Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DVF Sample Sale Just Isn't the Same

The Diane von Furstenberg sample sale is back following a two-year hiatus. Today the sale opened to a eager crowd of shoppers that were no doubt looking to capture the glory days of sample sales.

Packed sample sale racks, special addition pieces and in-season merchandise made DVF a favorite of sample sale veterans. This debut hardly represents the past sales we used to love. The first disappointment is that there are no sample sale racks. There are also very few items from the current summer collection and only a handful of limited edition items.

On the bright side, prices have remained the same. Wrap dresses and non-wrap dresses are just $100, tops are $50, gowns are $150 and fur and leather items are $250. In addition to this past season's sweaters there are a handful of swim options priced at $40. Just take note, that the cover ups are categorized as $100 dresses. (You can click here to see pricing and pictures.)

A lot of the sale's inventory is from winter 2015. We spotted lots of chiffon pieces with velour patches, lip prints and tweeds. The best items are the gowns, which are located on the far left of the sales floor. There you will find long kaftans, fabulous laced pieces and embellished gowns what are all well worth the $150 price tag.

Shoppers will also find a small assortment of shoes and accessories. Large bags are $100, clutches are $75 and shoes are $40. Despite the attractive prices we still weren't lured by any of the accessories. Perhaps a trio set of pouches for $25 could be a nice gift?

This is the first time we recall ever leaving this sale empty handed. Shoppers would likely have better luck shopping an end of season sale. Maybe it's a sign of the times. Sample sales just aren't what they used to be.

DVF Sample Sale
Through June 5
Wed—Sat 10am—8pm, Sun 10am—4pm
260 Fifth Avenue

Net-a-Porter Sale Begins Up to 50% Off

Net-a-Porter just went live with their Spring season promotion. (We would have posted about the sale sooner but we weren't permitted.)

Even though this isn't the 'best' markdown there are always interesting finds. This rainbow Anya Hindmarch tote is 30% off and comes to $1396 from $1995, an black lace Self-Portrait dress is 40% off and these See by Chloe clogs are 50% off and come to just $178.

Among the clothing is an assortment discounted 50%. Here's a Rosie Assouline dress for $1350 and a Maje denim dress for $205. Head this way for your 50% off Gianvito Rossi heels, Charlotte Olympia kitty slippers, Tabitha Simmons espadrille wedges or a mini Alaia bag.

Last year, the next markdown occurred on June 8th. We wouldn't be surprised if the site slashed prices around the same time-- even if it's just a week away.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Holiday Weekend Shopping: The Best of Sale

Weekend bags have become the biggest accessory coming off Madison Avenue. It's sale season-cum-summer and just because everyone is heading out of town, doesn't mean the discount hunt will come to an end. So while you're sitting in traffic on the LIE, you can browse the hottest sale items on the internet.

You can scroll through the slideshow below to see some of the most covetable sale items and find a full list of available holiday weekend discounts. As always, shoes and handbags are a hot commodity but uptown girls will never underestimate the value of a great dress.

extra 20% off
Ends: May 30

15% off a selection of summer items
Ends: 5/29

Take an extra 20% off select sale & clearance items
Ends: 5/30

Century 21
$20 Off Any Order Over $100
Ends: 5/30

30% Off Select Styles
Code: SUMMER30
Ends: 5/30

Savings up to 50% Off
Ends: 5/31

J. Crew
30% Off Your Purchase
Ends: 5/31

Moda Operandi
Up to 50% Off
Ends: 5/30

Rebecca Taylor
Extra 25% Off Sale Styles
Code: EXTRA25
Ends: 5/31

The RealReal
Extra 20% Off
Ends: 6/1

Department Store Discount Cheat Sheet

Almost all of the seasonal merchandise in department stores are on sale. At most of our local shopping destinations, spring and summer clothing is discounted 40% off but the prices of shoes and handbags vary greatly.

Some boutiques are offering even lower discounts than the department stores. For instance, Lanvin and Prada are both offering customers a 50% savings. Below is a comparison chart of Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Chanel, Celine and Louboutin still haven't gone on markdown. We expect a sale to break on these brands on June 9 but we'll keep you posted. Saks seems to have the best shoe selection. It's a mess but it's the only place where we were able to find a good variety of Gucci and Fendi. If you're looking for something from Gianvito Rossi, you'll need to head to Barneys where the discount is 40%. These suede slingbacks are spot on for this season.

Here is your discount cheat sheet:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Madison Avenue Presales: Chloe, Dolce & Givenchy

Memorial Day may not offer the best discounts but some consider it the warm weather equivalent of Black Friday. Presale has started at many Madison Avenue boutiques and most stores will officially begin their markdowns next week. We've been investigating the private sale situations in our neighborhood. Here's the scoop on Prada, Valentino & YSL and below are a few more places to banquet.

The Chloe boutique has reluctantly started presale, since every store that carries Chloe has already offered merchandise at a discount. The discount on clothing is 40% off and bags are 30% off retail. The bad news is that no Drew bags or Faye bags are included in the markdown. Some Hudson, Marcy and Keri bags have made it to the discount section. The boutique has fewer styles of shoes on markdown but we are told that they will 'give competitive department store discounts' if you ask.
Lauren: 212-717-8220

Dolce & Gabbana
Lemon prints have never been so sweet as they are when discounted 40% off. Many bags and shoes are also included in the markdown. We just have a hard time justifying a $3000 cotton dress every season. Even at 40% off those pom-pom shoes are $1437 but who can put a price tag on a work of art? We suggest waiting for further markdowns, this print at Nordstrom is already discounted 50%.
Stephanie text 201-951-2597

The Givenchy sale officially goes public on May 24 but presale is already underway. Right now you can save 50% on clothing and 40% on handbags. Bags included in the markdown the Pandora, Markus, Antigonas and Nightingales. Unfortunately, this season's leopard prints are not quite doing it for us. We're not sure we would jump on those at any price.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Madison Avenue Presales: Prada, Valentino and YSL

Temperatures are rising and so are markdowns. Today we collected presale intelligence from some of our favorite boutiques. As you can expect, we are just calling this our seasonal amuse bouche. Enjoy!

The Prada presale started today and opens to the public on May 27. The Italian luxury brand has recently experienced difficulty attracting the attention of fashionistas but is likely to turn some heads with a 50% discount. We suggest directing your focus on the metal perforation bags. In the shoe department the flatform and woven espadrilles are the way to go.
Zohair 212-664-0010

Hedi is out and discounts are up. Presale started today. Handbags are discounted 30% and shoes and clothing is reduced 40%. You can click here to see pictures of assorted styles included in the sale. Highlights include the College bag, pink Sac du Jour and cross bodies.
Miguel (YSL Boutique) 516-493-1929

You can save 40% on your favorite Rockstud variety. The presale starts Tuesday and opens to the public on May 26. Included in the markdown are 1975 pastel rainbow pumps and bags. If you can't make it to the Valentino store, we suggest you head to Barneys where the discount is the same. Keep your eyes out for Rockstud shoes with pink leather and blue studs or periwinkle.
Neusa 212-772-6969

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gucci Private Sale Online Now

We know you've been waiting patiently ( or impatiently) for the Gucci online sale-- and it is on! The like is right this way the PRIVATE GUCCI SALE. Shoes, bags and accessories are reduced up to 50% off but all clothing has been omitted from the online markdown.

Once you check into the site you won't want to miss the wide assortment of shoes and bags discounted 30% to 50% off. There are some very good finds in the shoe department. Gucci horsebit loafers are reduced to $289 from $575 and mid-heel sandals are $300 from $595.

We urge you not to hesitate. As of now, everything listed seems to be fully stocked but that won't be the case for long.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Step Inside Saks Fifth Avenue's Presale

We've spent the majority of the week exploring the sale selection of our local department stores. (You can click here to see what we found at Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.) Today we tackled the presale shopping frenzy that's underway at Saks Fifth Avenue.

The discount on shoes and handbags is 30%. Clothing will be reduced up to 40%. Presale will continue through the weekend and the sale officially kicks off on Monday. That's when shoppers' purchases will ship out or they can pick them up.

Among the bag selection, we found a rather large selection of styles from Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Jimmy Choo, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Stella McCartney. The Lanvin selection was already picked through but the sale selection from Dee Ocleppo is diverse and understated.

On eight, in the shoe emporium, everything that will be on sale is noted with a presale sign. The very large selection of Valentino and Giuseppi Zanotti sale shoes are displayed on tables. The rest of the sale shoes are on a maelstrom of racks. We were surprised to see so many Fendi monster style shoes. We spotted monster mohawk sneakers that are now $840 from $1200, bug stud flats that are $490 from $700 and jacquard espadrilles that are $280 from $400.

On the shoe racks (and all over the floor) we also spotted the best sale Gucci selection we've ever seen. Included in the Saks markdown are strappy booties that are about $900 from almost $1300, floral mules are $462 from $660 and linen clogs are about $700 from $1000.

You can scroll below to see the sale items online or click here to see dozens of pictures of shoes and bags that are now on sale.

Clothing: Delphine 646-370-0032
Shoe Salon: Gilbert 646-206-0618

Touring Bergdorf Goodman's Presale +60 pics

As you're finalizing your Memorial Day plans, retailers are beginning to start their seasonal clearance. As always, we will be starting our markdown roundups. Today we slipped into Bergdorf Goodman to collect detailed presale intelligence.

The discount at Bergdorf Goodman is 30% off on shoes and bags. Many clothing brands are marked down up to 40%. Presales can be shipped or picked up next week.

This season, we are seeing a broader trend in department stores holding back select brands from the first markdown. Usually the big holdouts are Chanel and Louboutin. This season the embargo list at the Lavender Lady is much larger and includes the following labels: Tom Ford, Brunello Cucinelli, Robert Clergerie, Alexander McQueen, Malone Souliers, Valentina Carrano, Giorgio Armani, Mansur Gavriel, Celine, Christian Louboutin, Dior and Chanel.

We don't have an exact date when these brands will go on sale but we have heard June 9th thrown around. It should also be noted that the assortment of items that did go on sale seems to be very small. For example, denim Valentino bags with embroidered butterflies, from the spring collection, are not on sale--yet. Many seasonal Lanvin bags also haven't been given the discount treatment. We wouldn't be surprised if we saw more items added to the sale selection as the season continues.

Some sale highlights include the Fendi selection. This classic Fendi 2Jours trimmed with bright yellow that comes to about $1500 from $2250 and this Micro Peekaboo is already on sale online ($1079 from $1550). The assortment of Saint Laurent bags also seems to be exceptional and includes lots of fringe style bags, like the small Cabas bag that's about $1800 from $2600 and various colors of the monogram shoulder bags.

Among the sale shoes, the most wanted items are lots of Aquazzura lace up flats and heels. Various suede flats come to $475 from $675. There is also a large sale selection from Saint Laurent including Tribute sandals in about a dozen colors. Trib platforms with 135mm heels come to $625 from $895. Denim Saint Laurent pumps are $450 from $645. The Valentino Rockstud sale selection is very small and includes wedge espadrilles that are reduced to $625 from $895 and red ballet flats that are $544 from $775.

You can scroll below to see the sale items online or click here to see dozens of pictures of shoes and bags that are now on sale.

Contact Doreen: 347-986-9483

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Madison Ave Real Estate Changing Course (Again)

Madison Avenue retailers seem to change as quickly as fashion trends. Most recently, we've noticed an abundance of vacant retail spaces that have left large gaping retail holes along the world-renowned Avenue.

Despite economic strength(ish), it's hard not to think back to the Great Recession of '09 where entire blocks were basically empty. The chairman of retail leasing for Douglas Elliman and bonafide Madison Avenue real estate maven, Faith Hope Consolo warns, "Don't even go there. It's not the same at all." Instead, she implors that Madison Avenue is a constant revolving door.

Despite how the door swings, it's hard not to take note of the larger spaces that have become available. There is Emporio Armani at 59th Street, DKNY at 60th Street, Donna Karan at 68th Street, Reed Krakoff at 70th Street and Joe Fresh at 80th Street. There are also several smaller spaces available located at the newly renovated Carlton House. Comptoir des Cotonniers and Lisa Perry have also recently exited.

Rents on Madison in the 60s were as high as $2200 to $2800-a-square-foot but have backed down to $1500 to $1800-a-square-foot, Consolo says. "The numbers are still aggressive but landlords are readjusting their expectations. For the first time, in a long time, the landloards are listening. If there is a good tenant then they are listening and making deals."

When vacancies are left along Madison Avenue it's not just an economic change but it's also a quality of life issue. One local resident said, "It's not like I shop in every store but when a store closes it leaves a gaping hole. I miss looking into the windows and seeing what's new. Walking past blacked out windows and plywood is awful."

From 2009 until just recently, the big retail trend was contemporary brands taking luxury spaces on Madison Avenue. Many of these retailers are struggling as moderately priced fashion lines are falling out of favor. Shoppers appear to be willing to spend lots of money for uber-luxury labels and are also content settling for the cheap thrill from fast fashion. It's the retailers that fall in between, or fashion's version of the middle class, that are feeling the biggest squeeze.

A spokesperson for the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District says that there have been 39 store openings and expansions in the last 10 months. "For every five [stores] that fall out there are six ready to fall in," Consolo says.

In 2015, we saw several jewelry and watch brands take smaller spaces in the 60s. The newest trend for retailers is leisure and sportswear along the lines of Lululemon and Sweaty Betty. In the future, we expect to see lots of beauty, cosmetic and fragrance brands taking smaller spaces in the 70s and 80s. Nars recently opened a space at 77th Street, Annick Goutal opened last year at 78th Street. We've heard rumblings that Blue Mercury, Sephora and the LVMH-owned Benfit beauty line are all shopping for a Madison Avenue presence.

Rumors aside, shoppers can look forward to several exceptional brands swinging open their doors on Madison. Some of the most anticipated store openings for the second half of 2016 are Brioni, Acne, Elie Saab and The Row. You can click here to see more details about recent store openings, expansions and new developments.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Barneys Presale Begins With 40% Off

Barneys shoppers can begin to presale for the first markdown starting Monday. The discount is 40% across the board-- clothing, shoes and bags for men, women and children. Besides the outstanding selection, 40% discounts make Barneys the best department store to shop for Summer deals.

Presales are akin to the "quiet period" before a company goes public. You can't actually buy the merchandise but you can have your broker, oh sorry-- sales person, hold your preferred items until the sale officially begins. Most stores take your credit card information and charge your account when the items ship or are picked up. Chanel, Alaia and Louboutin will not be marked down at any department store or boutique until the beginning of June.

This season has been particularly a difficult time for retailers. Expect to find some unexpected items thrown into the sale pile. For example, Manolo Haganisi heels in various colors are included in this seasons' markdowns. Also expect to find lots of Valentino, Givenchy and Saint Laurent classics. Stay tuned for more details of what's included in the first markdown. For now, you can browse some of our favorites below.

Barneys' sales associates aren't always forthcoming with presales. If there is an item you want to secure, we suggest that you give your name and number to the respective brand associate and have them call you when the discount becomes available. You can usually expect a call within hours of leaving the store.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Gucci Four-Day Private Sale

Retail sales have had a difficult year, except for a very select group of fashion brands that are white hot. Gucci happens to be one of these exceptions, as Alessandro Michele has turned the nearly extinct Italian brand into a fashion stallion.

For the past couple of years, Gucci had just one markdown at various times surrounding Memorial Day. Last year, was practically a fire sale as the company divested itself of merchandise from previous resident designers. This sale season is going to be much, much different.

Inside sources tell us that Gucci boutiques, and the spaces Gucci leases within department stores, will host a four day sale. The private sale will begin on Wednesday, May 18. Clothing from this past season's collection will be reduced 30%, while seasonal style shoes and handbags will be reduced 40%.

Manhattan-bound Gucci shoppers can shop the discounts at the brand's three boutiques-- Trump Towers, Madison Avenue and Brookfield Place. Department store leased spaces include the Gucci ready-to-wear and handbag department at Saks Fifth Avenue (not shoes) and the Gucci handbag department at Bloomingdales.

We are told that these four days will be the only discount opportunity offered by Gucci. After Saturday, the merchandise will be returned to full price and shipped out of stores when the season ends. The sale schedule on non-leased Gucci merchandise-- Bergdorf Goodman, Saks shoe salon and Barneys-- are up to the individual stores.

We suggest that Gucci fans quickly contact with a reliable sales person to assist in securing your desired items. There will also be an online sale but we aren't sure of the dates. Stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spring Markdowns: Saks 60% Off

The Saks Glam Gardens have bloomed once again. What's become an annual botanical explosion, includes over 1000 handmade artisanal paper flowers, 120 boxwood topiaries and 10 full-grown climbing trees that create a striking display outside and throughout the store.

Beauty participants include Dior, Chanel, Nars, Jo Malone, Lancome and more. The displays will be open through May 24. When you're done smelling the roses you're going to want to click over to the contemporary sale that's posted right here. (For some reason it's not available going through the homepage.) There, you will find lots of spring items for 60% off.

This Sonia by Sonia Rykiel tweed jacket is $275 from $460, a Tamara Mellon fringe skirt is $300 from $750 and a Christoper Kane top is $450 from $1145.

The bag and shoe selection isn't very exciting. If you just wait two weeks, there will be lots of exciting news to discuss. We promise!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Nancy Gonzalez Sample Sale VIP Access

Nancy Gonzalez is hosting her bi-annual sample sale where her famous exotic skin bags will be significantly reduced. The sale doesn't open to the public until Monday, May 16 but Madison Avenue Spy readers will be given VIP access.

Shoppers can attend the pre-sale  on Sunday by giving a $36 donation, which will go to New York Cancer Center. Please email us here if you would like to attend. If you can't make it to the sale preview, readers who RSVP will be given the opportunity to cut the line throughout the sale.

Space is limited and you must RSVP to access these VIP perks. There will be a guest list at the door on Sunday. The remaining dates of the sale are open to the general public.

We are told that this season's sale will have more merchandise than ever before. Past Gonzalez sample sales include an impressive inventory of exotic styles and colors. The prices at the last sale were almost as impressive as the assortment of merchandise starting at just $500.

This sale is always very popular and can be quite chaotic. We suggest that serious Nancy Gonzalez shoppers should take advantage of this VIP-shopping opportunity.

Nancy Gonzalez Sample Sale
VIP Shopping: Sunday, May 15 from 12pm-5pm
Public shopping: Monday, May 16 through Wednesday, May 18
Mon 9am-6pm, Tues 10am-6pm, Wed 10am-4pm
37 West 57th Street, 9th FL

Sponsored Post

Here, Kitty Kitty (Charlotte Olympia)

Charlotte Olympia is kicking off the markdown season with a private presale. Shoes and bags from this past spring and summer collections are now marked down 50%.

There is a huge assortment of merchandise included in presale. Just remember, the store only has one size of each item. You can browse through the sale assortment using this link. Some of our favorite styles include the leopard kitty slippers (and bag), pouty lips bag and this classic platform Dolly pump.

The boutique will not allow any holds. All sales are final and orders called in over the phone must be secured by payment. Take note, that link is just a cross section of the sale offerings. Yes, there's a lot.

Harlina 212-744-1842

Bonpoint Summer Sample Sale

Bonpoint is the go-to brand for children's luxury clothing, shoes and accessories. And while kids are the go-to ambassadors for destroying most anything, it's still our job to keep them looking civilized. We sometimes dare to indulge and teach them to appreciate the value of quality.

Today we were invited to get an early sneak peak of Bonpoint's sample sale before it opens to the public on Wednesday. Loyal boutique and sample sale fans will be pleased to know that everything about this sale is almost identical to prior sales. The discount is a straight 60% off. Sizes range from fresh-out-of-the-oven to I'm-getting-too-old-for-this-look. There are even some items for adults.

Almost all of the merchandise is for the Summer season, along with some button downs and sweaters that will serve you well into fall. Personally, we always favor the winter sale for the luscious coats and beautiful boots. Everything about Summer requires less formality and doesn't require the same variety of luxe clothing.

One of the differentials of this year's sale is that are a lot of size twos and threes, which tend to be the smallest selection and quickest to go. There was also a large assortment of newborn merchandise. Expect to find the classics, like button down shirts and huge selection of girls sandals in a lot of sizes.

Recently, we've noticed that Bonpoint is mixing in a few trends with their classics. For example there were a lot of chambray shirts, for both boys any girls. There are a lot of trendy cute jackets for the Spring (or Fall) and printed tees. Click here to see some pictures from inside.

Bonpoint Sample Sale
Wednesday, May 11th through Thursday, May 12th
Wed 9am—7pm, Thu 9am—3pm
Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W 18th St (btwn 6th & 7th Ave), 5th FL

Moda Operandi Friends & Family 50% Off

If you haven't noticed, Madison Avenue seems to have more vacant storefronts then it's had since the Great Recession of '09. Luxury retail is clearly struggling and if a brand isn't white-hot, it's likely struggling.

Several retailers have told us that sale season will have the deepest and most expansive discounts shoppers have seen in almost a decade. Don't expect stores to hold fire sales, but you can surly count on deliberate and aggressive markdowns.

The first big designer sale of the season is coming by way of Moda Operandi. Right now, the site is offering customers a discount of 50% off on a wide assortment of merchandise. Use the code MOMAY50 to engage the discount.

Among the bags in the sale, we found a Elena Ghisellini Felina that now comes to $1185 and an Eddie Borgo satchel is $1600. Not too much. The shoe selection has a lot more options but sizing is sketchy. These playful Aquazarra heels with pom-poms are now $410, Mira Mikati sneakers are $330 and there are also lots of Del Toro and Stubbs & Wootton smoking slippers.

As is often the case, the clothing selection in the sale is more extensive. Check out this Tome ruffled skirt that comes to $385, a Vika Gazinskaya skirt with embroidered flowers is about $1000, and a Preen white dress is $780. Among the more moditerly priced items are Frame Denim bellbottoms that come to $120, an ALC midi-skirt that's now $200 and and Isolda one-piece swimsuit is $120.

The sale runs through May 16, but we are sure there won't be much merchandise left by then. By the end of June you can expect Moda to offer discounts that hit 75% off.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Kidpik: Wins Extra Mom Points

As Mother's Day comes to a close, it's nice to take a look back and appreciate all the sweet notes, kisses and love that goes into making an ordinary Sunday so special. In many ways, Mother's Day is as much about making the kids happy as it is celebrating motherhood.

If you're looking to really knock the socks off your kids, as we always are, we strongly suggest you consider the newest fashion subscription gift box that's focused entirely on girls from size 4 to 24. Kidpik, which launched earlier this year, combines the luxury of personal styling with the convenience of home shopping. The best part is that the quality is top notch and the pries are incredibly affordable.

After filling out the online style questionnaire, Kidpik will deliver a curated, fashionable collection for girls each season. The personalized box contains at least six coordinating items that are wrapped and packaged in a way that would make any girl squeal from happiness.

Upon hearing about the new concept we ordered two subscriptions. [For the record, we paid for both boxes. This isn't an advertisement.] The first box was for an 11-year-old girl and came with a lace dress, a white denim jacket, white jeans, a pink sleeveless gingham blouse, gladiator sandals, a blue tie-dye tee, adorable iron-on patches, sunglasses and leather bracelets. The second box was for a 9-year old girl and was packed with a maxi-sun dress, a coordinating dazzled tee and skirt, a light knit sweater, jean shorts, a tank top, sandals (not shown because they didn't fit) bracelets and playful iron-on patches. (You can see pictures of the merchandise and more of our in-house models right here.)

Kidpik doesn't charge any subscription or styling fees and if you keep all the contents of each box you get a 30% discount. That brings the total price of a custom wardrobe to $75 to $100, which is an amazing value. Obliviously, the discount incentivizes customers to keep the entire shipment. If you don't like an item it doesn't even make economic sense to remove it from the package. In those instances, you can send the unwanted item back to Kidpik and the merchandise be donated to children in need. (Nice twist, huh?)

Normally, we wouldn't gush over a box of children's clothing but the value and quality offered by Kidpik is none like we have ever seen before. We just wish they would offer a pack-the-camp-trunk service. Now, that would be a dream for us moms and the kids too!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Frieze New York Spills on to Madison Aveue

We started the week off celebrating the fashion as an art from with the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's newest Costume Institute exhibit. We are closing out the week with more art appreciation as Frieze New York begins, on Friday.

Pazooki Leila, Feel Your Feelings

Frieze (pronounced Freeze) New York started in London more than 25 years ago and has become one of the art industry's largest trade show. Housed under big tents on Randalls Island, the fair runs through Sunday and showcases some of the biggest and brightest in the art world. That means you can expect to see your social media platform of choice streaming with 'interesting' images all weekend long.

If you're not interested in trekking to Randall's Island we suggest you explore modern art right here in our neighborhood. The Surrey Hotel, which is on Madison Avenue at 76th Street, recently added a gallery component called, "ArtSpeak." A lineup of eight artists showcases contemporary veterans like Ryan McGinness, known for fusing high and low culture through veneers of spray paint and silk- screening, to newly introduced electroluminescent works by Jonny Detiger. You can check out more about the participating artists and their work, right here.

The exhibits can be found throughout the hotel, including the rooftop garden. The hotel commissioned artist Peter Gerakaris, where he has executed a floating garden in the middle of the rooftop. The instillations incorporates colorful, saturated organic images of plants and flowers that nonetheless serve as his own symbols of communication.

The Surrey has always been known for it's fine art, including the signature six-foot tapestry of model Kate Moss, “Kate” by Chuck Close. This is the first-ever multiple-artist exhibition at the hotel. It's clear that it's making an effort to position itself as the neighborhood's definitive destination for chic art and hospitality. The strategy couldn't be better, considering The Met Breuer opened just blocks away.

The exhibit will run through August 31. We couldn't imagine a more fitting place to spend time and appreciate art-- regardless of if you are visiting or staying at the hotel. It's always been our favorite near-home retreat and now there is even more to appreciate.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Luxury 9 Is Designer Discount Heaven

When you're shopping for discounted designer merchandise you're almost always looking at items that are several seasons old. This is not the case at our favorite new mid-town discount store. Luxury 9 has this season's most coveted and rare fashion items steeply reduced prices.

During a stop yesterday, we found a python green Phantom Celine bag that's $3800 from $5950, an orange Micro Celine Luggage Tote is $2200 from $2700 and a gorgeous tri-color Celine Trapeze is $2300 from $2950. The craziest thing is that they are all this season's bags. (You can see pictures of the bags right here.)

We also spotted this season's Gucci Boston bag with the bird print for $1300 and a cherry blossom painted wallet for $499. A white Prada Saffiano Cuir Convertible Tote is $1807 from $2780 and a one-of-a-kind crocodile Rockstud Double Handle Shopper is $7000. (One can only imagine this bag's retail price but we bet it's more than some cars.)

If you can get past the bags you might not be able to pull yourself away from the Manolo Blahnik Hangisi shoes with gemstones or pearls. All are this season's colors and are in perfect condition with the box and dust bag. Hangisi heels are $870 from $965 and the flats are $750 from $935. (There are pictures right this way.)

Luxury 9 is also packed with clothing that is priced up to 90% off retail. Most items are sticker coded and range from $25 to $150. Some standouts are a red Roland Mouret top, a McQueen skirt and a Chloe blouse that are all just $150.

Tucked away in the corner, we spotted Saint Laurent items like a leather skirt with heavy zippers for just $500 and an exquisite dress for just $300. You might want to grab these, as they might become collectables as Hedi Slimane gets comfortable designing for Chanel.

This store has so much merchandise that you might want block out a full hour so that you can fully appreciate the breadth of fashion that's available. Also, don't be shy to ask for a better price. You might get lucky on some items.

Luxury 9 accepts phone orders and will ship purchases. They will even schedule personal shopping services if you need help finding your way through the designer emporium. All we can say is-- good luck!

Luxury 9
375 Lexington Avenue @ 41st Street
Sunday to Thursday 11am to 8pm
Friday 11am to 6pm
Closed Saturday

Giambattista Valli One-Day Sample Sale

Giambattista Valli is hosting a one-day sample sale and we just got word that the discounts will be as dramatic as Beyonce's entrance to the MetBall. The event, which will take place on Thursday, will feature dresses and other fashions with prices slashed up to 80% off retail.

Our informants weren't able to provide too many examples, but we got pictures of a stunning summer dress with flower appliqué that will be $400 from $2700 and a more basic shift dress that will also be $400 from $2700. The sale will include open stock from this season, looks from off the runway and real samples-- pay attention size 2s and 4s.

We have a good feeling this sale will be talked about for some time. It's just too bad that it wasn't scheduled  before the MetBall.

Giambattista Valli Sample Sale
Thursday, May 5
605 West 25th Street, 8th Fl

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Shopbop Surprise Sale: 40% Off

The weather may not be very warm right now but that isn't stopping Shopbop from starting an early Summer sale. Right now, you can head this way to browse a large assortment of merchandise that's reduced 40% off.

First markdowns usually don't start until right before Memorial Day but from what we hear the retail environment is not doing very well. We have heard that sales this year will be earlier than they have been for some time and that discounts will be much higher. We expect this 'Surprise Sale' to be the first of many.

Inside the Shopbop site, we found classic Ferragamo Varina (bow flats) for $367 from $525, Prada sunglasses are $227 from $335 and a Mara Hoffman bikini is $78 from $112. We even spotted an inflatable pool swan that's reduced to $50 from $70 and a gigantic beach ball ($138 from $200). You can earn the price of both those pool toys back with Instagram likes in no time.

This sale is only for three days and runs through Thursday. Some popular items are running low but you can expect to see lots of this merchandise continue to make it's way up the discount ranks.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wardrobe Update: Vince Camuto at Nordstrom

Vince Camuto has maintained it's standing as a winning brand at department stores. Part of the band's success is that the clothing, shoes and accessories are consistently on trend and come in a variety shapes, sizes and styles.

Although the Vince Camuto passed away not too long ago, his legacy lives on and his design team continues to produce the fashionable items that shoppers crave. This season, Nordstrom has a great assortment of Vince Camuto options. This faux wrap jersey jumpsuit is universally flattering, as is this powder blue belted shift dress.

The shoes this season are particularly on trend. Check out these suede peep-toe lace-up sandal pumps, cut-out loafers and this espadrille sneaker. Scroll below to see more of our favorites from Vince Camuto.

Online shoppers should take advantage of Nordstrom's free shipping and free returns. If only all stores were as easy to shop as Nordstrom.

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Manus x Machina: Redefining Haute Couture

In our neck of the woods, the first Monday in May is much of a holiday as, say, the first Monday in September or the fourth Thursday in November. It's Met Day! It's the time of year, when the entire fashion and art world direct their attention towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

Beyond the parties and celebrities, the Met attempts to further establish fashion as an art form in its own right. This year's theme is Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. The exhibit explores the dichotomy between handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde prêt-à-porter.

Inside, museum goers will be astounded by the cathedral structure that was erected to house the exhibit. The two floor layout, which was designed by architectural firm OMA, is essentially a building-within-a-building. Soft sculpture encapsulates the fashion vignettes, which are all accompanied by detailed explanations of process and materials used to fabricate each design. This was perhaps the most enriching part of the exhibit. (You can click here to see lots of pictures from inside the exhibit or our Instagram feed to see our favorites along with commentary.)

The exhibit's main showcase is a Karl Lagerfeld-designed, Chanel haute couture wedding ensemble that features a 20-foot train. The dress is made of scuba knit-- that's a similar material Kohl's uses for 75% of their designer collaborations. The difference is that this gown was hand molded and hand finished. The gown's spectacular details include gold, glass, crystals, palettes and gold leather leaf.

Throughout the rest of the first floor exhibit, you will find other wonderful examples of how machines have elevated the technical mastery of our most celebrated tailors. An elaborate dress from Dior's Summer 2014 collection was sewn by machine but then finished by two brodeurs, embroiderers. The underdress of the gown is embellished with clear plastic crystals, red glass sea beads and white plastic flower shaped paillettes. The finished product speaks to the proficiencies of an artist who has mastered more than just one method.

Other highlighted designers include Miuccia Prada, Pierpaolo Piccioli (Valentino), Alber Elbaz (Lanvin), Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), Mary Katrantzou,Hussein Chalayan and so many more.

Downstairs, the exhibit is broken up into three significant pillars of fashion métiers, or jobs: pleating, lace, leather. Visitors are given detailed explanations about methods and fabrications.

This exhibit is less of a history lesson than any past Costume Institute instillation. There is so much information waiting to be revealed. It may take several visits to digest all the knowledge. We are just so happy that it's so conveniently located in our neighborhood.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Outnet: Extra 30% Off Important Designers

When most sales exclude almost every important designer it's extra refreshing to see a sale dedicated to discounting merchandise from the designers we love most. Right now, The Outnet is hosting a sale where an assortment of items from several popular designers are discounted an extra 30% off from their already reduced prices.

This sale includes lots of pieces from Balmain, Lanvin and Valentino. For instance, this Balmain jacket comes to $1000 from $3600, this Roland Mouret leather and crepe dress comes to about $700 from $2700 and this Alaia classic belt is $700 from $2000. There are also lots of more inexpensive options, which can also double as a Mother's Day gift for yourself or someone you love. A playful W-3 PVC bag is $75 from $205, an oversized Thomas Maier leather belt is $110 from $450, and Oscar de la Renta earrings are $115 from $290.

What's even nicer about this sale is that there are more than 1000 items listed. If you have an hour, you can truly get lost browsing through all the interesting merchandise. If you're short on time, personalize your sort options. When you find something you want you need to be sure of your purchase because all sales are final.