Thursday, August 30, 2012

FNO: Madison Avenue's Most Stylish

It's hard to believe that Summer is already over but fashion wastes no time. There is a new season and new collections to shop. We couldn't think of a better way to start the new "school" year than with Fashion's Night Out.

This year, the big event will take place on Thursday, September 6. In partnership with the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District, we are asking you to come and join us as style photographers. We want pictures of you, your friends and other fashionable shoppers on Madison Avenue having fun during Fashion's Night Out.

Tweet or Instagram your snapshots to @MadisonAveSpy and @MadisonAveBID with the hashtag #MadisonAveFNO and your photos will be included in our Madison Avenue Fashion's Night Out photo album. The most stylish ensembles will be posted to Madison Avenue Spy, where readers are able to vote on the most stylish look from the night.

Madison Avenue Spy's, Lila Delilah, will also be taking pictures of her own all night long and make personal appearances in participating stores on Madison Ave. So follow along, come say hello and tweet, tweet, tweet (or Instagram) and we'll see you right back here Friday to vote for the most stylish on Madison Avenue Fashion's Night Out.

Spies Needed

Okay so we lied, we are never really on vacation. The fact of the matter is that one Spy can't do it all and we need your help. Madison Avenue Spy is looking for freelance writers to help sniff out the best sales.

Candidates must to know the difference between overstock and designer samples, a "real" sale and a retail promotion. If you think you have the shopping stuff to keep with our spy team, send your resume to with a few writing samples and or links.

Monday, August 27, 2012

End of Summer Sales

We are coming to the end of Summer and most stores are done with their seasonal sales. Before we head out for the rest of the week (why not, right?) we are listing some final sales and shopping suggestions. Feel free to share your own shopping intell in the comment section below.

Acne Studios Sample Sale
Through Friday, August 31st
12pm to 7pm daily
401 Broadway, 22nd floor (btwn Lispenard & Walker St.)

Barneys Warehouse Sale
Through Monday, September 3
Mon-Wed 10am to 9pm, Thurs & Fri 9am to 9pm, Sat 9am to 8pm, (Mon)Final day 9am to 7pm
255 W. 17th St. (bet. 7th & 8th Ave.)

Scoop NYC Ultimate Closet Clean-Out Sale
Monday, August 27 to Saturday, September 15
Mon 9am to 9pm, Tues to Sun 10am—8pm; Mon 9/3 to Sat 9/15 11am to 8pm
430 W. 14th St between Washington St and Ninth Ave

Proenza Schouler Sample Sale
Tuesday, August 28th and Wednesday, August 29th
10am to 6pm
82 Mercer St. (Spring & Broome St.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How to Save 20% On Hermes Now!

Sometimes we welcome the idea of a brand that limits discounting.  One price being the only price removes much of the doubt that can be associated with a purchase. When it comes to an Hermes purchase, however, the price is so steep that any savings is welcomed.

With a little bit of research and the watchful eye of Parisian summer guest, we were able to find a way to save over 20% on many popular Hermes items. All you need to do is go to Paris, or anywhere in Europe for that matter.

Right now, the euro is worth about $1.25. That means that an Evelyn PM that is priced at €1,760 or $2201 is $600 less expensive than the $2800 price tag in New York. That's a $600 savings and we didn't calculate VAT reimbursement and the expense of New York sales tax. With all considerations, you can save almost 30% on an Evelyn PM when purchased in Paris.

The same calculations run true for a 35cm Kelly, which is €5400, which exchanges to $6755.40. The US price is $8550 or $1800 more than the European purchase price. A 30cm Birkin is €5950 in Paris, which exchanges to $7443.45. The US price is $9450 or $2000 more.

Although these savings are significant on many items we tested, the savings doesn't reach all Hermes items. A CDC bracelet (Collier de Chien), for example, is only about $20 less when purchased in euros.

Those who prefer to shop in New York for their discounts can look forward to the return of the Hermes sample sale, which is scheduled to being on September 5th with the VIP sale and run through September 8. Just don't expect to find any of the Hermes staples listed above at the Soiffer Haskin sale (317 W. 33rd St.)

You can click here to read our coverage of past Hermes sales but we are going to start a fall trip to Paris. Take our poll to the right and let us know your favorite place to stay in Paris.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Huge Lilly Pulitzer Sale

Just in time for Labor Day on Nantucket, Lily Pulitzer is hosting a great sale where their preppy prints are about 70% off. The online promotion runs until Saturday but some styles are going fast.

We packed our online "tote" with a  Bloosom Dress, which is $99 from $289, the Dalia Dress, which is also $99 from $189 and the Camie Dress that's $59 from $98. Whatever you do, don't miss the little girls section. Some of the dresses are sweeter than a beachside smore.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What You'll Find at DKNY's Sample Sale

So you're not sure if you should leave your office and venture out to the DKNY sample sale? Well, we hit the sale's press preview and say, "Why not!"

We admit that DKNY may not give you the same adrenaline rush of a good Givanchy sale but you can't underestimate the value of a $5 thrill. The designer's first sample sale sets a great precedence and we were able to find lots of items that made you say: "Why not?"

Sizes are pretty broad and run from 0 to 14 in clothing and from 26 to 32 in jeans. Shoes for men and women are universally appealing while being wallet friendly, ranging in price from $30 to $50. Jackets, coats and other outerwear, including shearlings, are all $125. Denim, knits and tees are $30.

Who can say no to a new bag when it's priced between $30 and $50. After all, it's Tuesday and of course you need a new bag! As expected, tights are a big winner at just $5 a pair. (Love being right!)

So if you're doubting the shopping effort we suggest you follow along in our footsteps and repeat our mantra: Why not!?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

DKNY Sample Sale

DKNY is hosting their first sample sale ever starting Tuesday. Proposed discounts on clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women will be up to 70% off.
We anticipate that the sale will include lots of samples in addition to some DKNY staples, like the cozy. If all else fails stock up on DKNY tights. DKNY's control top has always been much better than Spanx. A girl needs to breath, right?

DKNY Sample Sale
Tuesday, Aug 21 to Saturday, Aug 25
Tues 10am to 5pm, wed &Thurs 9am to 5pm, Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat 10am to 5pm
260 Fifth Ave (Btwn 28th and 29th Streets)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tom Ford Opens at Woodbury Commons

By ManhattanMataHari

Tom Ford opened in Woodbury Common Premium Outlets just last month and we couldn't wait to see if we could fill our laundry list of must-haves from the designer. Without a discount Tom Ford merchandise is mindblowingly expensive. Think along the lines of Balmain and Chanel. Even with the outlet's cut some merchadnise is still quite pricey but sometimes lust trumps financial logic. Isn't that what we love about fashion anyway?

Right now,  ready-to-wear, shoes, outerwear and bags are 60% to 70% off retail. Shoe addicts will be excited to learn that most styles are currently 70% off and next week there will be an additional 5% to 10% cut for the Labor Day holiday. Sadly, this extra discount will not be applied to anything else (as of now.)

Most of the ready-to-wear is from last year's summer collection, which was the designer's first entree into womenswear under his own label. In addition, there are a few outerwear pieces and knits in the mix. There's a descent selection of dresses and more is coming. We are told that Beyonce’s “oyster shell gown” will be available in the next couple of weeks. One standout piece was a black fur embellished coat for $4638 from $11,595.

In the handbag department there is a Carine for $1200 and some satchals and clutches for up to 65% off. There are even some bag styles in ostrich for those determined to have top-of-the-line luxe.

If you know what you are looking for the helpful sales associates are more than willing to pull items for you. Shipping is  $30 but you may be able to avoid sales tax on some items, like NJ.

Tom Ford Outlet 
Travis: 845 684 3100

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Inside Daffy's Liquidation

By ManhattanMataHari

Calling all treasure hunters...
We are extremely sad that Daffy’s will be closing but not so sad as not to take advantage of the rising discounts of their liquidation of stock. While the shopping experience is not for the faint at heart there are still some hidden gems to be uncovered.

Just a few weeks ago, we grabbed $150 Nicholas Kirkwood satin heels and were hopeful to have another lucky shopping day. Right now, everything in the store is an additional 10% to 30% off their already reduced prices. A sales associate told us to expect additional 10% markdowns every other week or so until the store closes in October.

While shopping at the East 57th Street location we found a large selection of shoes shoes and and boots for an additional 10% off. SportMax platform lace-ups and pretty MaxMara pewter leather strappy sandals are $90. Cinzia Soft platform sneakers are $45. There is a decent selection of unknown but well-made Italian labels for around $50 and loads of Polo canvas boat shoes under $25.

Each store usually has their own “designer” clothing area. While most of the "designer" goods are long gone, you will find a plethora of well-made Italian dresses for around $50. We also managed to find a sheer Les Copains wool cardigan for around $70. A sales associate confided that there is a scattering of Les Copains and even some Moschino in the mix but they aren't easy to find.

Vigilant shoppers should be prepared to spend lots of time sifting through the selection. Those who love to dig will have a great time. Non-diggers should stick focus their energy on reminiscing.

Final Walkthrough at Bergdorf Goodman

The final markdown started at Bergdorf Goodman started almost a month ago but straggling shoppers will not be completely disappointed. During a final walkthrough we were still able to keep our purple credit card working.

In the handbag hall, near the 57th Street entrance, there is a rack of bags that are discounted 50%. We found a print PS1 for $929 from $1855, a Victoria Beckham shoulder bag is $1579 from $3150 and a Roger Vivier bag with classic gold brushed hardware is $2429 from $4850. (Seems obvi that the PS1 is a return and the Beckam and Vivier are still too expensive even at half-off.)

If you're a shoe lover, you should probably set your energy elsewhere. The final selection is quite sparse and limited to a few pairs of shoes for each size. At a 50% markdown it's not even a noteworthy discount.

The clothing discounts, however, will really please the sale shopper. Each floor seems to have a set area with discounted merchandise, in addition to designer specific sale racks. We found a cool Derek Lam sweater-- which will be great in early fall-- for $269 from $1090. A red and white Celine sweater is $529 from $2100, a Jil Sander paisley dress is $599 from $2410 and a hot pink Miu Miu mini-skirt is $209 from $820.

Moving on to more "premier designers" we found a red Andrew Gn embroidered dress for $899 from $3600 and a slinky Boudra Jarrar dress is $499 from about $2000. In addition, there is still a small but worthy assortment of Tom Ford dresses and mixed Dior items that can be fun a great mid-summer lift.

If you have been shopping the Bergdorf sales all season you may not be too thrilled with what's left. Alternatively, those who haven't been stalking the store should be able to find some interesting items that are worthy of being taken home.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Domenico Vacca Markdown

Domenico Vacca is hosting a private sale where select summer merchandise is marked down 40%. The sale starts Friday, August 10th and runs through August 19. Online shoppers can browse here, although you will need to speak to a sales associate to find out what items are marked down.

Even though a 40% savings is nice, those looking to save a bit more should wait until Domenico Vacca's final sale in September. During the last big markdown we found a men's sports jacket for under $1500 from $4600.

Domenico Vacca Private Sale
702 Madison Avenue (@62nd st)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Inside Manolo's Final Markdown Sale

By ManhattanMataHari

If you are debating if you should pop over to Manolo Blahnik to scope out their final sale-- don't debate, just go! Although the sale started on Monday, we discovered there are still lots of gorgeous shoes and available sizes at a great price point.

While it's possible to find  a similar discount at department stores or the sample sale, the selection of current season “it” shoes is much better at this boutique sale. Then there's always the increased enjoyment of shopping in the beautiful and wonderfully civilized atmosphere. We attended the sale in the late afternoon and there wasn't even a line at the door.

Available sizes are indicated on the bottom of each shoe. We found that there's still a great selection of sizes but that won't be the case for much longer. We suggest that you choose wisely when you pick shoes to try on. Each customer is only allowed three pair at a time. We suppose this rule limits indecisive hoarders, which is always a good thing for serious shoppers.

Moving on to the selection, we found Carrie Bradshaw’s updated linen and patent Mary Janes, patent and raffia wedges, patent D’Orsays and fun neon pumps all for $195. It was refreshing to see that most of the sandals, flats, and non-embellished or exotic heels we picked up were all in the under $200 category.

In the $250 category you can find shoes with much more intricate detailing. Most of these shoes normally retail for $800 or more. We only found a couple of jeweled heels with $295/green stickers but didn’t see any yellow/ $350 stickers.

As usual, the alligator styles were priced as marked and still pricey, with classic peep toe pumps in a rainbow of colors now $1980 from $2475. There are plentiful slingback and classic pointy pumps in alligator for about the same price.

Sadly, we didn’t really spot any boots or booties, but then again it is a summer sale. The selection of sale clutches in the glass display case isn’t worth waiting for an attendant. We suggest you focus your shopping prowess on the shoes.

Manolo Blahnik
31 West 54th st (between 5th and 6th)
Abby: 212-582-3007
Monday-Friday 10:30AM-6PM

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shoe Obsessed Shoe Sale

Women have fashion on the brain 91 times in a given day or more than four times the amount that men think about sex, according to some arcane and scientifically questionable study. But who are we to argue? Truth is, 91 times a day seems like a conservative estimate.

Since we are talking about fashion obsessions, there's really no reason to overlook one of our favorite fashion topics-- shoes. Starting Tuesday, will host an epic online shoe sale. The online luxury consignment store will be opening the floodgates and posting hundreds of shoes for sale.

Prices will generally range from about $125 to about $225. For example, a pair of Alaïa woven wedge sandals will be $225, Fendi platform sandals will be $145, Giuseppe Zanotti beaded sandals will be $125 and Chanel boots will be $225. Um, that sounds like almost 90% off on that pair of Chanel boots. 

What's even better is that Madison Avenue Spy readers can use the code 20OFF for $20 dollars off any pair of shoes in the sale. Hey, that could even make those Chanel boots more than 90% off. Yes!

So yes, we admit it, we spend a lot of time thinking of fashion but it's better than other obsessions. You can click here to check out the's shoe sale now. The sale ends Thursday and if you miss that perfect shoe those fashion thoughts are going to run off the charts. Shoe Sale 
Tuesday, August 7th through Thursday, August 9
Use the code 20OFF to save $20 on your puchase

Sponsored Post

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fivestory Super Sale

Fivestory only opened on Madison a few months ago but it is already becoming one of our favorite shopping destinations. The multi-designer boutique carries some of the most fashion forward brands and includes clothing, accessories, shoes and home décor for men, women and kids.

The assortment is super-curated so that you feel as if you are browsing the closet of a top style blogger. What's even better is that the boutique is holding an off-site sale at the Blakely Hotel where you can pick up top designer merchandise on a blogger's budget.

The sale includes an assortment of designer darlings for men and women that are discounted from 60% to 75% off. Participating designers include, Preen Carven, Victoria Beckham and Del Toro Shoes.

The sale runs all week and ends Sunday but we suggest shopping early for the best selection. Even if another markdown is taken the difference will be negligible.

Fivestory Off Site Sale
Tuesday, August 7th to Sunday, August 12
Tues-Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat & Sun 12pm to 6pm
Blakely Hotel: 135 West 55th Street (6th & 7th Ave)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Manolo Blahnik Final Markdown

We have made it through two markdowns at Manolo and the final price cut is finally here. Starting Monday, Manolo will begin their final markdown of the season. This four day sale is the perfect opportunity to stock up on classic and ornate shoes from the spring and summer 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.

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.

For a full rundown of past final markdowns you can check out past stories here, here and here.

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

Friday, August 3, 2012

Where to Stay: Hôtel Plaza Athénée

With all the time we spend shopping along Madison Avenue it's a wonder that we have never considered those who do not live in the immediate vicinity. After several requests for hotel recommendations we are dedicating the entire week to uncovering the amazing places to stay along Madison Avenue.

There are basically five hotels from which to choose -- The Mark, The Surrey, The Carlyle, The Lowell and Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Truth be told, the hotels are as varied as the boutiques along Madison Avenue. There isn't a wrong choice among these establishments but we hope to help you find the place to stay that best represents your personal style.

Hôtel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée is the last in our week long series of Where to Stay but don't let that deter you from exploring this property that's rich with European style and quaintness. The hotel, which is located on 64th and Madison, should not be confused with the Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue or The Plaza Athenee in Paris.

The one and only Hôtel Plaza Athénée is furnished heavily with French rococo. There are gold clocks, chandeliers and trompe l’oeil tapestries. Fabulocity may be an understatement. Upstairs, however, the rooms are furnished in a much more traditional atmosphere. Each of the 142 guest room and suite accommodations that vary in style an decor.

The most charming feature of this jewel box hotel are the balconies that accompany a majority of rooms and suites. Those who don't live in New York my not appreciate the value of this type of space but travelers will quickly come to value the easy access to this extra sun drenched filled space.

Our favorite space, of course, was the Presidential suite that's often used for Television interviews and high-end fashion trunk shows. The space has the atmosphere of a private townhouse and can expand to become a full three bedroom suite.

Downstairs guests can pamper themselves at the hotel spa. We love how each spa suite contains it's own dressing room, lounge chair for relaxation and a private steam shower. So there is no awkward moment of bumping into another spa client in your slippers and robe. Genius!

Rates range from about $500 to about $8000 a night and is perfect for those looking for a more traditional European atmosphere in the middle of New York.

Packing tip: Don't forget your Etro prints

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where to Stay: The Lowell

With all the time we spend shopping along Madison Avenue it's a wonder that we have never considered those who do not live in the immediate vicinity. After several requests for hotel recommendations we are dedicating the entire week to uncovering the amazing places to stay along Madison Avenue.

There are basically five hotels from which to choose -- The Mark, The Surrey, The Carlyle, The Lowell, and Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Truth be told, the hotels are as varied as the boutiques along Madison Avenue. There isn't a wrong choice among these establishments but we hope to help you find the place to stay that best represents your personal style.

The Lowell

The Lowell hotel is the smallest among the Madison Avenue hotels but sometimes small has its advantages. The hotel, located at 63rd off of Madison Avenue, is a stone's throw away from Barneys and some the best shopping on the Avenue.

Despite being in the center of it all, The Lowell offers a great amount of privacy. The property is uniquely tucked away to allow for the utmost discretion. This is a huge asset for those looking to duck away from any unwanted attention or paparazzi.

The Lowell prides itself on offering guests personalized service that is only possible in a small hotel.  The Lowell staff suggests speaking to an on-site reservation expert to match your style with the best room for your individual style. In addition, the staff will speak with you (or your assistant) to furnish your suite with personalized items. For instance, jelly bean lovers shouldn't be surprised to walk in and find a full bowl of your fruity favorites.

Upstairs you will find an assortment of relaxed and homey rooms with a twist of perfect old New York sophistication. The Penthouse Suite is undoubtedly the best room in the house. The space, located on the 17th floor, includes two bedrooms with an option for a third. The decor is luxe and classic. There are four private terraces, a wood-burning fireplace and gourmet kitchen. Our favorite feature is the dining conservatory that overlooks the beautiful city.

Rates for the 72 rooms and suites range from about $600 to $8500 for the Penthouse Suite. Our favorite hotel detail is that the antique keys with midnight blue tassels that are given to each guest in place of generic key cards. See, it's the little things that thrill us.

Those staying at the Lowell, visiting the neighborhood or looking for a local jewel must attend afternoon tea. The experience is a sweet indulgence that includes house-made scones and Devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, fresh berries and cream, pastries and petit fours and more than 20 select teas. The Post House, which is located right downstairs, is also neighborhood favorite for dinner.

The Lowell is the perfect destination for those looking for a bit of discression in the misdt of all the action. Midtown is just steps away and annonimity is only paces in the other direction.

Packing Tip: Your Goyard trunk will fit in perfectly

Where to Stay: The Carlyle

With all the time we spend shopping along Madison Avenue it's a wonder that we have never considered those who do not live in the immediate vicinity. After several requests for hotel recommendations we are dedicating the entire week to uncovering the amazing places to stay along Madison Avenue.

There are basically five hotels from which to choose -- The Mark, The Surrey, The Carlyle, The Lowell, and Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Truth be told, the hotels are as varied as the boutiques along Madison Avenue. There isn't a wrong choice among these establishments but we hope to help you find the place to stay that best represents your personal style.

The Carlyle Hotel
The Carlyle hotel is one of the most legendary hotels in New York. The property has hosted some of the most high profile celebrities, dignitaries and socialites. It is a New York classic. What makes this property especially unique is that the building is partially condos. As a matter of fact, each floor has at least one full-time resident.

Even though the Carlyle has an entrance on Madison Avenue, you are going to want to enter through the 76th Street entrance. Upon arrival you will be welcomed by the hotel's Art Deco glamour, which includes classic Baccarat chandeliers and oil paintings that resemble a Renaissance museum.

Each suite in the 124 room hotel is furnished differently and represents the diversity of its residents. During a recent tour we saw suites that ranged from Urban Chic to classic Choinosirie. Before booking a room we suggest that you speak to an on-site reservation expert to identify the space that would be best for you.

The Carlyle is the highest building on Madison Avenue and understandably has some of the best views that extend past central park, through the Hudson River and over to New Jersey. The Empire Suite, which is located on the 29th floor, has absolutely breath taking views from the master bedroom. The Deco-inspired duplex suite has two bedrooms, a full kitchen, office and we can't leave out the cashmere covered walls.

Although all the suites we saw were quite impressive, the Classic rooms more closely resemble a European hotel room. Rates range from about $800 a night for a classic room with a court yard view to $15,000 a night for the Empire Suite.

Downstairs, Cafe Carlyle is legendary for their nighttime entertainment and headliners, which include Ute Lemper and Woody Allen, who regularly appears to jam with the Eddy Davis New Orleans jazz. Bemelmans Bar, just off the lobby, is known to be one of the finest cocktail bars in the world. The Carlyle has a full fitness center, spa and Yves Durif Salon.

The Carlyle is a religious custom for some travelers but a must for those yearning for a classic New York experience. Those who would choose George V in Paris or Claridge's in London will feel right at home at the Carlyle.

Packing Tip: Don't forget your Burberry Trench