Monday, May 31, 2010

Saks $999 Bridal Sale

Is there any sale more terrifying than a bridal sale? The price of a bridal gown alone can cause a father-of-the-bride to participate in an eloping plan. It's no wonder why brides get so crazed from a money saving option.

Well, brides (and dads) will be thrilled to know that Saks Fifth Avenue is hosting a bridal sample sale from Wednesday, June 2 to Sunday, June 6. Dresses from Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Amsale, Kenneth Pool, Monique Lhuillier, Anna Maier~Ulla-Maija will all be priced at $999 each. All sales are final and there are no alterations but that sounds like a fantastic deal to us.

Shelly Steffee Packing it In

Shelly Steffee is packing up and closing her Meatpacking District boutique. A letter to customers said, "Due to issues with our lease negociations, we will be closing the Shelly Steffee store."

The Shelly Steffee boutique opened almost a decade ago when the area was better known for drug dealing, prostitution and transsexuals then upscale shopping. In honor of their farewell, the store will be hosting a final sale from Wednesday, June 3 to Sunday, June 6. There will be lots of one-of-a-kind and special vintage pieces, as well as an eclectic array of accessories including shoes, bags, belts, jewelry, and fur.

We are told that Shelly's famous dresses will be priced from $95 to $150. We were especially fond of the spring collection, which contains several edgy looks that are wearable and versatile. We really hate to see this store leave but are happy to know that so many chic retailers will continue to carry the line.

Contact: Kitty 917-408-0410

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chanel Summer Sale

Chanel is starting their sale Wednesday, June 2nd. Ready-to-wear, shoes, and accessories will be reduced 40%. We are told that presale orders will be accepted starting Sunday.

Bags are not included in the markdown and you might want to consider shopping early because there isn't a lot of inventory. Only the jewelry from cruise collection will be discounted. You remember, that blue and white stripe nautical collection?

Contact: Betsy 212-535-5505

Saks Presale Begins

We recently recieved this email from a Saks sales associate:

Saks Fifth Avenue is hosting one of our largest Designer Sales of the
year! This is your private invitation before the event becomes public.

30% off Designers like Louboutin, Prada, Manolo, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and more.

40% Off Designer Clothing. Personally, there are only a few pieces left in sizes for both clothing and shoes which is why it is important you come in privately before the public.

Handbags, have not been announced as of yet.

This gives you the first chance to get the best deals on the best designers before the general public can get a fighting chance and can only be made by appointment.

There you go... Shop early, shop often!

D&G Private Sale Online

D&G is hosting a private sale online. To access the reduced merchandise you must use this link.

The merchandise is from summer 2010 and it's all reduced 40% off. Men's and women's eady-to-wear, shoes, beachwear, underwear and most accessories are included in the markdown. There's also free standard shipping until the end of the month.

Bergdorf Price Adjustments

We have never thought of Bergdorf Goodman as a big softy when it comes to discount time. A reader writes that sales associates were offering the opportunity for a future price adjustment on current purchases.

"Just bring in your receipt, and we'll credit it," a sales associate said. This all sounds very Bloomingdales. Maybe the economy isn't as strong as retailers are projecting?!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jeffery's Hush Hush Presale

Jeffery New York has started their presale but don't say you heard it here. Sales associates are playing this markdown like lobbyists for British Petroleum.

"You really need to speak to your sales contact to find out details but I would come in today," an associate said on the phone. The conversation continued to be diaphanous, "Once the sale officially begins the discount will be 30%. But I would come in today."

Ummmm. We get the hint but don't understand the point of this type of communication, do you? Oh, and the discount on shoes often goes to 60% by Mid-July.

Contact: Michelle 212-206-1272 (You want the sales person Michelle, not Jeffery's assistant Michelle.)

Prada's 40% Markdown

Prada's presale begins today. We are told that ready-to-wear and shoes are 40% off. Unfortunately, those vintage floral dresses are not being reduced.

Handbag details are contradictory. One sales person told us the perforated leather bags from the cruise collection are 40% off but another associate said only a select few black bags are included in the markdown list.

The "private sale," when you can actually pick up your presale merchandise, begins June 3 and the sale officially goes public June 4th.

Contact: Ana 212-327-4200 (Madison)
Kevin 212-334-8888 (SoHo)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

YSL Presale Begins

Yves Saint Laruent has started their presale, or "Private Sale." Discounts range from 30% to 50% off depending on the style and item. The markdown goes public June 1.

If you're looking for a steeper discount, the YSL outlet at Woodbury Commons is hosting a Memorial Day weekend sale where ready-to-wear will be an additional 40% off the outlet price and accessories will be an additional 15% off. You can shop by phone or in person on Friday.

Contact: Charles 212-980-2970 (YSL, 57th Street)
845-928-2169 (Woodburry)

Introducing: Erin Jeen

I am very excited to introduce our newest spy, Erin Jeen, who will be working with me on Madison Avenue Spy this Summer. Erin is a student at George Washington University, fashion blogger, stylist and Upper East Side native, of course.

Erin became interested in fashion after interning at Catherine Malandrino and has been continually involved in many fashion PR internships. Her blog, is filled with great fashion and wonderful art. After college, she hopes to work in fashion PR and eventually become a celebrity stylist.

Erin knows the trappings of a great deal and for the next few months she will be keeping her eyes on price tags for Madison Avenue Spy. Please give her a big Madison Avenue welcome, not a sneer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gucci Private Sale- Online

The Gucci private sale is now live online.

"Gucci is pleased to extend a special invitation to our most valued clients. Through this presale website, you will be able to reserve items from the spring/summer 2010 collection at the sale price, in advance of the sale. The official sale will begin on June 1, 2010."

If our basic calculations are correct, shoes , handbags and ready-to-wear are all 40% off.

For those who feel like 40% of is just a first offer, second markdown usually comes mid-June with a discount ranging from 50% to 60% off. If you're looking for true bargain basement prices, wait until mid-July when the leftovers are reduced to 75% off.

Barneys Private Sale

It's hard to believe that Barneys can keep anything secret but the store is starting a "private sale" on Tuesday, May 25th. Clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children as well as gifts for the home will be 40% off.

We always suggest shopping in person but the Barneys online shoe sale is usually pretty acceptable. Just don't be surprised if your order gets canceled. Their online inventory tracking system is not stellar.

Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale

Nordstrom has started presale for first markdown. The sale officially starts May 26th and the discount on most designer items is 40% off.

The assortment of designer merchandise really depends on the location of your Nordstrom store. We were recently told that there are three locations that carry Chanel -- Mall of America, Minnesota, Topanga, Calif and Downtown Seattle. Personally, we have had lots of luck tracking down hot items from the Houston and Phoenix Nordstrom stores.

Generally speaking, Nordstrom is known for their fantastic customer service. A good sales person can usually track down about anything if you take the time to create a relationship. In addition, the designer collection section of tends to stock a attractive assortment.

Neiman Marcus Last Call Sale

Neimen Marcus is cleaning out their sale closet with a two day sale. Most clearance items are about 75% off, including the additional 30% off incentive.

We found a Christian Louboutin clutch for $470 from $1,495, Miu Miu heels are $218 from $695, and an Andrew Gn dress is $443 from $1,810.

Those reading this Monday morning will be out of luck because the sale ends Sunday night. But don't feel too bad because amount of stylish merchandise is running a bit thin along with sizes. We're sure, however, that weekend shoppers will be able to find some gems with a bit of digging.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Giuseppe Zanotti Presale

Giuseppe Zanotti has announced the start of their presale for their "preferred client data base." The discount is 30% and it's going to be a month or so until the markdown goes to 50%.

So now we ask our readers: Is it better to buy this season's spring flats from the store for 30% off or buy last-year's styles from the outlet for 50% off?

Who knew life could send you such curve balls?

Contact: George 212-650-0455

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gucci Private Sale

Gucci is starting its "private sale" on Friday, May 21. Unlike Missoni, which takes an immediate markdown, Gucci likes to ease into sale season. The boutiques usually only alerts their best customers to this exclusive sale period but casual shoppers are not often denied the markdown when its requested.

In past seasons, handbags were discounted 30% and shoes and ready-to-wear were 40% off. This is an unusually early start for Gucci's sale, which usually waits until the week before Memorial Day to start their markdown. The sale goes public June 1st. The last markdown is usually mid-July when discounts rage from 60% t0 75% off.

Contact: Tim 212-717-2619

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Retail Therapy: Rebecca Moses

Rebecca Moses has been designing clothing since she was 21-years-old. She produced collections under her own label in New York for many years but later moved to Northern Italy where she replaced Gianni Versace as the designer of Italy’s chic, Genny fashion line.

Throughout Rebecca's career, she has gained the respect of her peers and critics by creating silluettes that whisper quality above the yells of luxury.

We recently caught up with Rebecca Moses in conjunction with her debut clothing line at Macy's. The collection is a variety of "fundamentals" and "wow" pieces. So there's a little black dress, a cigarette pant, a collard white shirt and also novelty tees and a deep purple party skirt.

Rebecca says, "passion" is her favorite fashion word and asserts that young fashion designers should remember to stay humble because "to be successful you are going to have to do a bit of everything." Yes, that even means being your own gofer.

Read below to find out more wisdom from this world-class designer and let us know what you think?

How is the shopping experience different in New York than it is in Europe?
Stores in Europe are much smaller and more specialized. There aren't many big department stores and the selections are often much smaller. New Yorker's wardrobes are much more seasonal and we are perpetually shopping. That isn't really the case in Europe although it is changing to be more like the US.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Buy what you love. Don't shop according to trends or styles. Go on your instincts and buy things you will feel good wearing.

What's your most prized deal?
I really can't think of one. Because I'm a designer, I don't get a lot of time to shop for myself. When I see something that is different and lights a fire within me, I just buy it.

This season you are looking for...
The tee shirt is the must have item of the season. Everyone knows about the little black dress but the other great item for the season is the little white dress. They are just a must have for summer.

What inspires you?
I am very much inspired by colors. They tell people how you feel. Red and purple are happy and confident. If you see someone wearing all black, you know exactly what type of mood they are in. The same goes for white.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Missoni Markdown

Sale season is officially begun!

We got a call today alerting us to the first markdown of the season. Missoni's spring and summer collections are now 40% to 50% off. Discount specifics are still unknown because sales associates were still going through the price sheet as we received our phone call. It's safe to bet that the resort collection will be discounted more than newer summer collection but that's just a generalization.

Longtime readers of Mad-Spy know that Missoni is usually the first Madison Avenue store to take a markdown. Afterwards, all bets are off. Keep your eyes glued to the site and keep your credit cards near by because no sale is too private or markdown steep.

Contact: Connie 212-517-9339

Sunday, May 16, 2010

DecadesTwo's SATC Sale

The feature length version of Sex and the City is coming around for seconds and so is DecadesTwo. Just as the girls are leaving NYC for Dubai, the high-end LA consignment shop is stepping out of SoHo's Kiki de Montparnasse and heading to a 3,200-sq-ft condo.

We all know that shopper extraordinaire, Carrie Bradshow could fill the closets of this four bedroom herself but what would the space look like if the ladies were all shacking up together? (And we thought the recession was over!)

Well, Christos Garkinos, the man behind DecadesTwo, is dreaming up that exact scenario. From Thursday, May 20th to Saturday, May 22nd, invited guests can shop through this virtual SATC closet.

There’s just one thing: this shopping soiree is not open to the public. But we were given ten passes to this semi-private shopping event. Want in? You're going to have to brush up on your SATC trivia. Readers who emailed us the correct answers to the questions below --all relating to season one--will get prime entry to this VIP-only event.

  1. Carrie is referring to whom when she says:
    Men in their 40s are like the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle:
    tricky, complicated and you're never really sure you got the right answer

  2. Everyone at Miranda's law firm thought she didn't have a boyfriend, why?

  3. The bus billboard of Carrie Bradshaw travels down what Avenue?

  4. Charlotte had a portrait painted of what body part?

  5. Kim Cattrall was how old when the series started and what is her present age?

Save $500 at Herve Leger

Herve Leger is running a promotion where you can save $500 on a purchase of $2000 or more. We admit, the discount isn't stellar but we're putting it out there. One option is to buddy up with a friend and each walk away with a 25% discount without having to shell out two-grand.

The discount is only in HL boutiques. And, as we said, we're just throwing it out there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lighthouse international's Designer Sale

Vintage shopping used to be so much fun, but it's become a victim of its own popularity. Between the dealers and the high prices, it's rare to find real treasures. But when a neighborhood organization hosts a "clean out of the closet sale" you know there are going to be great finds.

Every year, Upper East Siders (and even some Upper West Siders) clean out their closets and donate their unwanted and unused items to Lighthouse International for their annual designer sale. Most of the merchandise is vintage, but designers like Carolina Herrera and Courrèges donated new clothing from their inventories.

The first thing we did when arrived was hit the designer room. Some items were priced on the high side, but you can't blame them-- it's charity. While browsing the preview, we found lots of quality new or almost new items that included; Manolos for $250, YSL pumps for $200 (Tom Ford era?), and Dior booties for $250. There were also lots of great bags like a Lanvin shoulder bag at $400, a limited edition Louis Vuitton Olympe priced at $900, a white Prada Saffiano Satchel at $400, a Louis Vuitton Vernis tote for $850, and a huge Vuitton suitcase priced at $900.

The clothing selection was just as impressive. We found a Chloe sheer blouse for $100, a tweed Chanel dress priced at $950, a Chanel tweed skirt suit for $1900, a Carolina Herrera dress for $900, a black wool YSL dress at $450. Fur coats? Yes, there were racks: silver fox for $750, lunaraire mink at $1850, Russian sable priced at $5000, and ranch mink for $1950.

Then we found the jewelry. We were tickled by the Joan Rivers collection of jewels tat were all priced at about $20, but it was the Chanel collection of bijoux that really dazzled. Again prices were high ranging from $600 to $1200.

We noticed lots of people haggling and making deals. As the sale continues, we imagine that the prices will become increasingly more flexible. The sale runs until Sunday, May 6th. Details are below.

Lighthouse International's Posh Fashion Sale
Thursday, May 13 to Sunday, May 16
Thurs-Sat:11am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 5pm
111 East 59th Street (bw Park and Lex)
Daily pass: $10 or Four Day Pass: $30

Louboutin Sale: Frustrating

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom will keep Louboutin lovers away from a discounted shoe. We sent a spy to the press only sale early this morning and her frustration was palpable.

Stylista-Spy got to the sale at 9am and the line was already very long. She says, many women arrived and left early out of frustration. Security is also extremely strict. There was more than one woman who made it to the front of the line but was then turned away because of not being on "the list."

After waiting 2.5 hours, she finally made it in. "Only two people were permitted to shop at one time," she said. The worst part was that everything was "very picked over." She advises that ALL shoppers should stay home unless you are a 35, 36 or 40+. All basic styles were sold. Most of the styles left were identifiably from past seasons and all "sizzling, flashy and crazy."

The prices were the most rewarding part. Pumps were $250, more ornate shoes were $325 and boots were $500. Stylista-Spy grabbed three pair for a client and a pair for herself. "There nothing I loved that much but after waiting all that time I wasn't about to leave empty handed," she said.

Prices Slashed on Filene's Finds

There's a lot of buzz going on around Union Square this week. First it was the opening of Nordstorm Rack and then DSW started a three-day shoe giveaway.

Filene's Basement, however, has been mistakenly overlooked within all this frantic shopping madness. Well, not by us. While in the neighborhood, we decided to check in on our Missoni and Blumarine finds that we spotted almost a month ago. And boy, we were happy we did.

Filenes has reduced all high-end designer merchandise, dubbed "The Vault," 50% off. So those Missoni sweater sets we spotted are now just $100, knit dresses are $200 and a print tops are $100. An intricately beaded Blumarine coat is $500, an exquisite gold sequined dress is $500 and the full length asymmetrical gown is just $300.

Some of our favorite items were already gone (perhaps because of our own doing) but there's still lots of racks and treasures to explore.

Go. Enjoy. The values are tremendous and the financial commitment is minimal. You also have 30 days to contimplate your purchases. Now, that's a deal.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Louboutin Sale: Please Don't Come

As you may have noticed, we have eliminated information about the Cristian Louboutin sample sale. Unfortunately, word has traveled too quickly and spokespeople from Christian Louboutin are asserting that NOBODY beyond the confirmed press list will be admitted to the sale.

"We don't want to cause frustration with shoppers wasting their time," the spokesperson said. This sale has traditionally been press only event but in past seasons some exceptions were made. This will not be the case. "There will be security and unless you have an invitation and a confirmation email you will not be admitted," she said.

We must concede that an overcrowded sample sale can can be problematic. We tend to believe that this year's list will be stricter than ever. As always, we will keep an eye on sales and let you know as soon as we hear of a great Louboutin discount.

Nordstrom Rack Comes To Union Square

Nordstrom is taking their first step on the island of Manhattan by opening their discount store Nordstrom Rack this Tuesday, on Union Square South.

Today we got to poke through the new store located in the basement of the former Virgin Records. Most of what we found is very similar to the merchandise that would be expected in your local Nordstrom department store.

The store officially discounts items 30% to 70% off retail. We were surprised to learn that only 25% of the merchandise comes from Nordstrom department stores. The majority of the inventory comes directly from the labels.

Most of the store's merchandise is not super-designer but the discounts were quite attractive. We found lots of Dolce & Gabbana and D&G from spring 2009. A gold Dolce top with gems along the neckline was $300 from $1450. (That would be a whooping 80% off according to our calculations) A gold D&G dress was $150 from $635 and a D&G magenta satin blazer was $160 from $700.

There is also a designer shoe section, which wasn't incredibly exciting. We spotted shoes from Bruno Magli ($300 from $420), Ferregamo ($179 from $520), Tory Burch ($159 from $425) and Bally ($80 from $395).

The motto of this Manhattan Nordstrom Rack is quick and easy. The layout is extremely intuitive and there's even a TV navigated check out line-- à la Whole Foods.

With new shipments arriving five days a week, this will definitely be added to our Union Square shopping routine.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Louboutin Sample Sale Confirmed

Unfortunately, this sale has been closed to the public. Please see above post for more information.

Photo Credit: Vanity Fair, Women in Louboutin Red

Lila Dishes for Sunday Styles

It's well known that the first lady has been a great supporter of American designers and specifically young American designers. The question still remains as to Michelle Obama's real impact on sales and the financial health of these blossoming labels.

It was a surprise to many when Mrs.Obama's favorite designer, Maria Pinto, announced that she was closing her business despite all the publicity.

As with many designers spotlighted by Mrs. Obama, “you can definitely win the PR race, but there’s still a business to manage,” said Lila Delilah, who writes the blog, Madison Avenue Spy.

Ms. Delilah recently discovered that another iconic Michelle Obama outfit, the red and black Narciso Rodriguez dress Mrs. Obama wore on election night in 2008 — part of a tableau that has been enshrined in history — also showed signs of suffering in the consumer marketplace. It was being offered on the Bergdorf Goodman Web site at $1,540, down from $4,400.

Click here to see Hilary Stout's article, Can Michelle Obama Create A Fashion Star? What do you tihnk?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thakoon Sample Sale

There are few people we trust when talking about worthy sample sales. It takes an experienced shopper and fashion insider to spot the sale and get access. Fashion writer and Twitter luminary, Jim Shi (jimshi809) is one of the few we fully trust.

Earlier today, he hit the Thakoon sample sale and seemed as excited as a 12-year-old girl buying her first Coach bag. "ALL Manolo Blahniks x Thakoon $50!!!! Sizes 38-41!!!! Dying!!!! Just bought 7 pairs!!!!", he wrote.

Jim even captured pictures, which include the mirrored heels Thakoon did for the runway with Giuseppe Zanotti and Manolo suede and snakeskin ankle stilettos. Yes, there's clothing too! Samples, which are generously cut, are priced up to $100.

All in all, Jim ended up spending $550 for three dresses and seven pairs of shoes. We just hope his girlfriends appreciate him because few men are willing to put out like that.

Thakoon Sample Sale
Friday, May 7
8:30am to 6:30pm
270 Lafayette St., Suite 1005

Ralph Lauren Private Sale

Ralph Lauren is running their first discount of the season, which they call the "Private Sale." Most spring and summer merchandise is 30% off plus an additional 15%, for a total of almost 40% off.

The sale is also taking place online and you can use the code MAY0610AF to activate the additional 15% discount. Most of the online merchandise is that same stores', confided our sales person. "We have some more shoes and accessories but it's pretty similar," he said.

The sale runs until Monday, May 10 and then prices go back to normal. Generally speaking, Ralph Lauren sales are better in the store when end-of-season merchandise is often reduced to 65% to 75% off.

Contact: Nelson 212-606-2100

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

DYJ Spotlight: Van Cleef Alhambra

Just in time for Mother's Day, is spotlighting this wonderful authentic Van Cleef & Arpels necklace. This iconic design is part of the Alhambra Vintage collection that was introduced in the 1960s but is even more popular today.

This particular piece is double long and 18k gold with black onyx clovers, or motif settings, as Van Cleef would describe them. This piece is in perfect condition and comes with the original box and papers. The retail price is $9,800 but it's being sold for $6,900.

Click here to purchase the necklace online and browse other jewels or call Missy for more information at 917-846-9999.

Sponsored Post

Retail Therapy: Heather Williams

It's always nice speaking to new designers because they have great taste but success hasn't tainted their value logic. Shoe designer extraordinaire, Heather Williams neatly falls into that category. Her fantastic shoe designs for her brand, H. Williams can be found in Saks but Marc Jacobs isn't throwing dresses at her... yet!

Heather started her career designing sneakers at Reebok, where she earned her badges by understanding the architecture and core skeleton of the foot while making intricate molds. Her design prowess was fully realized at Calvin Klein where she was charged with directing shoe designs across the brand, from high to low.

The H. Williams shoe combines lux materials and fine Italian craftsmanship with a fresh take on the power heel. (Kicking ass is just a day job.) We thought it would be fun to catch up with Heather --who has quickly become one of our favorite new footwear designers-- and find out how she fashions her personal style on a new designer budget.

What's your most prized deal?
I love vintage shopping. I will buy anything from a size 26 to a size two and just have it tailored. In Milan, I found a $3,000 sleek and sexy Jil Sander shift dress for €200. I had the size 12 dress totally rebuilt. I took in more than six inches from each side. Mostly everything I own I have tailored.

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
I am not into all the whimsy of Moschino but I was shopping in the Madison Avenue store and happend to find a coat that I really loved but it was too big. I was afraid that if the sleeves were taken in, the coat wouldn't fit right. The sales person was rude and refused to call any other stores to help me find the right size.

It was a full priced coat, but because she was treating me so poorly, I left. My plan was to buy it in Milan but it was sold out. I really loved that coat but I don't like being treated poorly.

This season you are looking for...
I am trying to control myself. In the Summer you can get away spending a lot less. I like wearing lots of dresses because they show off the shoes.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Don't get caught up in trends. Know your body and buy things you will wear. If you're not sure of a look, go to H&M and give it a try. You will find out if you're going to get use out of it very quickly.

What's your biggest weakness?
It used to be accessories but since I started making my own its become dresses. I love the draping, the cut, the fit. I appreciate it all. Dresses and coats are two items that I'm not afraid to spend money on.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
Coats. A great coat can last at least five years. You should also always buy high quality leather goods. An educated consumer knows that cheap leather never looks good.

Devi Kroell 90% Off

Yesterday we came across a blip about a Devi Kroell sample sale. Before we got too excited, however, we thought we would check it out in person. We know right away that we had struck gold from the very "editorial-looking" crowed.

(Que: Get excited music.) Oh, it was good!

Devi Kroell is mainly known for her bright exotic skin bags and there was a great assortment but they are going fast. Metallic python hobos are normally about $3,000 but are marked down to $800. Large messenger bags were $200 and were orange-tone day bags were just $250.

Devi's shoes are wonderful because they are a bit out of the norm but usually range in price from $500 to $1200 but are marked down to $50 to $200. Snake skin wedges were $695 marked to $100 and more ornate exotic skin heels were priced at about $150. As a matter of fact, most of the shoe and boot selection fell in the $150 category. Some flat sides were just $50.

If you're looking for really amazing deals, you will find them in the ready-to-wear section. Most of the pieces were from fall 2009 and are very close 90% off. We found a magenta cocktail dress that was $1800 marked to $200, a brushed denim tuxedo jacket was about $2,000 but reduced to $150 and many blouses (retail price unknown) were discounted to $50 to $100.

Whatever you do, don't skip the production sample rack. Everything on it is just $50! We found bubble skirts, silk blouses and amazingly tailored dresses. One caveat. Since they are production samples most everything is a size two or four.

It even gets better (this is starting to feel like an infomercial, right?) if you look down from the sample sale rack there there is a $10 bin where anyone with a bit of an imagination and a good tailor can walk away with a hidden treasure for less than a cost of a salad.

Bags and shoes are going very quickly. ( We saw one woman leave with six hobos!) The sale runs until 7pm tonight and then starts up again at 8:30am tomorrow. There will be no replenishments, so now is the time to go.

Devi Kroell Sample Sale
Wed., May 5 and Thur., May 6
8:30am to 7pm
55 Fifth Ave (b/w 12th and 13th Sts), 17th floor

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Montblanc Friends & Family Sale

Spring is very much about indulging moms, grads and dads. Trying to find an appropriate gift for any of these occasions can be incredibly torturous. A Montblanc gift, however, is pretty much universally appreciated.

It couldn't be better a better time to hit a Montblanc sample sale/ friends and family / what-ever-you-want-to-call-it. The sale is Wednesday. May 5th and Thursday, May 6th. Watches, jewelry, leather goods and writing instruments will all be included. Discounts will run up to 75% off retail.

This is one sale that is generally very good. Last season a reader wrote:

"This sale was unbelievable... fountain pens originally retailing $500-600, on sale for $150. leather bags retailing $1000 down to $250. i didn't think Montblanc even had sales, and most certainly not at these prices... i picked up 2 fountain pens for (practically) a song."

So grab a nice fountain pen and write your mom, dad or grad a note outlining how much you appreciate them.

Montblanc Friends & Family
Wed., May 5th and Thurs., May 6th
8:30 am to 5:30pm
Roosevelt Hotel
45 East 45th Street (45th and Madison) @ Vanderbilt Suite

Saks Private Night

Saks' "Private Night" is the unofficial start to sale season. The department store's best customers are invited to shop the discounts before the store officially goes on sale. This year, the private sale will run Thursday, May 6th and Friday, May 7th. The discount ranges from 30% to 40% off.

We almost went running to pre-sale our favorite Summer looks when our Saks specialist cautioned that most of the sale merchandise are not designer items. We are told, only some Marni, Zac Posen, and YSL will be included in this markdown along with a spattering of cruise collections. Shoe junkies will fare a bit better. There is an assortment of Manolos, Choos and Giuseppes included in this two day sale.

Pre-sale for Private Night is already under way. You can use this insider sale link to begin shopping online. We are told that the official summer sale will begin in two to three weeks. So it may not hurt to get down to Saks soon and work on putting your favorite items aside.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The David Yurman Townhouse

David Yurman is to jewelry what Ralph Lauren is to fashion: classic, American and elegant. It's only fitting that in honor of David Yurman's 30th Anniversary, he has opened a flagship boutique housed on Madison Avenue.

The five-story townhouse boasts 2,000 square feet of retail space and is filled with the entire range of the David Yurman collection including his signature gold and silver pieces, the men's fashion line, bridal, and one-of-a-kind pieces.

When it comes to jewelry, browsing is never enough. We caught up with both David and Evan Yurman and took an in-depth tour of the store and also chatted a bit about jewelry. So how does a jewelry brand differentiate itself from the Van Cleefs, Winstons and Graffs of the world? It's as simple as staying true to your message and key designs, says David. "We add a few modern designs from time to time but the message is always the same."

After discussing race horses, the spike in the price of gold and branding within a department store, we went upstairs to meet Evan Yurman and toured his one-of-a-kind designs and bridal collection.

It is easy to tell that the family business is a labor of love to the second generation Yurman. To make the perfect ring, Evan spent years sourcing emeralds that match like identical twins and painstakingly designed a necklace consisting of hand-made pieces that can be dismantled to service and clean.

When Evan is asked about loaning jewelry to celebrities, he admits that he could never say no to Penelope Cruz, but like every passionate designer, his true hope is that his pieces find happy permanent homes.

As far as permanent homes go, the David Yurman townhouse is a true gem and we suspect that the it will maintain the brand for at least the next 30 years.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Perfect Prada Dresses

Nothing quenches a Summer thirst better than a simple dress. Finding the perfect "simple" dress is not always so easy, as it must be flattering, chic and keep you cool but not expose too much.

This Summer, Prada has launched a collection of print dresses that fit all our criteria and are quite affordable, well at least for Prada. The dresses are inspired by a 50s vintage style and come in fabrics ranging from cotton to silk. The prints, many of which are vintage icons, vary from geometric hexagons to over sized florals. Prices range from about $750 to $850.

In addition to the retro shifts, the series includes print ballet flats, print chain handbags and print beach bags. The collection wasn't due out until mid-May, but the dresses and beach bags (under $1000) are already in stores and selling faster than a designer collaboration for H&M.

Unlike most of Prada's clothing, these dresses run generous in size and are more flattering when filled by a curvy silhouette. The look of the dress can easily be changed by swapping a thick belt for one that is thin, substituting a heel for the ballerina flat or replacing the beach bag for the chain bag or a more simple handbag. The possibilities are as endless as a summer day. Now, that's what we call a perfect but simple dress. That's one down, nine to go.

Contact: Ana 212-327-4200 (Madison)
Kevin 212-334-8888 (SoHo)