Students, stylists, hipsters, doctors, lawyers, bankers, shopaholics, tourists, tall, short, skinny, grungy... For decades, the bi-annual Barneys Warehouse Sale was where New Yorkers got together in the freezing cold or scorching heat, unwashed/unshaven, to beat the crowd and get their hands on discounted designer goods. I think it's safe to say that it was more than just a sale. It was a hallmark institution. Whether it's Lanvin, Alaïa, or Alexander Wang, any fashionista worth his or her salt must have at least one item in their closet bought at a Warehouse Sale. I'm quite sure many of you have intimate & nostalgic memories from said event. I could spend hours telling you about mine, but this article is about today's findings, so let's begin!
Instead of giving us a big bang finale so we can say a proper farewell, Barneys decided to give us a dud. Unless you were one of the lucky few who got up before dawn and made a beeline for the orange tag section--where an extremely limited selection of under $200 Céline & 3.1 Phillip Lim shoes were available--you probably left the sale disappointed. To sum it up bluntly, there was absolutely nothing to buy. I'm sure this is in part due to the newly opened Barneyswarehouse.com.
Of what was at today's sale, the most popular area was the shoe section. The aisles were mainly comprised of Barneys Co-Op footwear with only an itty bitty selection of designer names like Prada, Acne, Carven, Tabitha Simmons, and Rochas. Only a few pairs of shoes grabbed my attention, like a pair of Alaïa studded pink sandals ($699, originally $1,760), Miu Miu snake-skin wedge sandals ($319, originally $795), Carven bow slingback pumps ($229, originally $565), and Prada flat sandals ($219, originally $430).
The handbag section was located in two separate places: the center of the showroom and the deep far right corner. When I perused the goods, I found nothing that I liked except for one medium Chloé Marcie tote in navy. But it was damaged with no price tag. Other than that, there were a handful of Marc by Marc Jacobs bags and Co-Op totes.
The RTW section was as disappointing as the shoe aisles. 11 long double-wide racks held everything from tops & bottoms to dresses. The merchandise was organized by size and category, not by designer. Sizes ranged from XS to L. Inventory compared to the last sale in August was anemic. It was hard to find any big designer labels like Lanvin, Stella McCartney, and Marc Jacobs, which I usually find at these sales. Instead, a significant portion of the racks were filled with their eponymous brand. If you were fortunate and industrious enough, maybe you could have found one or two high-end names hiding inside one of the racks, but the best I could muster was to find a Jil Sander paisley print dress from their Spring '12 collection. It was priced $282.25 (originally $1,129). I also spotted a Nina Ricci floral print sleeveless dress for $189.75 (originally $759) and an Alexander Wang striped knit dress for $42.25 (originally $169).
Perhaps it's because today is Valentine's Day or that the Barneys discount website was launched in advance of the actual sale, but today's opening was surprisingly calm & eerily empty. I truly hoped today's event would be a good one since it was to be my last visit to the Chelsea location, but I left the venue feeling dissatisfied and let down. Well, that's it folks! I hope your last Barneys Warehouse Sale wasn't as depressing as mine.
Bye bye, Barneys Warehouse Sale... You will be missed.