When I arrived at 7:00am, there were a little over 35 shoppers waiting in line. After checking a few emails and playing around on my phone, it had neared opening time and the queue grew to 120+ people. At 8am on the dot, Barneys let shoppers in. Anticipating seeing a old flame once again, I was nervous.
The first thing that caught my eye were handbags. Seeing boxes upon boxes of leather goods brought an instant smile to my face. But instead of Lanvin shoulder bags or Proenza Schouler totes, like the good old days, there were clutches and satchels from contemporary labels like Rebecca Minkoff, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Deux Lux. Markdowns on handbags weren't that impressive either with prices ranging from $100 to $600. My smile was gone as quickly as it appeared.
My next stop was at the shoe racks situated near the back wall. Sizes were available from 5 to 11 and I spotted several high-end brands like Alaïa, Manolo Blahnik, Tabitha Simmons, Nina Ricci, Giuseppe Zanotti, and Gianvito Rossi. It was a minor yet insignificant redemption for Barneys. As for prices, a pair of Zanotti strappy sandals were $239 (originally $795), Balenciaga pink sandals were $269 (originally $665), Tabitha Simmons perforated sandals were $509 (originally $1,695), Dries van Noten embellished silver sandals were $399 (originally $1,170), Nina Ricci pink satin heels were $159 (originally $745), and Alaïa animal print pumps were $649 (originally $1,535).
The women's RTW section was conclusive proof this sale isn't what it used to be. Most of the women's apparel were from the department store's own Barneys New York label. I did spot a very few brands like Rag & Bone, Helmut Lang, J Brand, ALC, Acne Studios, and Joie mixed in here and there, but I would say 90% of the merchandise was Barneys New York. Regarding sizes, today's assortment ranged from XS (0) to XL (12). I should also mention there were about 5 bridal gowns tagged for under $2,200 from Vera Wang. Veils were priced under $100 from an unknown designer.
Like womenswear, men's RTW was nearly all from Barneys' in-house line. Near the entrance, there were three long tables upon which cardboard boxes were filled with dress shirts of all different kinds of designs. Sizes were between 14.5 and 18. Adjacent to the shirts were two tables of ties and a table of scarves/mufflers. Men's blazers and jackets were available from 36S to 50R while suits (mostly in dark tones) were available from 36S to 50L. As for bottoms, dress pants were available from 30 to 44 while jeans (in a multitude of colors) were available from 28 to 38. Men's shoes were right next to women's shoes and sizes were between 7 and 13. Again, most of the footwear was from the department store's catalogue.
A few final tidbits that don't fit anywhere else. First, there was a curtained fitting room for both sexes at the back of the venue. Next, I found a small selection of houseware products situated near the shoes racks. And finally, in a dark corner near men's ties was a hodgepodge of briefcases, weekend bags, carry-on bags, and luggage cases.
Well, it's official. After checking out today's Barneys Warehouse Sale, my relationship with this once epic sale is no more. I don't recommend it to anyone. If you plan on attending, I highly suggest you reconsider.