Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Slane Jewelry Sample Sale

By ManhattanMataHari

There’s nothing quite like a piece of statement jewelry to put the final polish on your perfect outfit. Sometimes fashion jewelry can run into real jewelry prices. That's whey we were excited to hear about the Slane sample sale.

 While Slake is not as well-known as Judith Ripka or Ippolita, they effectively combine silver and 18 karat gold with diamonds, freshwater pearls and colored gemstones to create elegant and classy pieces that blurs the line between fine and costume jewelry.

Slane offers a variety of retail price points starting as low as $90 for their sterling collection to $9300 for a set of 18 karat gold bangles. With a50% to 70% discount everyone can find a bauble of their liking. Plus, we can’t help but feel good for supporting a company that proudly makes all their lines in the USA with an eco-friendly focus. Yes, they use sustainable metals with 100% recycled silver and 80% recycled gold. Now that’s a recycling program that Madison Avenue shoppers can readily buy into!

Slane Sample Sale
Thursday, March 1 to Saturday, March 3
Thurs & Fri. 10am to 7pm, Sat. 11am to 6pm
260 5th Avenue, Mezzanine (between 28-29 st)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Diptyque Sample Sale

Madison Avenue's favorite home fragrance brand is hosting it's annual sample sale from Thursday, March 1st and Friday, March 2nd. At the last sale, prices ranged from 40% to 90% off, according to Racked. The company's popular candles were $30 from $60, table sprays were $25 from $60 and colognes and eau de toilettes were $35 from $88.

Diptyque candles have become increasingly popular with the lux crowed. The most popular product are the candles, which are special waxes that can fill a room with scent in under 30 min. The most popular scents are Tuberose, Baies and Feu De Bois.

The lines can be very long when this sale opens. We suggest waiting for the second day if you're looking to shop without aggravation. Unless you're planning on buying in bulk we would recommend shopping at a full price boutique and making sure your desired scent is available.

Diptyque Sale
Thursday, March 1 & Friday, March 2
9am to 5pm
11 East 26th St between Fifth and Madison Ave
Credit Cards Only

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Betsey Johnson Final Clearance

Betsey Johnson is hosting their amazing end-of-season sale where winter merchandise is up to 80% off. With many boutiques that means a few horrible items are reduced to the max but that wouldn't be Betsey Johnson style.

Most of the merchandise has already been marked down but then you can add an additional 40%, 50% or 60% off to make the prices as playful as the clothing. We found a satin one-shoulder dress with a huge flower for about $100 from $368. An adorable rose print tote is about $42 from $148 and matching flats are $30 from $70. Our favorite item is a shopper with Betsey's image on the front, which is $50 from $110.

A similar assortment of merchandise can be found online but we suggest trying on the clothing. Some items are cut on the more junior side.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The It-it: Sophisticated Nail Art

When it comes to beauty it’s hard to express yourself without looking like a freak. The best beauty tip is keeping it simple. The only exception is newly popular, "sophisticated" nail art.

The days of wearing Baby’s Breath and Ballet Slippers are long gone. We are thrilled with glitter galore and eye catching orange, blues and greens. Even so, nail art hashes always been questionable. That is, until now.

During fashion week, we caught up with manicure guru Deborah Lippman to get nail inspiration. While speaking, she confirmed that this is a very exciting time for nails. “Even the most tradition designers are taking a twist on the basic manicure,” she said.

Need some sophisticated ways to give your manicure a twist? For Badgley Mischka's recent fashion show, Deborah used her Dark Side of the Moon polish (deep eggplant) and did a very thin stripe across the top of the nail in Nefertiti (a golden frost). At Donna Karan, Deborah did a similar twist using a Fashion (opaque taupe) and Single Ladies (deep red) along the tip.

Interested in something a bit more daring? You can try the Kate Spade treatment where Deborah created a playful nail by using Fade to Black (an opaque black) topped with a variety of polka dots in I’m Not Innocent (creamy peach).

If you're still hesitant, just remember how easy it is to undo. Just a bit of acetone can remove any creative mistake. Don’t you wish the rest of your life were so easy?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Valentine's Day Survived

Congratulations, you survived Valentine's Day and all the gooey, sappy and sentimental memories of a relationship gone wrong. It's easy for your friends to tell you to move on but wouldn't it be easier if there was a monitary benefit?

Yes, we found a way for you to reward yourself for moving past that relationship that is well beyond its experation date. is looking to buy the talismen of your broken heart. The diamonds from your broken engagement and the Cartier "Love" tokens are all items that can be traded in to purchase the happieness you deserve. is a full service company with a personal touch. Missy, the company’s founder, meets with every client personally to review their needs. Missy has helped clients sell jewelry ranging from 12-carat diamonds to Bulgari necklaces. Just think, those diamond earrings can easily pay for your dream vacation. Isn't that exactly what the doctor ordered?
Missy Schorr

Sponsored Post

Ralph Lauren Home Sale

If one who feels at home when surrounded by the equestrian theme of Ralph Lauren, here's your chance to decorate for less. Ralph Lauren Home is hosting a sale where furniture, lighting, home accessories, decorative pillows, gifts, vintage items and antiques will be significantly discounted.

The sale runs from Friday through Monday. In prior years, this promotion was only open to Ralph Lauren employees but the discount was great with markdowns up to 75% off. We've received mixed reviews since the sale has opened to the public.

Beware, organizers don't want your kids and their sticky fingers. So no children under 12 will be admitted. On the bright side, shippers will be on premises to assist you with your purchases but costs and arrangements are the responsibility of the customer.

Ralph Lauren Home Sale
Friday, February 24 to Monday, February 27th
Fri 12pm-7pm, Sat & Sun 9am-6pm, Mon 9am-5pm
110 West 19th Street
For more information: (718) 747-1656

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Alessi Warehouse Sale

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 60% 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.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Barney’s Warehouse Sale

By ManhattanMataHari

The fact the Barney’s Warehouse Sale draws a crowd on opening day still puzzles us since veteran Warehouse shoppers know the first week is generally priced like the last cut at stores. This trip to the Warehouse Sale was generally disappointing. We noticed lots of items from past sales and had a hard time finding undamaged items.

The only current promotion for women is an extra 50% off “imperfect” damaged merchandise with the blue tags. We generally avoid damaged items, but did end up finding a cute pair of Chanel blue and white striped espadrille slides with wear on the soles for a mere $49!

Since the prices are high and undamaged merchandise sparse, we recommended waiting until the additional markdowns go to 75% or more during the last couple days for your shopping trip. That being said, there are still some great deals to be found if you are patient and have a few hours to spend shopping.

As usual, we started in the shoe department. Petite feet will fare the best, with the majority of high-end designer heels being size seven and under. We were pleasantly surprised over the number of Alaia shoes. A pair of patent croc-embossed booties are $539 and a pair of black suede over-the-knee boots were $1049. We also noticed a number of past-season Lanvin pumps and sandals. The highlight was a snakeskin and gold metal wedge number for $799. We also spotted the popular Prada mary jane boots in snakeskin and suede for $899.

Don’t bother with the accessories section unless you are looking to channel next season’s hat-trend since they do have a variety of discounted hats. With a bit of persistence you can also find some nice wool Prada sport scarves around $129. Your effort is better spent on outerwear, especially since the $189 pint-sized Moncler jackets for babies are too cute to pass up.

Moving on to the ready-to-wear section there are only six designer racks, although many items are mixed into the contemporary section. We spotted lovely $209 Celine slacks, $159 Alexander Wang silk trouser shorts, and Kiton suit separates for just over $1000. A Theysken’s Theory tunic shirt is now $119, while the red silk Balmain blouses we spotted at the store sale are still $600. We were very tempted by a fabulous $329 Isabel Marant boucle wool parka and matching $529 Altuzarra black pencil skirt with boucle detail, but the high prices bolstered our willpower.

With a bit of searching you can find a good selection of intact (and untagged) Nina Ricci dresses. A red strapless Giambattista Valli number will set you back $769, while a black Balenciaga Edition rouched dress is $879. There were some nice Lanvin options to choose from, with a metallic pleated and bejeweled dress for just over $1000 and a cream silk tiered version for $719. There were especially friendly markdowns on the Proenza Schouler dresses, with a patchwork color block option for $529 and a silk print tiered number for $359.

We can’t wait to head back on the last day to see what is available for an even greater discount!

Barney’s Warehouse Sale
255 West 17th St (between 7th and 8th Avenue)
Tuesday, February 21st through Thursday, February 23rd, 10am~9pm
Friday, February 24th, 9am~9pm
Saturday, February 25th & Sunday, February 26th, 9am~8pm

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Runway Trend Report

One of the best parts of going to so many fashion shows is that you get to see what's in style before it's in fashion. What can be better than picking up a trend before it's trendy? So, here is a little peak at winter 2012. Will you incorporate these looks into your wardrobe now to be be ahead of the fashion curb?


Clockwise: Donna Karan, Norma Kamali, Marc Jacobs, Nicole Miller, Milly, Rachel Zoe, Nicholas K, Ralph Lauren
Big, little, short, fat, wide, skinny, traditional, modern, wacky, sleek and even fluffy -- hats were everywhere on the runway. We suggest seeking out what's left of this year's winter merchandise to find the perfect exclamation point for you.


Clockwise: Jason Wu, Charlotte Ronson, Carolina Herrera, Narciso Rodriguez, Chado Ralph Rucci, Douglas Hannat 
Short, long, leather, fingerless, black, studded and colored were just some of the combinations of gloves found on the runway. To capture this classic look now, we suggest hunting vintage and thrift stores to find the perfect hand-to-arm accessory.

Clockwise: Marc Jacobs, Ports 1961, Jeremy Scott, Alexandre Herchovitch, L'Wren,  PrabalGurung
Want to dazzle like a fashion star? Add a bit of glitter to your look. Designers glimmer to add texture to their collections. For "at home use" we suggest adding a metallic blouse or sweater and leaving the head-to-toe look for the runway.

Clockwise: The Row, J. Mendel, Vivienne Tam, Dennis Basso, Ports 1961, Michael Kors
We never recall seeing so much fur on the runway. Of course, there was fur from the usual suspects but a wide array of designers decided to add the faux and the real stuff to their collection. It's wonderful to have one high quality fur but search your local vintage store and markets for a fur that's an over-the-top statement piece.

All photos from

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fashion Week: Ports 1961

Fashion Notes: 
Fiona Cibani's winter collection for Ports 1961 showcased a futuristic combination of patchwork textiles and varied proportions. To be clear, when we say "future" we don't mean space-age strangeness. Imagine fashion today with a the envelope nudged forward. The result was a sophisticated elegance.

Key Looks:
Boxy, metallic leather shirts and dresses, along with tulip sleeved dresses and tops.

The look of the Ports 1961 woman is always sophistication. This season, the shape was a stiff rectangle sometimes created with a patchwork of textures and proportions.

Mink, cashmere, double faced virgin wool pieced and matched together for a modern sophistication.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fashion Week: Marc by Marc Jacobs

By ManhattanMataHari

Fashion Notes:
Military is back in a big way with the Marc by Marc Jacobs collection for men and women. The collection executed a more playful, youthful edge to military-chic, with some exhibiting even a preppy twist. Perhaps Marc is suggesting a new uniform for military school. We are sure the kids would love that!

Key Look
The military style peacoats will surely be a hit on the sales floors. In addition, liked the blue and black striped dresses and tops.

Billowy dresses and full skirts had plenty of movement, but the belted and structured peacoats were the most figure-flattering designs. Going with this season's hat theme, Marc opted for soldier hats to accent many of his looks.

Jacobs used lots of military wool grays, punctuated by prepster plaids, and pops of color in stripes and prints. Dresses were shown in a varity of textures, including velvet, plaid, mesh and lamé.

Last night the Armory was a magical fantasy land for the Marc Jacobs collection. In contrast, the Marc by Marc Jacobs show was austere, which further drove home the military theme.

Fashion Week: Behnaz Serafpour

By ManhattanMataHari 
Fashion Notes:
Behnaz Serafpour is best known for her modern dresses that ooze elegance and class, but the designer has begun catering to demands for more casual looks, branching out into some great fall separates and outerwear.
Key Look:
Metallic gold dresses in various fabrics and styles were the collection’s standouts pieces. Her fabulously structured wool blend outerwear were also sublime.

Silhouettes: Serafpour wavered between her more fluid metallic pleated designs and her highly structured wool blends and lace dresses.

Textiles: Textured gold, camel wool-blends, and delicate lightweight metallic pleated fabrics were supplemented by several stiff black lace numbers. There were also some nice belted leather and fur embellished vests, which are a nice departure from last fall’s “wookie” fur vests.

The presentation took place at Ogilvy’s Chocolate Factory. Long draped panels were used to obscure the rotation of looks, with models alternating between being on display and hidden behind the panels.

White + Warren Online Sample Sale

It's getting kind of chilly now that temperatures are dropping to a seasonable range. Truthfully, we haven't spent a lot of time thinking about hats, gloves or cashmere but that is starting to change. There is nothing we want more than soft cashmere when the mercury drops below freezing.

The bright spot of this story is that it's already February, which means you can find the best deals of the season on the warm and cuddly stuff. The famous cashmere brand, White + Warren is hosting a three day online sample sale, where  you can snag some major savings without stepping foot outside.

Shoppers of the online-only sale will find accessories and basics that are drastically reduced.  We are seeing hats and gloves for $29, scarves starting at $89 and sweaters ranging from $49 to $99. In addition, cotton and wool sweaters will be priced between $29 and $99), outerwear for $99) and men's cashmere starting at just $89.

White + Warren was founded in 1997 with a simple mission--to bring quality cashmere to fashion-savvy women. The collection has expanded to include top-to-toe fashion items. Remember these top-to-toe discounts will only be online for  three days and you must use this link to view the reduced goodies. Who knew shopping from home could be so much fun?

White + Warren Online Sample Sale
Monday, February 13 through Wednesday February 16
Sponsored Post

Fashion Week: Pamella Roland

Fashion Notes:
For her latest collection Pamella Roland created a winter wonderland that was inspired by her days skiing in Aspen. The setting was perfect for her glamorous winter gowns and dazzling fur coats. We especially loved the unique wood prints that most people would suspect as a marble pattern.

Key looks:
Red carpet gowns including stretch twill draped dresses and gowns with icicle beading and tuille

Structured silks, metallics, fur and subtle jacquards

Definitive daywear and lux layering pieces were shown alongside cocktail dresses and sleek, flowing gowns for all occasions and red carpet appearances.

Fashion Week: Dennis Basso

Fashion Notes:
If you're going to attend a Dennis Basso fashion show, make sure it's the winter collection. The man is undeniably the master of fur and the designer showed lots of it in his latest runway collection.We saw fur arranged in all types of ways-- horizontal, vertical and diagonal. So many beautiful shades of color makes you wonder why customers always go for black and brown. Perhaps a shot of orange for you next shrug?

Key looks:
Loved loved loved the sapphire chinchilla, which is a great alternative to black or brown

Fur and lots of it-- Russian sable, broadtail, ermine, lynx, chinchilla and Fox

Dazzling elegance topped with the richness of fur fur fur

Joan Rivers, Kelly Bensimon, Susan Lucci, Ivanka Trump and Star Jones

Fashion Week: Fotini

Fashion Notes:
The winter Fotini collection was based on the commanding strength of woman-- Cleopatra, Helen of Troy and Queen Nefertiti. Through a ranging combination of fabrics the designer created a capsule evening collection.

Key looks:
Black and silver lace cocktail dress

Chiffon with jacquard, leather lace and scaly and snakeskin jersey

Special event cocktail attire

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs

Fashion Notes:
Marc Jacob's collection seemed as if it were cast from a fairy tale that bisected Marry Poppins and Alice and Wonderland. Fluffy top hats were the exclamation point of each outfit. This tale primarily consisted of playful proportions and a full range of texture and color. Overall, it is a season of fashion that wowed both the most critical fashion insiders and lovers of MJ.

Key Looks:
Perfectly fitted coats and chunky scarves tacked with oversized safety pins

Marc Jacobs used a wide variety of textures throughout the collection spanning from heavy knits, fine wool coats to metallic separates, hooped dresses and fur.

Almost every element in this winter collection seemed oversized, including the hats, scarves, pilgrim buckle shoes, bags and jackets.

The magical backdrop, which was made out of large cutouts were as magical as the fashion. Artist Rachel Feinstein created an aura that only added to the fantasy of the fashion. You can watch the full fashion show here.

Fashion Week: Reem Acra

Fashion Notes:
With the red backdrop and black graphite runway, designer Reem Acra was setting the mood for a fierce show. The collection was inspired by feminine power and she did a fabulous job creating fearless female looks for evening. The show started out with leather outfits that accentuated all the beautiful parts of a woman’s body and then came a traffic of chic black dresses, followed by what she does best - striking evening gowns.

Key Looks:
Tweed jackets and pencil skirts, black dresses, sequined pocket lines and collars, form fitting gowns in sequins

Leather dresses that accentuate the curves, geometric effect (from embroidered lines), beautiful cuts and negative space created with skin-like fabric

Leather, silk chiffon, metallic

Overall impression:
Reem Acra really understands woman’s body and meticulously constructs her clothes for those who are confident to show off all they have, inside and out. It is obvious that her expertise is in creating embellished gowns that just float across the floor and turn heads

Chrissy Kim - business coordinator at Cosmopolitan Magazine and fashion blogger. Follow on her personal blog Needle and Fork

Fashion Week: Prete & Bruno

Fashion notes:
Interestingly enough, Prete & Bruno was gearing towards something that was very similar to Reem Acra - the whole extravagant dressing for day to evening. Except the dup stuck to simplicity when designing their dresses. The inspiration was taken from historical beauties like Marlene Dietrich and Grace Kelly, who defined sophistication. Also, the models had a very Audrey Hepburn feel to them in their black dresses and Golightly's signature beehive up-do. The show was all about glamour and elegance.

Key looks:
Classic black with a touch of emerald green and gold, tweed jackets and pencil skirts to sequined and pleated gowns

Channeling the ladylike silhouettes - high waistline, flowing feminine gowns

Feather trim, chiffon, silk chiffon, velvet

Chrissy Kim - business coordinator at Cosmopolitan Magazine and fashion blogger. Follow on her personal blog Needle and Fork

Fashion Week: Carlos Miele

Fashion Notes
Carlos Miele's latest collection was inspired by the pampas of his native Brazil. While many designers this season have been showing hats, Miele topped off his look with "gauchas," which are traditionally found in the Rio Grande do Sul. Miele was able to combine pieces that are very rural and make them appropriate for an urban environment.

Key looks
Eveningwear consisting of ruffled gowns that flowed as light as air along the runway

Although this may be a heavy winter look the fabrics never seemed so heavy as to overwhelm the outfit. Light wool ponchos and light silk chiffon equally flowed down the runway. Even a full fur poncho had nice movement.

Urban cowgirl for day and traditional Brazilian princess for after dark

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fashion Week: Mara Hoffman

By ManhattanMataHari

Fashion Notes

Mara Hoffman is bringing back urban cowgirl in a new way, without beating the proverbially dead horse. It can be difficult to make western-inspired wear work in the city, but Hoffman’s collection of Navajo and tribal inspired lightweight prints paired with exotic headscarves worn under hats certainly made a statement.

Key Looks
A body-conscious tribal print dress with a strategic triangle cutout, as well as a black and gray wool sweater that struck the perfect balance between a cape and parka.

Hoffman showed a lot of flouncy maxi dresses and skirts, with some layered nicely under wool knits. She took a risk by accenting many of her looks with a combination of headscarves and hats, although this tended to overwhelm many of the looks.

We were surprised to see so many chiffon and silk flowing maxi dresses and skirts in western and tribal inspired prints, although many in black and white had nice pops of color. Her chunky wool knits were hit or miss depending on the print, and many were too bulky for anyone over a size two to wear successfully.

Overall Impression
We were confused by the plethora of lightweight maxi skirts and dresses, especially the more colorful western-style prints reminiscent of a resort collection. Hoffman left us yearning for more winter-appropriate wear, and we wish she left the overplayed Navajo and tribal themes back a few seasons ago.

Fashion Week: Katya Leonovitch

By ManhattanMataHari

Fashion Notes

Katya Leonovitch bested her presentation from last season by staying true to her punk-chic designs. Her more subdued styling made this season’s looks more wearable despite walking the fine line between structured and overworked.

Key Look
Tailored high neck leather dresses with cutouts and pleat detailing stole the show along with her bustier-style dresses incorporating metallic ruching and snakeskin print. Her black and white wool “toothed” outwear was a definite unique standout.

Leonovitch wavered between highly architectural designs and more romantic ruffles, but a common theme was her strategically placed cutouts.

Metallic ruched elements in her dresses and leggings evoked a very Nicole Miller Collection vibe, but she incorporated some lux leather and wool elements as well. Her ruffled watercolor chiffon numbers added vibrant colors to the collection.

Overall Impression
Leonovitch continues to work towards a more wearable avant-garde line incorporating some covetable downtown-chic outerwear. Her structured dresses are definitely her strong point, although her watercolor ensembles were overly worked and took away from the cohesiveness of the collection.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fashion Week: Jill Stuart

Fashion Notes:
Jill Stuart fans will not be disappointed by the designers Fall 2012 collection. Although the look was darker than usual, Jill Stuart was still able to communicate a sexy feminine look.

Key Looks:
Our favorite ensembles included a series of dresses accented with a light lace

Silk prints, light embroideries, light lace and heavier brocades

The highlights of the collection included, strong shoulders and dark floral motifs paired with vampy patent platform boots

Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden, Nikki Reede, Olivia Palermo, Kelly Bensimon

Fashion Week: Rebecca Minkoff

Fashion Notes:
The designer says that her newest collection was inspired by the documentary, "A long Way Around," which is about a journey from Europe to Mongolia on a motorcycle. The designer imagined a girl with moxey and created her journey wardrobe.

Key Looks:
Jewel-tone brocade biker jackets and multi-colored sequined pants and jewel tone biker jackets kept kept the energy level high.

We loved the use of fur, the shiny nylons, dip-dyed knits and garbled knits. Rebecca Minkoff fans are always partial to the two-ply outerwear and t-shirts, which are always a cornerstone of her collections.

Rebecca Minkoff's signature look included oversize blazers with dropped shoulders

Before any model hit the runway, hip-hop star, Theophilus London loosened up the crowed with his hit, "I Stand Alone." London was wearing toe studded leather and lots of bling as he grinded up and down the catwalk.
The front row was littered with bold-types, like Nikki Reed and husband Paul Macdonald, Abigail Breslin Olivia Palermo, Kristin Chenoweth and Sami Gayle.

Fashion Week: Rebecca Taylor

Fashion Notes:
This season, Rebecca Taylor deviated from her normal sweet girly style and opted to connect with an edgier gal from the LES. Most of the looks were inspiring but other times the pairings looked like a novice style blogger. We are happy to see that Rebecca Taylor has found a new voice and expect that she will continue to make strides towards perfecting this new look.

Key Looks:
Sweaters and coats with digital prints, paired with leggings and furry low boots

A variety of textures were used to create a layered look that remained light and romantic. Angora, ponte knits, chiffon and shearling-- for extra warmth.

We saw use of a variety of fabrics that were tailored into easy, modern silhouettes that came in a range of dark wintry colors.

Zoe Kravitz, Olivia Palermo and Louise Roe and a host of other cool gals turned out big to support the designer.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fashion Week: Nicholas K

Fashion Notes
Nicholas Kunz likes layers. This season, the designer is piling it on the urban cowboy. The Tuscon tradition was spiced up with a bit of Williamsburg style. Drapy cardigans were paired with long shearling coats and jackets. Sometimes it was hard to tell where one garment began and the other ended in this mostly graphite colored collection.

Image: Racked

Key looks
Long shearling-esq coats mixed with faux fur, canvas, leather and knits. We especially loved the combination of over-the-knee boots with stockings peaking out.

Leather, fur, canvas, knits, fringe and sequins mixed together in a variety of looks

All of Nickolas K's looks were topped with a not-so-subtle over sized cowboy hat to drive home the fresh from the Southwest message. This look is supposed to seem effortless but we all know how hard it is to get all these layers right.  In contrast, the prairie dresses are a simple way to achieve the down on the range style.

Fashion Week: Monika Chiang

Fashion Notes 
Monika Chiang may have not be an old master of design but you can easily see that she has a taste for the old Italian masters. For Fall 2012, Monika showed a collection that seems to have been inspired by the strong tailoring of Gucci with a twist of Tom Ford. The big difference, however, is that Monika's designs retail for a fraction of European imports.

Key Look
A felt coat with an over sized zipper and bone colored leather gloves

The majority of the looks were long and sleek. There was no slouch or heavy drapy hers. Most of the bulk was found in the shoes or bags.

Lots of lux: leather, fur and high gage knits

Overall impression
The fashion presentation emphasized the clothing but we have a feeling that customers will be strongly draw to the accessories. Spiked high top sneakers, crazy high platforms heels and sleek bags at mid-range designer prices are always a winning combination.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine's Day Shopping Guide

Valentine's Day is less than a week away and there is no better spot to shop for your loved one than Madison Avenue. Today we are picking our favorite local spots to warm the heart of your special someone. You can't go wrong with any of these Spy favorites.

Something Steamy
Agent Provocateur
675 Madison Avenue (between 61st & 62nd)
Regardless if you're naughty or nice, there's no doubt you can find something lacy and racy at Agent Provocateur. Don't know what to choose? Ask to see the Sprinkle collection, which is a pretty safe choice with its '60s inspired flirty flavor.

Dolce & Gabbana
825 Madison Avenue (between 68th & 69th)
Dolce may not be the most obvious choice for underpinnings but the boutique has an entire collection of hot lingerie. Choose something in leopard to bring out your gal's wild side.

La Perla
803 Madison Avenue (between 67th & 68th)
When it comes to lingerie, La Perla is the cream of the crop. We especially like the sweet vintage inspired pieces. If you're shopping on more of a budget the La Perla Studio basics are always appreciated and useful.

Something Sweet
864 Madison Avenue (between 70th & 71st)
Madison Avenue newcomer, Laduree, has taken the neighborhood by storm. We have never seen an establishment that causes irreverent Upper East Siders to stand on line like they do for the these macaroons that all imported from Paris daily.

Lady M Confections
41 East 78th Street (Off Madison)
This tiny bakery is hidden slightly onto 78th street and offers the most delightful treats. Lady M is best known for their Mille Crepes but we have a bias towards the checkerboard cake. Yum!

William Greenberg Desserts
1100 Madison (between 82nd & 83ed)
Looking for an unexpected sweet something? William Greenberg is the place to go.  This Bakery has been satiating the sweet tooths' of uptowners for more than 60 years and there's a reason why. I can personally vouch that the butter cookies taste the same today as they did when I was five. For Valentine's Day, don't miss the linzer tarts.

Something Pretty
Flowers By Philip
1141 Madison Avenue (between 84th & 85th)
"Philip's" is an uptown classic that has been in the neighborhood for more than 50 years.  You can always expect a tasteful arraignment to accompany your celebration.

19 E 76th Street (between 5th & Madison)
This is the place to go if you're looking for an arrangement that is a bit less classic and a bit sleeker. Imagine smaller arrangements tightly packed with flowers to give a big impression. L'Olivier furnishes the flowers at high-end establishments like the Carlyle and Daniel Boulud.

Ovando Flowers
19 E 65th Street (between 5th & Madison)
Ovando brings creativity to floral design without any of the cheesy cliches.  The arrangements are often dramatic, bright and passionate, just like your loved one.  Corporate clients include, Hermes, The Mark and 583 Park Avenue.

Something Glittery
Alexis Bittar
1100 Madison Avenue (between 82nd & 83rd)
You can't go wrong at Alexis Bittar if you're shopping for an item that's more fashionable and less crowned jewels. We always like the creative but eye-catching earrings that come in an assortment of shapes and sizes.

828 Madison Avenue (between 69th & 70th)
No Valentine's list would be complete without a bit of love from Cartier. The classic LOVE collection is always a holiday favorite.

710 Madison Avenue (Between 63rd & 64th)
If you're looking to buy your queen some really royal gems then Graff is the place to go. The company's jewelry collection contains some of the most important large stones in the world. We are sure you can find something smaller here too but then you would be missing out on stones like The Graff Pink.

Something for Him
Eton of Sweden
625 Madison Avenue (between 58th and 59th)
What better way to let you man know you love him than to have an interactive shopping experience? Eton is loved for their wrinkle-free cotton, which is wondrously created without any chemicals. The store carries a stock book with more than 250 patterns that is sure to make this gift creative as well as thoughtful.

J. Crew Collection
1040 Madison Ave (between 79th & 80th)
Lets face it, men can be picky. J. Crew offers basics that are sure to be within the comfort zone of most men. If you're looking to push the boundaries, we suggest buying a set of bright Corgi socks. They will be sure to add the a POC (pop of color) that is the bright spot of fashion this season.

Tom Ford
845 Madison Avenue (between 70th & 71st)
Tom Ford. Do we need to say more? Loved by both men and woman alike, you can find an variety of items to make you and your Valentine swoon. We love the For Men fragrance that contains a woody floral musk. In addition, the men's leather accessories are always a big hit. Worst case scenario, he hates what you get and you can use the credit for yourself. Wait, that would be the best case scenario. Right?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Spring Cleaning for Cash

The unseasonably warm weather is giving us a premature urge to shop for summer. Before adding spring brights to an already overstuffed closet, it may be a good idea to consider purging items that have been out of your regular rotation for more than a year.

After all the hard closet organizing work is done, you will have to figure out what to do with all those designer loves that are much too good for ordinary Goodwill. That’s when we turn to The RealReal. The online consignment store offers sellers more money than others with 60% off the sale price going to the consigner. Then after you reach $1500 in sales your share bumps up to 70%. Try finding a deal like that.

In addition, to paying more money than other consignment shops, The RealReal makes the process virtually effortless. All you need to do is fill out the online consignment form and The RealReal will pick up your items if you have 10 items and live in the New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. You can track your sales online and then the best part—cash your check.
What are you waiting for? Go… go… clean your closet!

The RealReal
855-435-5893 (9am-5pm PT)
email us:

Sponsored Post 

French Lux Companies Raise Prices

Price hikes of luxury items have become almost as common as political indiscretions. You don't know when they will happen, or to which brand, but it's bound to happen. Last week when we heard about a price hike at Chanel we yawned. An increase at Hermes made us sigh, a bump at Celine raised an eyebrow and the jump at Goyard finally made us sit up and wonder.

Yes, it's true, in the past month we've counted four French luxury brands that raised their prices on bags ranging from from 6% to 40%. As a matter of fact, the euro, which often influences the price of luxury goods in the United States was down almost 20% from highs last spring. The foreign currency has recovered a bit since last month but not enough to drive up sticker prices.

click on the image to see the stats

So what could be the source of the recent French fashion fix? Fashion analysts, believe that despite the global recession, growth in the world's billionaires is causing the price of luxury to rise. The corporate strategy appears to edge-out higher margins and profits while the opportunity presents itself.

An industry insider, was appalled when we told him that the Maxi size Chanel classic-flap bag was been repriced at $5400 from $4700. Handbags have the highest margins of any product in your local department store. That means that your pricey purse is more profitable than the smelly water otherwise known as perfume. We are told that most bags cost about $100 to make and that includes "the most popular hand-made" brands.

"It's a high class problem," a fashion finance expert says. "It's the story of the never ending gobstopper."

So how is this gobstopper effecting sales at your favorite boutiques and department stores? A Chanel sales person admitted that customers are not happy with the 13% increase of classic style bags. In the same breath, however, there is a 100 person waiting list for a medium size flap bag.

At Hermes, the popular Evelyne bag was $2900 for the large size but went to $3125 last week. "I've yet to see a customer freak out," the bag specialist remarked. "We have what people want and they continue to pay for it."

The St. Louis Goyard tote saw the biggest price gain of all our French subjects, going from $1170 to $1670. Most customers would agree that this bag may be past its prime but the company feels otherwise. "It was explained that Goyard is expanding and planning on opening more stores and needs more income," said a brand specialist.

Over at Celine, the popular Luggage Tote is now $2300 from $2000. Only two season ago the same bag was $1650. This is a classic example of supply and demand, an industry expert said. Right now there are waiting lists for this bag, so why not try to eek out more profits while the style is hot. Next season it will be a different bag and a different style.

So, as you begin to digest these new prices, will your shopping habits change? Is this gobstopper too hard to digest or is the temptation of luxury brands just too sweet to resist?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Manolo Blahnik Final Markdown

Monday is the start of the Manolo Blahnik super semi-annual sale. This four day sale is the perfect opportunity to stock up on classic and ornate shoes from the fall and winter collection at up to 75% off.

This year, we are told that the saving are "not to be believed!" Styles are from the exclusive boutique collection and include some alligator. Prices are always marked by sticker dots, which usually range from $195 for a red dot up to $350 for a green dot. Most shoes and low boots-- even highly ornate styles-- are priced at $250.

Last year, we spotted Manolo Timberlands, in an assortment of colors for $250. Knee high velvet Suwalki boots for $350 and leather trim booties for $250. Green and black suede shoes with gems were just $195 from $1255.

The store maybe crowded but at least there isn't a long line to get in. The sale will only run for four days and styles and sizes run low quickly. If you're looking for a great deal we suggest you switch out of your heels and take a run over to the boutique asap.

Who needs an obnoxious sample sale when you can take care of wonderful prices right now?

Manolo Blahnik
31 West 54th Street
Monday-Friday 10:30 am to 6pm Sunday 12pm to 5pm
The boutique will close from 2pm to 3pm to restock when necessary

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The It-it: J Crew Pixie Pants

As much I've tired, I've had a hard time fitting into the J. Crew look. Maybe it's too preppy or maybe it's too mainstream. In the meantime, the jewelry keeps me coming back again and again.

Recently, while in a pinch, I ran into the Madison Avenue boutique and asked for a legging or a pair of tight black pants. The sales person declared she had the perfect solution, Pixie Pants. The pants fall into a category between a riding pant and legging, which is perfect for cooler months. They are also substantial enough to be worn to the office.

I can't tell you how addicted I am to my Pixie pants. They have become a staple of my wardrobe and I've insisted that all my friends purchase at least one pair. So far, everyone is thrilled! The pants retail for $88 but J. Crew often has 30% off sales, which brings the total to just $64. They are currently sold out online but are stocked at many boutiques in Manhattan.

They do tend to run large, so go a size smaller. I can't say enough good things about Pixie pants.

J. Crew Pixie Pants ($88)

Weekend Shopping: Manhattan Vintage

By ManhattanMataHari

Normally we won’t pay to shop, but the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show and Sale promises more than an everyday shopping experience. This Friday and Saturday, patrons can enjoy a veritable history of haute designer labels and a special exhibit featuring Christian Lacroix. Our experience shopping the show last year was mixed. Be forewarned there are many booths to peruse for unique vintage finds, so be sure to pace yourself!

The first thing to keep in mind is that some of the vintage designer pieces will be as expensive, if not more so than current designs. The trade off is you will never have to worry about another woman arriving at an event in the same dress. We saw lots of vintage Emilio Pucci and Missoni print dresses last year, but they were a bit too pricey in the $500 to $1000 range. There were also a number of classic Chanel boucle wool knit separates and suits at about the same price range, which is too extreme considering increasing Chanel retail prices.

Be on the lookout for the accessories booths. The selection of classic Chanel flap bags, Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags, vintage Bottega Veneta intrecciato purses and Louis Vuitton bags and trunks are unmatched. Many limited editions and rare colors and styles are available, with price tags to match. Some of the booth owners may be willing to negotiate a bit on price.

The major highlight from last year was our $50 fur find. Granted, a hook closure needed to be replaced and a cleaning was in order, but this chic short fur jacket with classic lines was a steal. There were a variety of short fur jackets under $200, although we didn’t see any long fur strollers. With a little TLC your vintage cheap fur find can become your winter style staple.

The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show and Sale is the perfect blend of exhibit and flea market. It is a weekend entertainment trip well worth the $15 admission after our $5 off coupon.

Manhattan Vintage
February 3rd & 4th
125 WEST 18TH ST., NYC
Metropolitan Pavilion

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cobra Starship x Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Week

For the past several seasons American Express has made a effort to give their card members access to the most well guarded velvet ropes, Fashion Week. This season is no different and we are sure that that this promotion will make feel "Na Na Na Na Na."

Cobra Starship will be performing live during a Tommy Hilfiger fashion show on Thursday, February 16 at 6:30pm. The fashion and music runway spectacle will present Hilfiger’s Spring 2012 campaign featuring “The Hilfigers”— the fictional American family. (Apparently, Tommy's real family apparently didn't make the cut).

Tickets are available now exclusively through American Express. Seats are being sold for $150 and $90 depending how close you want to be to the runway. There is also a $7 service fee and $3 facility fee. In addition to the fashion show, the package includes a cocktail party and $100 vouchers to be used in-store at select Tommy Hilfiger locations, which essentially defrays almost the entire cost of the event.

Alternatively, you can go to fashion week without spending a penny by participate in our Fashion Week  contest. Just follow us on Twitter and send the following:

By reading @MadisonAveSpy daily I found a great deal on [blank]. Follow and RT to win a chance to go to fashion week

When you send us your favorite Mad-Spy deal you will become eligible to attend a fashion show and write a post for the site. The winners will be annoucned on Monday.

Now sing with us: Na Na Na Na Na...

TJ Maxx Spring Bling

By ManhattanMataHari

It's the start of the retail spring season, which means off-price retails have a fresh shipment of discounted designer loot. The timing couldn't be better for those wanting to look great during fashion week without spending even a waif's weight in gold.

TJ Maxx stores have received a new shipment of designer goodies that are sure to hit the mark. While some items may be past season, there are lots of great basics from which to choose. We found a couple of Givenchy leather handbags priced between $700 to $1000, a Celine slouchy leather tote was $800, a classic black leather  Prada hobo was $1200 and a brown leather Dolce & Gabbana tote is $600. Jimmy Choo fans won't want to miss the leather bags priced at $800.

The Runway, TJ Maxx's designer ready-to-wear section, is largely hit or miss. We spotted a great Versace white linen bustier dress for $500 and a back-plunging M Missoni number for $250. There are a variety of drapey Helmut Lang dresses now $79 to $150, as well as a cute embroidered Marc by Marc Jacobs strapless dress for $300.

For a more polished look, pair the $80 bright pink Kate Spade shell under the $200 Valentino pinstripe blazer. Pull on a pair of skinny jeans and you're set for a day of back-to-back shows.

While it may be tempting to only shop the more organized Runway department, be sure to check out the separate clearance racks. TJ Maxx has taken their final markdown on lots of designer merchandise, which you can recognize by the lavender tags with yellow sale stickers. With a bit of determination you can find M Missoni and Versace pants for $44, Ralph Lauren Black Label separates for under $50, Opening Ceremony pants and blazers under $34, Armani Collezioni velvet jackets for $299 and Marc Jacobs jackets priced between $119 and $149.

While it may take a bit of effort, even an intern can afford to look great during fashion week with these prices. If you're shopping strategically, we suggest making starting at the TJ Maxx on West 57th Street, which stocks the store with the Hearst magazine editors in mind. Then check the TJ Maxx on Columbus and 99th Street, which is large enough to contain a separated Runway section.