Thursday, July 31, 2008

I am going out of town...
...but just for a long weekend. I will try to post sales on Monday night, but if not, please check back on Tuesday!
Object of desire: Loeffler Randall cutout booties
Remember Tuesday when I said I wasn't excited about fall yet? All it took was one email from Saks Fifth Avenue, featuring these gorgeous, gorgeous cutout booties from Loeffler Randall to start visions of sweater dresses and black opaque tights dancing in my head. Now, last year I was a little on the fence about booties; my compromise was high-heeled oxfords. But this year, I am totally ready to rock the ankle boots with skirts. I think the reason these booties appeal to me so is the cutout--showing a bit of instep is sexier than wearing a regular old boot, and it almost gives them the look of a pump with some sort of footless tight or sock, rather than a straight-up bootie. I am in love. At $575, I'm going to have to save up my SaksFirst gift cards for them, but I have a feeling it will be worth it. They will be mine--oh, yes--they will be mine.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I have the summer blahs
As you've probably noticed, I haven't been posting a lot lately. Last week was an anomaly--I went out every night, Monday through Sunday--but, really, I've been feeling pretty uninspired. This is such a weird time of the year, because spring/summer merchandise has been on sale for at least a month (and in this bad economy, nearly two months) so I'm totally sick of all of that stuff, and all the new merchandise arriving in stores is for fall--boots, sweaters, tights--and as much as I love fall clothes, really, when the weather is humid and over 90 degrees, the last thing I want to think about is buying cashmere and wool. This point was addressed in a long but well written article in Monday's WWD*, Fashion's First Aid Kit [subscription required]. Since most of you probably can't read the full article, here's the section I'm talking about:

As women’s budgets tighten, they are waiting longer to shop — until they’ll actually be able to wear what they’re buying. One reason, say numerous observers, is that season after season of earlier and earlier markdowns have trained customers to wait for sales. Markdown madness might be corrected, at least in part, if vendors and retailers collectively shifted merchandise arrival to align with the seasons. In other words, fall should start selling in August or September, not June, and should not be marked down until closer to the end, not beginning, of the season as defined by weather.

Vendors have been complaining about the early timing of shipments for years — Donna Karan has been an outspoken advocate of aligning deliveries with the seasons — but the current economic situation and shift in consumer buying patterns may be enough to stimulate real change.

“We are so projecting forward that we are not talking to the customer,” said Karan. “People should not be worrying, ‘What do I wear six months from now?’ The customer doesn’t want it that way, but we force them. Everybody is trying to be ahead of the game. To me, it’s like the movie industry. I no longer have to go to a movie. There are so many screenings a year in advance. I go, ‘Wait a second, that just opened? Everyone’s seen it already.’ It’s too confusing.”

“Individual vendors can’t dictate when goods go on sale, but they should have more just-in-time deliveries,” said Allan Ellinger, senior managing partner at Marketing Management Group. “No individual company can reinvent the wheel, but working as a group, they can align merchandising with seasonality. It’s a one-time correction that would benefit the entire industry, from retailers to vendors, in creating less markdowns.”

One thing designers have started doing is use 12-month fabrics to make clothes appealing regardless of the specific season. Lighter-weight fabrications and lighter colors in fall 2008 collections are more evident than previous seasons, retailers have observed, which should spur sales.

Part of H&M and Zara’s success has been their fast-fashion formula that includes wear-now-buy-now pieces and collections that rotate the floors regularly to get the customer to keep coming back to view new merchandise.

Markdowns, of course, will continue to be a reality, and there are strategies to make money off them by creating preplanned sale product. “Form alliances with specific retailers to create the best style in the cheapest fabric or the cheapest style in the best fabric, to get extra margin while satisfying the sales period,” recommended Andrew Jassin, managing director of the Jassin-O’Rourke Group LLC fashion consultants.


I have never understood the whole shop-now-for-clothes-to-wear-three-months-from-now concept, and I even work for a major retailer. We live in a culture of immediate gratification; why buy something when you can't wear it right away?

There's still a month of summer left, but Fashion Week will be here before we know it (I was just approved for credentials today, so I will be covering it once again), and by then I'll be in a more fall-friendly state of mind. But until then, I'm turning to you, dear Cheryl Shops readers, for ideas. Is there anything you want me to write about? More smart recession shopping? Chic laptop bags? Sample sales, sample sales, and more sample sales? Post a suggestion in the comments below or, if you're shy, email me. Hopefully sometime soon, inspiration will strike.

*By the way, does anyone else think the new WWD.com redesign sucks? I can't find anything, and the daily newsletter just has headlines, so I don't know what half of the stores are about.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The week in shopping
I am so bummed I'm going to be out of town this weekend, because I'll be missing the Daryl K and Kerrigan sale, with prices starting at $50. Bah. 8/2-8/3; 10-7 Sat., 11-6 Sun.; 21 Bond St. (Lafayette & Bowery).

Hello, lunch hour: Diptyque Paris's first-ever sample sale features their delicious-smelling candles, perfumes, soaps, and other perfumed items for a nice 50%-90% off. 7/30-8/1; 10-5, 10-3 Fri.; 11 E. 26th St. (5th & Madison Aves.).

Supersoft knits from James Perse are 50% off through this weekend. Through 8/3; noon-8, noon-6 Sun.; 361 Bleecker St. (Bank & Charles Sts.).

Totally unique, well-designed separates from Zero + Maria Cornejo are $65 and up at this must-see sale. Through 7/30; 9-7:30; 225 Mott St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Bring cash to the Proenza Schouler sale, because stock from spring/summer 2008 is $80-$1,125 (regularly $325-$4,500), and they're not taking plastic. 7/30-7/31; 9-6; 120 Walker St. (Centre & Baxter Sts.).

Canadian import M0851 has buttery leathers and sleek clothing for up to 70% off. The sale lasts until everything is gone; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 106 Wooster St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Box sets are just $10 and correspondence cards are up to 75% off at Dempsey & Carroll, the famed papery favored by First Ladies and socialites. Through 8/1; 9-6, 9-4 Fri.; 136 E. 57th St. (Park & Lex), ste. 401.

One of the more upscale stores on Court Street, Diane T has clothes & accessories from designers like DVF, Catherine Malandrino, an dmore for $30-$200. Through 8/20; 11-7:30, 11-6:30 Sat., 1-5:30 Sun., closed Mon.; 174 Court St. (at Bergen St.), Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Fancy Italian lingerie, swimwear, and even ready-to-wear is 75% off at La Perla. 7/29-7/31. 10-8; 93 Greene St. (Prince & Spring Sts.), 803 Madison Ave. (67th & 68th Sts.), 425 W. 14th St. (9th & 10th Aves.).

Rebecca & Drew is having a sample sale this week online; it starts next Tuesday at their Meatpacking District store. Through 8/3 online.

Designer shoes are on final markdown at Chuckies. 7/29-7/31; 10:45-7:45; 1073 3rd Ave. (63rd & 64th Sts.).

Christopher Deane and Sophia Eugene's ladylike wares are up to 80% off, and Melanie Dizon clutches are 75% off. Through 8/4; noon-8; 37 Cornelia St. (Bleecker & W. 4th Sts.).

Suits, sportswear, shoes, and more for men--think everything from BCBG to Hugo Boss--are up to 40% off at Rothman's warehouse sale. Through 8/7; 10-7, noon-6 Sun.; 200 Park Ave. South (at 17th St.).

Katy Rodriguez' spring-summer 2008 collection is up to 90% off at Resurrection. Through 8/8; 11-7, noon-7 Sun.; 217 Mott St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

I am generally not a huge fan of pay-to-shop events, but Shop NYC benefits Gen Art, features savings of up to 70% on up-and-coming designers, and includes an open bar and freebies. VIP tickets are $40 and regular tickets are $15, online only at genart.org. 7/30; 5-10; Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Sale items are now 70% off at Cheryl Shops fave ShopJake.com.

Discontinued MBT sneakers are on sale at Bliss.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I just got back from the George Michael concert...
...and I am exhausted. (Yes, I went to the George Michael concert. I can report that he has had a not-so-great face lift, his dance moves have not changed since the '80s, and he gets a bit winded at times, but he still sounds pretty good.) Anyway, I have a full social schedule this week, so I'm not so sure how much I'll be posting. But please check back anyway! (And if not, I'll be back in full effect next week.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Project Runway is back! [WARNING: SPOILERS!]
And unless you read fashion blogs and/or have DVR, you probably wouldn't have known, due to the fact that Bravo is seriously phoning in the publicity this round. (Then again, can you blame them? The next installment of Project Runway--which will be filmed in L.A.--bows on [shudder] Lifetime.) While part of me thought it was cute that they started off with the same challenge as in the very first episode of PR, I was also thinking, have they already run out of ideas? It seemed a bit stale, too, because 3/4 of the designers used either a shower curtain or a tablecloth in their designs, and while I truly loved Karta's big yellow caftan, well, it wasn't too much of a stretch. Then again, it was leagues above auf-ed designer Jerry's shower-curtain-and-rubber-gloves ensemble--am I the only one who was reminded of Patrick Bateman's serial-killer ensemble in American Psycho? (Side note: Jerry is the designer of FORM, a truly innovative, luxurious line whose runway show I attended back in February. First of all, if you have enough funding to afford a fashion show, why the hell are you on a reality TV show? And, secondly, Bravo's Make Me a Supermodels walked in that show; was the network returning a favor by letting him be on Project Runway, or does Jerry just have a friend in high places?) I also really liked Daniel's plastic-cup dress, which, while a bit ill-fitting, nevertheless reminded me of Theirry Mugler. I think he and Marc Jacobs grad Wesley are going to be two strong contenders; Fashionista is placing bets on Jeremy Scott alum Emily; and my friend's cousin used to be BFF with Jennifer, and apparently she's quite talented. And while a Vivienne Westwood-Betsey Johnson hybrid doesn't exactly sound appealing to me, Kelli was incredibly innovative, and that counts for something.

As for designers who are bound to annoy the crap out of me, it so far appears to be a tie between Suede, who refers to himself in the third person, and Blayne, who admits to having a tanning-bed addiction and, I suspect, due to the sniffling and general hyperactivity, perhaps an addiction to some form of uppers. Both are vying for the bon-mot Christian Siriano role; I doubt either will come close. Joe is the token straight guy; there are a bunch of girls who all look like Williamsburg hipsters; and there's Stella, who maybe spent a little too much time on the Bowery back in the '80s, but whom I find endearing nonetheless.

But, really, I'm just looking forward to the point where, as shown in the previews, Tim Gunn compares one contestant's (I'm guessing Blayne) design to "a pterodactyl out of a gay Jurassic Park." Awesome.
Recommended Reading
There's an age-old theory that when the economy gets rough, hemlines get longer. Considering all of the mortgage and housing-market troubles of the past few months, it's amazing that no one has brought up the adage until know; but, lo and behold, Suzy Menkes addresses the lowering skirts in today's Times. While I am always happy to show my legs, I could go for longer skirts, especially since it feels like we've been wearing minis for, oh, 10 years or so. All good things must come to an end, I suppose.

On a happier note, mark your calendars: Racked reports that Barneys Warehouse Sale is happening in Chelsea Thursday, August 14th through Monday, September 1st. (After my successful foray in February, I've decided to wait a week before going.) Of course, if you prefer being waited on by real salespeople and having a fitting room in which to change, the final sale is still happening in Barneys stores through the end of the month.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Coming Soon: Zadig & Voltaire
One of my favorite shops from my Paris trip was Zadig & Voltaire, a line of rock-chick jersey tops and skinny pants--think a French interpretation of Kate Moss. The label's first U.S. store opened in L.A. in 2005 and now, finally, they're set to open a store in New York. As WWD reports, Zadig & Voltaire will be coming to the Meatpacking District in October. First the Comptoir des Cotonniers store in Soho, and now this--my inner Francophile is très hereuse.
MasstigeWatch!
The Botkier for Target bags are live on Target.com, a few days early, I believe (and based on the reviews, it appears they've been trickling into the stores too). Reviews are mixed so far, but I think the cracked metallic bags, like this silver one, are probably the best bet. I will most likely take a pass on the collection, but I am looking forward to the Richard Chai Go International line, due to drop August 3rd.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The week in shopping
Head over to the Conran Shop for up to 60% off select furniture, accessories, and textiles. Through 8/3; 11-7; 407 E. 59th St. (at 1st Ave.).

My favorite Brooklyn boutique Bird is moving its Park Slope location, and thus everything at that store--think Loeffler Randall, United Bamboo, and more--is 50% off. Through 7/27; noon-8, noon-7 Sun.; 430 7th Ave. (at 14th St.), Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Need a reason to go to Williamsburg? Jumelle has Mayle, A.P.C., and 3.1 Phillip Lim (among others) for 30% off; prices drop to 75% off as the sale progresses. 7/17-8/17; 1-7:30 Mon., noon-7:30 Tues.-Sat.; noon-7 Sun.; 148 Bedford Ave. (at N. 8th St.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

An excellent source for gifts and home furnishings, MoMA Design Store is taking 20%-50% off select items. Through 7/31; 11 W. 53rd St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 44 W. 53rd St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 81 Spring St. (at Crosby St.).

Spring 2008 Tracy Reese and Plenty Frock! are on sale at Loft Eleven. 7/16-7/17; 8-8 Wed., 8-7 Thurs.; 336 W. 37th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), 11th fl.

The Warehouse Sale has 30,000 pieces of overstock merchandise from True Religion, Antik Denim, and BCBG for up to 80% off. RSVP to thewarehousesale.com or pay $5 at the door. 7/17-7/19; 11-8; 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 5th floor.

Score Trina Turk, Splendid, Nanette Lepore, and other girly goods for up to 75% off at Olive & Bette's. 7/15; 8-7; 384 Bleecker St. (at Perry St.).

Eighties staple Joan Vass is sadly going out of business, but her knits and dresses are on sale for two days. 7/16-7/17; 10-5; 208 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 4th fl.

Score a designer bridal gown--think Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, and Reem Acra--for $349 at consignment shop Michael's cash-only one-day sale. 7/16; 4-8; 1041 Madison Ave. (at 79th St.), 2nd fl.

Or, if you prefer unworn gowns, Bergdorf Goodman has Angel Sanchez, Oscar de la Renta, and other high-end designers for 50%-80% off. Through 7/19; 10-8; 5th Ave. & 58th St., 7th fl.

Catherine Angiel's glam fine jewels are up to 50% off. Through 7/21; noon-7; 43 Greenwich Ave. (at Charles St.).

Take 20% off rugs and furniture at Dune; select floor samples are up to 80% off. Through 7/26; 11-7, 11-5 Fri., 11-6 Sat., closed Sun.; 88 Franklin St. (at Church St.).

Newish boutique Cry Wolf has Morphine Generation, Clae, and other uber-hip clothing and accessories for up to 45% off. 1-9 weekdays, noon-9 Sat., noon-7 Sun.; 111 St. Marks Place (1st Ave. & Avenue A).

Be a natty dresser in Paul Smith, now 30%-50% off. 108 5th Ave. (at 16th St.), 142 Greene St. (Houston & Prince Sts.).

Score bargains in the rough--Tsumori Chisato, United Bamboo, and other downtown faves--for 20%-60% off at Honey in the Rough. Through 8/3; 161 Rivington St. (at Clinton St.).

Boutique on 57 has all manner of designer gowns, suits, separates and more for mid to high three figures (believe it or not, that's up to 80% off. Think Chanel, Valentino, Cavalli, and the like. 7/17-7/18; 10-7; Regency Hotel, 540 Park Ave. (at 61st St.), Penthouse Suite.

Cream: gross name, cool stuff, like Anna Sui, Ports 1961, and more for up to 50% off. 7/16; 5-8; 1124 3rd Ave. (65th & 66th Sts.).

Anbar Shoes has 15,000 pairs of shoes from designers like Lulu Guinness and Betsey Johnson; prices are now $12-$54 (that's up to 80% off). Through 7/19; 9-6:20, 11-5:45 Sat., closed Sun.; 60 Reade St. (Broadway & Church St.).

Alexia Crawford's costume jewelry is $5-$20 (that's 80% off) at this sale. Through 7/18; 9-7; 35 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 6th fl.

Take an additional 15% off sale items at Cheryl Shops fave Auto through 7/28.

Get a head start on fall with 10% off new arrivals at Yoox.com. Enter code YOOX8 at checkout through 7/21.

This week, Clothingline has Kooba bags, Free People clothing, plus Tocca, Edit, and AKA New York. Through 7/17; 10-6; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Take 20% off everything at mega-quirky Locher's when you enter code LOVERBOY at checkout through 7/22.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Recommended reading
I have never set foot in a Steve & Barry's--I avoid Herald Square like the plague, and I've heard that lines at their one NYC location, in the Manhattan Mall, are ridiculously long. Still, I was planning on checking out the as-yet-unopened store at Broadway & 4th Street (the former Tower Records), just to sate my curiosity. However, it looks like that won't be happening, since Steve & Barry's has filed for bankruptcy protection. The chain has actually been around for a while, but in the past few years, it raised its profile with celebrity lines from Stephon Marbury and later Sarah Jessica Parker, Amanda Bynes, and Venus Williams. S&B has a very appealing concept, which is that nothing in the store costs more than $10, but especially in this economic climate, you have to consider the true costs. The company apparently runs on a bare-bones operation, with no advertising, a minimal back office and executives that enjoy very few perks. As details of the bankruptcy leak out, it appears that while S&B's merchandise sold well, they didn't really make any money off of it; the company's profits came from kickbacks paid to them by retail landlords--in other words, Steve & Barry's got paid to open stores in underperforming and/or undesirable locations. Not really the best long-term business strategy. So, yes, it's great to buy a pair of jeans for $8.98, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

On the other end of the spectrum, retailers now say that sunglasses are the new It bags. Whatever happened to It shoes? Guess that was short-lived! Anyway, it makes sense--while designer sunglasses have made a jump in price over the past few years, $350 or so is still a lot less than, say, $2,000, which is what a lot of It bags now run. Then again, sunglasses are made out of plastic, whereas handbags tend to be made of fine Italian leather, but that's a minor point, I guess. If you feel the need to flaunt a status symbol in these uncertain economic times, the sunglasses do seem like a (somewhat) wise buy.

Finally, this is one of the most entertaining stories I've read in awhile--it's about former Gap employees with an obsessive compulsion to fold clothes. Having done my time at Contempo Casuals, I'm not a big folder, but I can't stand messy clothes racks, and if I'm shopping and see clothes falling off the hangers, I will discreetly tidy up. I am so glad to see that I'm not alone.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Buy it: the Ped Egg
I am not one of those "Eww, feet are gross!" kinds of people, but, really, my feet are kind of gross. Years of dancing and tottering around on four-inch heels has left me with some nasty calluses, and for some reason, my feet are always dry. I've never felt embarrassed about them until today, however, when, during pigeon pose in my yoga class, I noticed the sorry state of my soles. I just happened to swing by the Union Square Walgreen's on the way home, and like a beacon from heaven, there was the display of Pedi Eggs. For those of you who don't watch as much late-night cable TV as I do, the Pedi Egg is like a cheese grater for the bottom of your feet; the fun part is cleaning out your foot shavings, which, yes, tend to look like Parmesan cheese. Unlike using an actual grater on your feet, the Pedi Egg doesn't hurt. The bad news is that it didn't work too well on the callused balls of my feet, but the good news is that my heels are now baby-soft, and I have a feeling that if I keep at it, I can make progress on those nasty calluses. The Pedi Egg is $10, and well worth it, but if you buy it on TV or on the website, you get an additional Pedi Egg and foot lotion. (But wait! There's more!) Either way, well worth it--for me, and for the person behind me in yoga class.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The week in shopping
Alvin "King of Pants" Valley is having a sample sale, and pants (plus skirts, dresses, tops, and jackets) in sizes 0-12 are up to 80% off. Pants are $129. 7/8-7/11; noon-6; 632 Broadway (Houston & Bleecker Sts.), 6th fl., ste. 602.

Savvy NYC is hosting an online sample sale for Sissi Rossi; their Italian leather handbags (normally found at Barneys New York) are 50%-70% off. 7/8-7/10; sale begins at noon.

Elizabeth Gillett's knit shawls, scarves, and other variosu accessories are on sale. 7/9-7/11; 9-6; 242 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 9th fl.

Samples for (eco)mpassion is hosting a Tory Burch Sample Sale to support Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, with 5% of sales going to support the center. This is an all-new sample sale (with new samples--not with the leftovers from last month's Tory sale). Plus, you get a free gift from Priti Organic Spa with your purchase. Win-win! 7/8-7/13; 9-5; 2 Great Jones St. (Broadway & Lafayette).

Coclico's sandals are 30%-40% off. Online too! Noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 275 Mott St. (Houston & Prince Sts.).

Save up to 50% on current-season and up to 80% on clearance at the work-friendly Rebecca & Drew. Plus, get free shipping online when you enter code SUSALESHIP08 at checkout through 7/11. 342 W. 13th St. (at Hudson St.).

Laila Azhar's drapey dresses and separates are on sale. 7/8-7/10; 10-6; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Dumbo's own Loopy Mango has current-season pieces from fashionista faves like Alexander Wang and Lyell for 30%-70% off. Noon-8, noon-7 Sun; 117 Front St. (at Adams St.), Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Use code Summer 30 for 30% off everything at Owl's Lab online, or visit the Village store for the same discount. Through 7/10; 11-8, noon-6 Sun.; 20 E. 12th St. (5th Ave. & University Pl.).

Indie faves like Rachel Comey and Lutz & Patmos are 30% off at Mick Margo; hit the website for markdowns of up to 60%. Noon-7; noon-8 Thurs.; 19 Commerce St. (7th Ave. & Bedford St.).

The Lower East Side's trendy Suite Orchard is taking 30% off select spring merch. Noon-7, noon-7 Thurs. & Sat., closed Mon.; 145A Orchard St. (at Rivington St.).

Summer merch is now up to a whopping 60% off online and in stores at Banana Republic through 7/20.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

MasstigeWatch!
I was very excited to hear about the upcoming Richard Chai for Target collection; Chai is an exceptionally talented designer, and while I think it's awesome that he's BFF with Phillip Lim, Chai should be getting just as much attention as Lim. Hopefully his collaboration with Target will help raise his profile. Nylon has the first images (with an even bigger story in the magazine's August issue), and while I was definitely expecting something more minimal, there are some great pieces. My favorite outfit is the one at right--I'm a sucker for a good cardigan, and I only hope it's not made out of something janky like acrylic. The collection drops sometime in August; more details to follow.