforms from YSL that will hopefully end up on a sale site as they are gone from stores, nude platforms because they elongate your legs, a vintage tortoise Chanel belt (eBay is the best place) and a great deal on photography for my Hamptons house.

What's your number one shopping tip?

It's not the Russian Cold War rations, you don't need to buy the first thing you see when shopping for your seasonal wardrobe. Read the magazines, go to every store, survey and try on everything. When you're done go back to select your favorites. But always ask salespeople to hold anything you are serious about. You aren't the only one who wears a size eight and wants the YSL Tribute camel platforms or Chloe nude cork wedges.

Also, I wanted a discount on a dress last season, and because I am so accustomed to receiving discounts, I called the brand and asked about their wholesale minimum buy. I ended up going to the showroom and buying 11 dresses (again, multiples) just to save a few hundred dollars. In the end, they never even produced the one I wanted in the first place. Moral is - don't overspend or buy more than you need to save a just little bit.

One more -- I have taken too long to purchase items that I loved. I waited for a sale on a floral Balenciaga skirt and a black crocheted Chanel bag only to find the items gone. When this happens and the obsession sets in, trawl ebay and the hot vintage stores such as Decades Two. I found BOTH of those coveted items for a fraction of the price a season later. What's better is that both brand new.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?

I want to say no, but that is so bad for retail. I pay full price when I want to have something first. I want it before it is knocked off, which can take about a month these days. Being first gives me the edge to be a little unique for a short time and the extra money is worth it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Donna Karan Discounts

The Donna Karan boutique is one of the last Madison Avenue boutiques that still has winter merchandise. The discount is currently 60% off, plus an additional 25% for a final discount of 70%.

The sale merchandise is thinning out but you can still find short dresses, plans, jackets and coats. One camel colored coat is now about $1500.

Last season, there was a lot more sale inventory at this point of the season and the discount went down to 75%.

Contact: Genie 212-861-1001