Dec 30, 2013

Mizhattan's Year in Review: Sample Sales of 2013

Congrats Mizhattanites! You've made it through anther year of bargain bonanzas and sample sale hysterias. Now, let's take a moment to reminisce about some of the most unforgettable events we encountered together, shall we? Here are the 10 most memorable (good and bad!) sample sales that happened in 2013.

1. YSL in June & October
I hate to start this list with negative remarks but the summer and fall YSL sample sales were the most disappointing bargain events of 2013. Merchandise from both sales were comprised of ancient Pilati designs that couldn't be sold off at past events. Despite this, many shoppers still showed up on the first public day making the shopping experience extra woeful.

2. Hermès in September
Where do I even begin? Ever since the brand moved to Soiffer Haskin, a once "not-to-be-missed" sale is now but a shell of its previous form. I will always miss the days when shoppers were able to score Constance bags, silk scarves, neckties, enamel bangles, and fragrances.

3. Manolo Blahnik in November
The wild chaos of the May sample sale resulted in the brand's PR office initially publicizing their November sale as an invite-only event. Fortunately, we saw a happy ending as the announcement was proven to be just a decoy.

4. Diane von Furstenberg in June & its absence in December
DVF in 2013 was full of twists & turns. It all started when the brand decided to forgo their summer event. A few weeks later, the company did a 180° on their decision and hosted what was a great sale. As December rolled around, my source let me know the winter event was a no-go. Will it be gone forever? We'll have to see what happens in 2014.

5. Mulberry in September
New Yorkers were delightfully surprised when the British label announced its first public sample sale in 4 years. The event offered 70% off on iconics like Alexa and Bayswater. Fingers-crossed the sale will come back next year.

6. Roger Vivier in April
If there was an award for the longest sample sale line, Roger Vivier would easily be crowned the winner. Their April sale attracted so many shoe fanatics that the queue in front of Soiffer Haskin stretched all the way down to 9th Ave and continued around to 32nd Street. WOW! To give you specific numbers, there were well over 900+ patrons waiting to snatch up Gommette ballerinas and Belle Vivier pumps.

7. Marissa Webb in November
Oh~ how can I forget Marissa Webb's warm & friendly presence. The designer made a personal appearance at her November sample sale and the graceful host doled out sage style advice to her adoring fans. A few very lucky shoppers even had the privilege of indulging in some bubbly with Ms. Webb. The deep discounts on her debut collection was icing on the cake.

8. Bottega Veneta in July
July is usually one of the quieter months for sample sales but the Bottega Veneta event was truly an exciting experience. Merchandise was in short supply by the time the sale opened to the public but prices were mind-blowing. Shoes were $100~$250 while handbags were as low as $250. RTW and accessories were very affordable as well. Tops & bottoms were under $100 and, on the last day of the sale, prices were slashed an additional 50%. Now, this is what I call a sample sale!

9. The Row in October
Speaking of mind-blowing prices from a high-end designer label, The Row was also a fan favorite sale this year. On the last day, an hour before closing, items were marked down to 95% off. Who said procrastination never paid off? Can't wait for next year's sale!

10. Alexander Wang in August
Mr. Wang's sample sales always draw excitement and anticipation from amongst the young fashion crowd and this summer's event was no different. In August, hip fashionistas found a variety of Rocco duffles, Emile totes, and Ingrid satchels.

So, that's my list for 2013. What sales particularly stood out in your mind? I love to hear your stories. Write them in the comment section below.


  1. I've been trying to decide which was my favorite--I only made the fall sales as I was not in NYC the rest of the year. I loved the samples I picked up from Alice and Olivia and from the Current Elliot sale. I was lucky enough to fit the sample sizes, and scored so many deals. And I loved the Loeffler Randall sale, in no small part because while I was standing in the middle of the room, trying to cut down my purchases, the prices suddenly dropped, making all purchases (and an additional bag possible).

    There were interesting sales--Prouenza Schuler made me feel like I was in some kind of art installation, where it was more important to look at the colors and materials, than to actually try anything on. I couldn't see how most of the clothes would actually flatter the average person-I felt like wearing Prouenza was wearing an idea, which isn't really my goal at this age. Jason Wu was also interesting in that I wouldn't necessary have looked at him twice had he not had a sale--familiar shapes in thick, embellished fabrics. But nothing truly revolutionary in construction or material to merit those prices.

    My favorite sale was Yigal Azrouel. I had never even looked at this brand before, except to glance at it in magazines. The prices had always looked too steep and as a result, the brand looked inaccessible to me. Azrouel does not design clothing that immediately "makes sense"--it isn't obviously feminine stuff made by and for a woman. I almost didn't even go to the sale.

    But I LOVED the clothing. As in my first foray into the world of Philip Lim, I felt that in trying on Azrouel's clothing, I was interacting with a distinct personality. The clothes were beautifully made and had so much thought and care into the colors, the piecing and the construction. They were so individual and look like nothing else out there. At the same time, the items weren't so daring as to be impossible for a mere mortal to wear. I didn't feel like a fashion victim wearing a pretentious take on a "skirt."

    And as I revisited the sale, the prices kept dropping. The sales staff were lovely--warm and intelligent and interesting. These will be pieces I will keep for a long, long time. And the sale made a convert out of me, as I will actively seek out Yigal Azrouel and Cut25 because I've become a fan.

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for taking your time to write your sample sale experiences so thoroughly. I've actually never attended an Yigal Azrouël sale before, but after hearing your story, I will try to report on it next year.

  2. I work on the far west side of Manhattan and so enjoyed the McCartney and Nest sample sales this year. The OXO sale was also good but very crowded.

    1. YES! The OXO sample sale in May was incredible! I hope they host another sale next year. It was definitely worth dropping by.

  3. Hello!
    I'd like to thank you for your lovely blog and for your updates and constant-updates while-at-the-sales --- I wish you and your team of informants a very LOVELY And SALE-FILLED New Year! Thank you for all that you do!

    As for your question, I would have to say that two sales stood out to me this year which weren't included in your list.
    The first would be the Hermes sale you informed us of -- the one that happened out in Long Island. As soon as you posted the information, I left work and took the first train I could out there and while on the train had a cab waiting for me (tip of $20 was guaranteed for a-less-than-$15-cab-ride from the station to the store) and entered the fray.

    Mizhattan - you did not disappoint. That sale was the sample-sale-of-Hermes-of-yore, bangles and shoes and everything (including bath towels) at ridiculously low prices. I was the happiest gal around (even if I had to fight off those very privileged ladies-who-lunch-and-get-botox-for-a-living for the goods, but it was worth it!)

    The second sale I thought worth noting was hands down the Diptyque sale. Equally as phenomenal! I was part of the early group standing out in the rain. Sadly not early enough to snatch up the Baies and Figuier but early enough to snatch up a lot of other lovely goodies that have come in very handy as holiday and hostess gifts for the year with plenty left over to gift next year! Their steep discount was exceptional -- especially for their beauty items which many would consider a true luxury as most people are not wont to hand over $90 for body oil or hair oil….

    The only down side of these two sales, which just happened to be my two favorite because the crowds weren't as vicious as the Louboutin or Vivier sales (but I found those two to be very fruitful as well) is that when you go you have to be ready to fight politely and deal with many line cutters in a diplomatic way to get them caught without making you look like poorly.

    I am very grateful for your blog and love all the photos you post and your constant replies to your readers -- you are truly a kind soul and I hope you are rewarded karmically for your kindness!

    Please keep up the fantastic work!
    I'll email you, again.

    -One of your devoted informants

    1. I agree. The Diptyque sample sale always delivers the goods. I absolutely adore the brand and their sample sales. What better than to savor scents while saving your cents. ;)

      Though I didn't go, a handful of people I know said the Hermès sale at Americana Manhasset was the real deal. I'm glad you had time to drop by and pick up some goodies. I just wish Hermès would bring this caliber of a sale back into the city. Here's to hoping.

      Finally, thank you so much for your kind words. Without devoted readers like yourself, this website wouldn't exist. Thank you!!

  4. I took a new job in another country and am in the midst of packing for next week. I'm excited to start this new part of my life but will miss everything the city has to offer (museums, street fairs, restaurants, etc). But most of all, as I love to shop, I will miss the sample sales (where I go, there are no such things).

    Thank you Miz and everyone who comments on this site. Your informative reporting and suggestions helped this novice shopper navigate the sample sale scene. As I transition to my new place and acclimate I will have to live vicariously through all of you.

    Happy New Year!

  5. I feel obligated to report that the site, SSENSE, has reduced prices some more. Some of these things even look afforadable now.

  6. the dvf summer sale wasn't hosted by dvf. 260 fifth avenue bought all the stock and sold it themselves. dvf had nothing to do with the sale. none of the regular dvf sample sale staffers were there.

  7. i love your blog, thank you for reporting the sample sale.


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