Sunday, September 30, 2012

Inspecting Loehmann’s Back Room

By ManhattanMataHari

Loehmann’s has seriously stepped up the designer clothing game in their Back Room designer area. While we find the prices are anywhere from 40% to 70% off retail (essentially the same as the department stores sales through final markdowns), their selection of current seasonal styles is great. Plus, Loehmann’s is always sending coupons to Insider Club members (it’s free to join) and extra 25% off weekends puts your savings more in the sample sale range.

We stopped by the Loehmann’s in Chelsea to scope the selection. On the accessories floor, fans of Loeffer Randal, Siegerson Morrison and Bruno Magli footwear will fare best. We spotted some $370 Stella McCartney booties, Casadei short boots for $340 and even $160 Charles Jourdan slipper pumps. Overall, they have a pretty extensive selection of boots.

There isn’t much in the handbag department, although we did spot a couple of exotic skin Prada handbags that were around $2000 from $6400. If you have a keen eye, definitely head to the sunglasses section where you can find Oliver Peoples for $160, Chloe oversized frames for $120, $140 Derek Lams, as well as $110 Tory Burch sunnies. Even if the classic styles and colors aren’t usually available, we always find Tom Ford in the mix and this time we found three covetable pairs for just $200.

In the designer Back Room you will see a large selection of Armani suits and some nice evening gowns hanging on the back wall. Upon further inspection we found several lovely Pamella Roland gowns, with long versions for $900 and short for $600. Elegant Naeem Khan and Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti gowns for $400 also surprised us quite a bit. Be sure not to miss the $400 Dolce and Gabanna suits and D&G trench jackets. Metallic collection label versions are a bit pricier at $600. There is a great selection of outerwear by Brunello Cuchinelli , Akris, Brioni, and Cacharel. We fell hard for a cashmere lined Loro Piana trench that was priced at $1300. There is also a huge section for Valentino, replete with elegant styles of jackets and coats.

For separates, there are three racks of M Missoni mostly around $200, as well as Jean Paul Gaultier, Etro, Escada, See by Chloe and Moschino Cheap and Chic. Be sure to leave plenty of time for browsing since it seems that now Loehmann’s will be filling the designer discount void left behind when Filene’s Basement went under.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The It-it: Smoking Slippers

By ManhattanMataHari

While nicotine dependence is definitely not fashionable, smoking slippers are set to replace your go-to ballet flats for Fall. Most versions are a traditional velvet or satin. Others variations incorporate floral designs, embroidery, studs or even eye-catching glitter and gems. Either way, your feet will finally get a fashionable reprieve from the sky-high platform heels of the season without resorting to the same cliche flats that we've been wearing for years.

For a more classic take on the trend we love the purist plush velvet look à la Tom Ford. Charlotte Olympia’s spiderweb embroidered velvet version is cute enough to stay fashionable long after Halloween. Valentino has a more elegant take, incorporating caviar-crystal embellished floral lace over leather. Prada is offering a glitter slipper with their signature namesake hardware.

The best part of this footwear trend are the limited edition collaborations and ability to customize your own pair. Del Toro, which is at the forefront of starting the slipper trend, offers many different iterations of the smoking slipper. Our favorite is the rose embroidered collaboration with fashion week darling Theophilus London, which pays homage to his Tour de Roses concert series.

Palm Beach slipper staple, Stubbs & Wootton even teamed up with J. Crew to release high-end embroidered velvet slippers. Before you make a final decision take note that the Madison Ave J. Crew offers bespoke monogrammed versions. If you go that route you can take advantage of J.Crew's current promotion of free shipping and 25% off with code STYLE25.

The best part about the slipper trend is that they come in varieties that fit almost every budget. Whether you like it or not we are confident that this smoking slippers trend will not going out of style anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Loro Piana Sample Sale

It doesn't take much of a chill for us to to start thinking of warm sweaters. The time couldn't be better for the upcoming Loro Piana sample sale, which starts this Sunday.

During past sample sales the discount was about 50% off clothing and 40% off shoes and accessories. Just keep in mind that these finaries normally range from $1000 to $3000.

At last year's sale we found scarves ranging from about $300 to over $1200, cashmere coats for about $1500 and sweaters ranging from $400 to about $2000. So even a half-off discount can be a bit more than some customers want to spend.

Loro Piana Sample Sale
Sunday, September 30 to Thursday, October 4
Sun to Mon 9am to 6:30pm & Thurs. 9am to 5pm
Soiffer Haskin, 317 W. 33rd Street (off 8th Ave)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bloomies Friends & Family

Bloomingdales friends and family will begin Thursday, September 27 and run through Monday, October 1. It's been a while sine we've had a good friends and family sale but we're not sure if this sale really counts as good. The discount is 20% but almost all luxury brands and cosmetics are excluded.

Presale is already underway in stores. Online shoppers can use the code FRIENDS and stack an additional 10% off by registering your email address. When shopping in the store we suggest calling for a manager to arrange for the same additional discount.

Those waiting for the Saks friends and family promotion will need to wait until the third week of October. The discount is the same 20% off and the exclusions are similar.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pucci Madison Opening Oct 15

Pucci's flagship Madison Avenue location will be opening October 15, according to our Spy sources. The boutique, which is in YSL's old location, will be setting the tone for the brand's updated aesthetic.

For some time the Pucci brand has become a bit redundant and waned in popularity. For Fall 2012 the brand's designer, Peter Dundas, took a powerful turn to tone down the flashiness of the brand right in time for the Madison Avenue store opening.

Expect the collection in the new Pucci boutique to be more sultry than you would expect. The Fall 2012 collection fits in perfectly with neighbors Tom Ford and Celine. Of course,there will be lots of house prints too. We just hope the new flagship has some housewares too because sometimes a room needs a pocket of flashiness.

Photo credit:

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Row Sample Sale 70% Off

The Row's first ever public sample sale started today and fans of the brand were thrilled to find that most items were discounted about 70% off. Just be aware, the Olsen twin's fashion designs are as popular as their straight-to-video programing and the line to attend extended surprisingly long.

Our resident The Row expert was thrilled to spot leather pants for $450 from $1500 and a brand classic silk blouse for about $250 from almost $900. Ostrach leather mini-skirts in brown and gray are an absolute show stopper for $2500 from $8500. If there's one item you can't leave without it is the sleek driving gloves, which start at about $95 from a retail price of $325.

Some The Row fans will be excited to see a nice assortment of bags but we prefer other options in a similar price point. Purists can indulge in a Day Luxe tote for $1620 from $5400 or a small shoulder bag for about $1500 from over $5000.

The sale is generally very organized and sizes range from from a tiny-tiny 0 to a still pretty small size 10 or XXS to L. The sale runs through Sunday but we don't anticipate any restocking but there should be price cuts. Don't you love a silver lining?

The Row Sample Sale
Through Sunday, September 23
Fri & Sat 9am to 6:30pm, Sun 9am to 5pm
Soiffer Haskin: 317 W. 33rd Street (off of 8th Ave.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

TJMaxx Filled with Fendi & Lanvin

By ManhattanMataHari

While the Columbus Circle TJMaxx sees a lot of traffic, the Queensboro Bridge store is an underrated treasure trove. It is consistently chock full of designer goodies and tends to be better organized than other stores.

After scoring a Deborah Lippman nail polish upstairs for $6 (retail $18) and headed downstairs, which set us directly across from the jewelry display with some nicely discounted Judith Ripka. While not as cheap as the sample sale, year-round 40% discounted pricing is still pretty good. Candy colored gemstone earrings are $200 to $250 while a large jeweled bracelet is $500.

Moving onto the nearby Runway area, you will find a well stocked selection of designer separates and dresses, as well as outerwear and shoes. We spotted a buttery soft pair of tall Lanvin boots for $600 next to some furry $400 Sergio Rossi booties. It’s nearly impossible to miss the bright yellow tower of Fendi boots ($600) and booties ($400).

Be sure to check out the clothing racks for some great deals. An amazing mod Theysken’s Theory dress is $150, along with knit Catherine Malandrino styles. A sultry La Perla satin and lace number is $130 and M Missoni dresses are $250. Our most surprising dress find was a lovely $400 beaded Valentino evening gown.

The selection of sweater separates for $100 to $150 from Helmut Lang and Vince is great, although a $300 Moschino double blazer caught our eye. Keep alert for Valentino, Escada, Pucci and Tory Burch.

While you're browsing, don't forget to scope the outerwear section. There are loads of nice Dolce & Gabbana jackets for $700 and under. We fell hard for a short $500 Celine cashmere jacket, which is relatively inexpensive.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dolce & Gabbana Sample Sale

The Dolce & Gabbana sample sale starts is stated to start Wednesday at 1pm and an insider tells us there will be a very large assortment of spring 2012 merchandise. The sale is stated to start at 1pm but we all know that means that insiders will be admitted in the morning. (Wink, wink.)

At the last Dolce & Gabanna sale, the most recent merchandise was priced at 50% off. We expect that the markdown will run the same, which would mean that spring 2012 will be 50% off, 2011 will be 60% off, 2010 will be 70% off and anything older will be discounted 80% off. If early shoppers are lucky they might be able to spot some items from the now discontinued D&G line all priced at about $130 or below.

The sale runs through Sunday and markdowns often occur as the end date nears. Don't worry too much if you can't make it to Metropolitan Pavilion for the sale, Dolce & Gabbana has a outlet in Woodbury Common that offers similar discounts all year round.

Dolce & Gabbana Sample Sale
Wednesday, September 19 to Sunday, September 23
Wed 1pm-6pm, Tues to Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm
123 W. 18th St. (bet. 6th & 7th Ave.), 5th Fl
Cash and Credit

Friday, September 14, 2012

Designers Inspired by Books

By ManhattanMataHari

We couldn’t help but notice that several designers seem to have been inspired by “literature.” We found several similarities between best selling books and several collections on the runway. Let us know if you agree with our observations.

Fifty Shades of Grey
The wildly popular erotic novel inspired some good in the form of sexy accessories and racy lingerie styles. Early in the week Jason Wu and his La Perla collaboration showed sexy bustiers, leather dresses, and harness belts that would make even Christian Grey blush. Herve Leger and Ralph Lauren interepreted the trend with more corset style belts, while BCBG Max Azria channeled a suspender harness style. For a more PG-13 rating, look to Edun who incorporated harness inspired details or to Calvin Klein whose normally minimalist designs had exaggerated peekaboo bra details. We also couldn’t help but love Milly’s slimming illusion dress which cheekily gives the silhouette of being in lingerie or a bodysuit. Even Oscar de la Renta got on board with sexy-chic PVC pencil skirts. Is it getting hot in here?

Steve Jobs

Okay, so the Apple founder wasn’t exactly a fashion icon in his signature black turtlenecks and dad jeans but his sheer technological innovation and forward thinking are definitely in vogue. While Diane von Furstenberg’s Google Glasses were definitely the best tech-savvy accessory, other designers used advanced techniques to get their looks. Alexander Wang’s futuristic hair and makeup accompanied intricate cutouts on spliced tops and graphic tailoring on mod dresses and were testament to his tech savvy designs even before the day-glow finale. Calvin Klein sent a fab black and white wave dress down the runway that appeared to undulate with the model’s walk, while Jill Stuart’s plaid laser-cutout white dress was neo-preppy at its finest. Be on the lookout for lots of futuristic stripes, like those which dominated at Marc Jacobs.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth Salander’s love of leather was all over the runways, although luckily it was not limited to punk styled black numbers. Proenza Schouler’s leatherwork was artfully manipulated so the silhouettes had plenty of movement and attitude. Oscar de la Renta went more hardcore than normal, with some punk-inspired yet ladylike colorful leather worked into the collection. 3.1 Philip Lim tried to revive ‘90s grunge. As expected, Helmut Lang pleased the crowd with new silhouettes for their leatherwear, including a great new black leather jacket that would even soften up Ms. Salander.

The Hunger Games
Leave it to Rodarte to continue their Capitol couture domination. Dragon ear-cuffs adorned futuristic and post-apocalyptic styles that are definitely statement making. Band of Outsiders took a more literal inspiration. Designer Scott Sternberg’s collection was heavily inspired by military uniforms and included, camo, army jackets, and combat boots. For Katniss fans, you won’t need to don a hunting jacket since Altuzarra and Rag and Bone’s menswear inspired lines allows for plenty of chicer options. On can’t forget about Katness’s awe inspiring girl on fire gown, which we imagine to be as much of a showstopper as Carolina Herrera’s mini-collection of bright red-orange dresses.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Off the Runway Fashion Trends

Most people believe that the fashion on the runway dictates the future of style. The truth is that these days it's more likely that the fashion from the street will inspire the designs from on the runway.

Leopard prints are always in style but this season the prints and fabrics worn by trndsetters seem to be bolder and brighter. For a more wintery look you can push the boundries of cutting-edge fashion and good taste by opting for a leopard print haram pant in a plush velvet. (Hey we're recording the trends not making them.) For spring 2013 the volume gets very loud with the leopard pattern turning up in brightly saturated colors.

Partially Shaved Heads
We're not sure when partially shaved heads became  fashion fabulous but we have a hunch that BryanBoy has something to do with this trend. Throughout the tents we spotted several attendees sporting dos that included a portion of the head being shaved. Proceed with caution.

Stella McCartney Floral Print Dress
There's always one fashion item that emerges as a must-have item for the season. Last year, it was the Celine luggage tote and this season it is undoubtedly a Stella McCartney floral print dress. This bright blue dress is accented with an Indian-inspired floral pint and has been the must have item for the week. We've spotted several fashion editors and tastemakers wearing this dress and noticed that many sizes are already sold out online. This is one of those items that may not make it to sale season. So but it now, or forever hold your piece (or peace).
You're invited to Girls Night Out at Joie. Thursday evening, from from 5-7pm you can enjoy makeup touch ups by Blue Mercury, fashion consultations and champagne. In addition, a 20% shopping discount to all guests!

Joie Boutique 
1196 Madison Avenue

Sponsored Mention

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Luca Luca Financial Troubles

Luca Luca has long been known as a fashion brand for socialites but even the toniest gals run into money issues from time to time. Sources close with the company tell us that the fashion house has less than two months of operating capital and may be closing for good.

Luca Orlandi started Luca Luca in 1991 and the brand quickly became known for his brightly colored dresses and figure hugging red carpet gowns.  At one point the company had several free standing stores throughout the country and its collections were sold at high-end luxury department stores like, Neiman Marcus and Barneys.

Luca Luca, which usually shows during New York Fashion Week, was absent last season. The brand also quietly closed  its free-standing boutiques including the Madison Avenue space, which is currently the new home for Yigal Azrouël. In addition, the brand's website does not include any product mention of Fall 2012 and we can't find any retailers who are currently selling  product.

We hate to be the messenger of bad news but we think a sample sale (read: liqudation sale) may be in the company's future. What's so bad about a society girl going down partying anyway?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fashion Week Runway Trends: Part I

By ManhattanMataHari

With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week underway, there are several emerging trends for Spring/Summer 2013. The good news? You won’t need to store all the brightly colored clothing from this past season. Additionally, some key pieces may already be in your closet and just require updated accessories. Stay tuned for more trends straight from the runways.

Black & White
While colors are still strong for next spring, black and white are gaining popularity. New takes on the little black dress and white on white are red-hot as seen at Alexander Wang, Tracy Reese, Catherine Malandrino, Cushnie et Ochs, and Victoria Beckham. Black and white combined perfectly together at Chado Ralph Rucci, along with the vibrant yellow also seen at Charlotte Ronson. Orange ranging from muted sherbet to bright clementine shades popped up at Diane von Furstenberg, Tracy Reese, Rebecca Taylor, and Victoria Beckham. Keep an eye out for shades of blue throughout the rest of fashion week.

Bare Midriffs
Charlotte Ronson
For those of us not blessed with a model figure, unfortunately bra tops and bandeau styles that expose various areas of the midriff are back. Peter Som, Jason Wu, Mara Hoffman, Edun, Charlotte Ronson, Catherine Malandrino and others all had various incarnations of bra tops. Thankfully, most were paired with blazers and tasteful bottoms. Even ladylike line Jill Stuart showed some skin, which means we will have to hit up the gym throughout the winter to prep for next Spring.

Tweet of the Wild
Birds are all over Lincoln center. Thakoon, Altuzarra Et et. are all showing flights of fancy paired with floral prints. Most designers are using these designs in a more whimsical fashion rather than a more literal intrerpriatation. We are most positive that this trend will not end in New York and only gain more popularity as European designers show their collections.

Fashion's Night Out Photos

As always, Fashion's Night Out was a very busy evening. This year, Madison Avenue was as lively as ever with Donna Karan striking a pose with Miss Piggy and New York's bravest, Dwyane Wade was signing autographs at Calvin Klein and ballet dancers posed in the window of J. Mendel.

Through out the evening, Madison Avenue shoppers Tweeted, emailed and Instagramed pictures of themselves and their friends. You can see the full photo album here. Now it's time for our big finale: You get to choose who you think is the most fashionable of Fashion's Night Out.

Regardless of the outcome, we want to thank all of our readers who participated in our Fashion's Night Out event and our sponsor, Madison Avenue Business Improvement District. It was so much fun and we can't wait to do it again next year!!!

Most Fashionable of FNO

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Christian Siriano Opens in SoHo

By ManhattanMataHari

Even with all the fuss over Fashions Night Out and New York Fashion Week, we did not want to miss out on the Project Runway alums’ boutique launch party in SoHo. Mr. Siriano himself lent a hand in passing drinks to VIP guests. Uptown gals now have an even better reason to head downtown- the selection of ready-to-wear is more plentiful at the boutique than on the department store racks.

We got a preview of the styles available and Siriano fans will not be disappointed. As expected, there are lots of fierce cocktail dresses. However, we were most impressed with the abundance of classic-but-updated separates. Also be sure to check out his line of accessories, although we suggest avoiding the glittery clutches unless you plan on being a disco ball for the night.

Siriano’s current color palette is primarily black and magenta, with some fun prints and metallics thrown in. The fabrics are luxurious, with prices to match. Smitten with an updated black woven metallic blazer, it took a while to recover from the $900 sticker price (for a few hundred more you could have a vintage Chanel instead). Luckily, a quick browse provided more budget friendly buys.

We suggest stopping by the store on your next SoHo outing. The only downside is the increased cost to cab it downtown. In this instance it might be more effective to just go to a department stores (darn taxi fare hike).

Christian Siriano Boutique
252 Elizabeth Street (between Bowery and Mott)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reminder: Fashion's Night Out

Are you ready for Fashion's Night Out?

We hope you are because the count down is on. Our cast of spies along with the Madison Avenue BID will be looking for the most stylish shopper on Madison Avenue. Please Tweet or Instagram your candidates to @MadisonAveSpy and @MadisonAveBID with the hashtag #MadisonAveFNO. All of your photos will be included in our Madison Avenue Fashion's Night Out photo album, which will be available for everyone to view.

The most stylish ensembles will be posted to Madison Avenue Spy, where you will be able to vote for the most stylish . You can click here for more event details.

See you soon!

Hermes Sample Sale: Epic Fail

Those who were lucky enough to get a VIP invitation to the Hermes sample sale waited in line in the morning rain only to be disappointed by the lack of merchandise and high prices. Sample sale veterans should be warned that there are no bags, small leather goods, scarves, ties or jewelry.

Those still interested in attending the sale for tradition's sake will find most items about 50% off retail. There is an uninspiring assortment of shoes, which include Oran sandals for $315 and heels were $345. China is more like the miss matched brick-a-brack you would find at a thrift store and the few pieces of christal don't even have boxes.

Those who love Hermes or shopping a coveted sample sale should skip this sale. There is really nothing redeeming about going to Ninth Avenue. We'll keep our eyes open this winter for the annual boutique sales. Stay tuned.

Hermes Sample Sale
Wednesday, September 5 to Saturday, September 8.
Wed & Thurs 9am to 7pm, Fri & Sat 9am to 6pm
317 W. 33rd St (between 8th and 9th Aves)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Win a Chanel Bag During FNO

Fashion's Night Out is a little bit like Halloween for adults. You have to map your planned path in order to pick up the best haul. Those looking for one of the sweetest prizes of the night won't want to miss TheRealReal's 100 Model March.

On Thursday, September 6 from 6pm to 9pm there will be 100 RealReal models marching down Madison Avenue from 59th street to 76th street equipped with 15,000 RealReal gift cards. One special model will have a gift card redeemable for a brand new $2400 Chanel handbag.

You can pick up clues about how to find the "Chanel Model" by following along in real time via Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #therealrealFNO. When you find TheRealReal model just say: I am obsessing over TheRealReal. Do you have the Chanel gift card?” And you will walk away with the night's best arm candy.

Those not local can join in the fun on the luxury contentment website and receive $50 off a purchase of $100 or more with coupon code FNO50. The online promotion will take place from 6pm est to 9pm est. Sounds like a candy coated shopping event to us!

Sponsored Post

Madison Avenue Newbies

We love coming back to New York after a long summer away and celebrating all the new additions to the neighborhood. This year has been especially busy with dozens of stores opening in the past several months.

While you've been away --or otherwise distracted-- a variety of stores have opened on the Avenue including, Vince, Rag & Bone, Zadig & Voltaire, Charlotte Olympia, Fivestory, Proenza Schouler and Rebecca Taylor. Shoe stores Schutz and Brian Atwood are expected to open this month and Kate Spade and Anya Hinmarch should be also opening shortly.

We know that you will want to check out all of these Mad-Ave newbies so we put together a virtual walking tour of the neigborhood. We would love to hear what you have to say about the newcomers.

View Madison Avenue Newbies in a larger map

Monday, September 3, 2012

Barney’s Warehouse Sale Extended

By ManhattanMataHari

Most veteran shoppers know that the best time to shop Barney’s Warehouse sale is the end day. Those who have been away and haven’t had a chance to peruse the merchandise will be thrilled to learn that the sale has been extended one more day and will entertain shoppers until 9pm on Tuesday. We would even be so bold to speculate that there will be another markdown before the racks are pulled away.

Currently, shoes and ready-to-wear (stamped with red stars) are an additional 60% off the lowest marked prices. Sportswear and non-stamped designer clothing are an additional 70% off and accessories, lingerie, swimwear, home and children have already been cut an additional 75% off.

Starting in the shoe department, we found the selection for smaller shoe sizes (37.5 and under) to be sparse. With some diligence you may find some cute $208 Alaia booties, but Louboutin and Chanel fans are out of luck. There is still a good selection of Nicholas Kirkwood and Tabitha Simmons shoes. We found Givenchy boots for $307 and Giuseppe Zanotti pumps and peep toes for $144.

As expected, there wasn’t much in the accessories department, unless you’re a fan of B & D studded purses. We were shocked to find a number of white Alaia corset belts now $128, which is a far road from their $1000+ starting price.

Clothing finds were pretty hard to spot too. We spotted Lanvin and Balenciaga separates priced under $200 and an abundance of Carven separates and dresses priced equally discounted. We also spotted a lot of Nina Ricci and L’Wren Scott dresses from the last sale. There were some Holmes and Yang dresses, The Row separates and Rodarte on the racks. Our favorite finds were a shimmering green silk Behnaz Serafpour dress for $224, a cream $232 Stella McCartney blazer and a silk Lanvin jumper for $260.

While we walked away empty handed, it may be worth the cab fare to head down to Chelsea for the start of the last day tomorrow. At the very least, sorting through the remaindering merchandise was entertaining.

Barney’s Warehouse Sale Extended
Tuesday, September 4th
9am to 9pm
255 W 17th St (between 7th & 8th Ave)