Established in 1945 by French couturier Madame Carven, the house has in recent years gone through a renaissance thanks to former Creative Director Guillaume Henry and current CDs Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud. The label's off-beat and girlish aesthetics are adored by a legion of young, hip fashionistas and this week's sample sale won't disappoint as it has in store everything a Carven girl would want in her closet.
The sale venue was at the French brand's headquarters in West Chelsea and the event was bustling with shoppers when I swung by. Inventory was divided into womenswear, menswear, shoes, handbags, and accessories (belts, collars, gloves, scarves, hats, and phone cases). Markdowns were categorized into two groups and were very impressive. The company's 2015 collection was 75% off while pieces from their 2014 seasons and older were 85% off. But, to put it simply, nothing from womenswear exceeded $300. Tops (blouses, sweaters, and tees) were all under $100, dresses were mostly under $250, and outerwear was under $300.
To describe the tone of the offerings, I found lots of bright, lively colors, signature nipped-in waists, and precision-cut tailoring that exuded the brand's ethos of femininity and freshness. Also, on a side note, I spotted a few pieces from the Henry era like the safari print dresses and bow-embellished pumps/flats.
Shoes, handbags, and accessories weren't as plentiful as the ready-to-wear but everything was priced very reasonably. Overall, shoes (sneakers, sandals, flats, pumps, platforms, and booties) were $50~$180 while handbags (mini satchels, leather pouches, clutches, and large totes) were $25~$250. Keep in mind, there was a purchase limit of 2 max for bags.
Sadly, the men's merchandise was very limited with only three racks of apparel plus a few pairs of shoes. Men of a smaller fit should stay away as I noticed sizes were available mostly in medium, large, and extra large.
Before I end this review, there are a few important details to note. If you're going to the sale for womenswear, sizes were predominantly available in 34 through 38 (there were only a few pieces in size 40). If you're going to the sale for shoes, you should know many items showed signs of wear. Finally, a quasi-communal changing room was set up but had no curtain or door to cover the area. I saw many female shoppers stripping down to their undies in the open. So, I suggest you dress accordingly if you decide to drop by tomorrow's public opening.