Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Great Options for Mother's Day Gifts

Flowers and chocolates are the most classic way to celebrate Mother's Day. This year, celebrations of moms occur on Sunday, May 14 and we couldn't be more excited to be the beneficiary of pampering and praise. The first thing you have to know about Mother's Day is that moms don't want you breaking the bank to say, "I love you." They also don't want a thoughtless card with a scribbled signature.

Finding the perfect gift can take a bit of determination and thought. In order to get a jump start on the task (and give some hint to loved ones) we compiled a Mother's Day guide of over 50 items that are sure to inspire even the most gift impaired.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Shhhh: The Manolo Blahnik Sample Sale Starts Thursday

We love Spring in New York-- the cherry blossoms, the Park Avenue tulips, and yes, the Manolo Blahnik sample sale. Our sources tell us that this year's Spring sample sale will open to the public on Thursday, April 27th. As is tradition, the second floor salon of the Warwick Hotel will be the site of the event.

This sample sale is a bi-annual highlight for shoe lovers. As you can imagine, the wait time can be worse than a passport agency. We usually prefer the boutique sales even if prices are a bit more expensive. (Those who can't make it to the sale can shop an assortment of brand new Manolos starting at just $75 from the scroll above.)

Those who are up for the Manolo sample sale challenge, should expect to take a number and wait, and wait, and wait. The really nice thing about this sale is that you can leave and come back once you get your lucky numbered ticket. Take note, that the sale opens at 11am and will close when inventory begins to run low. In past years, that was at about 3pm to 4pm.

We expect that prices will run along the same lines as last season. Plain shoes, including leather, suede satin, and printed fabric start at $125 and go up to $150. Shoes with embellishments like glitter and studs were priced $175. Boots started at $200 for basic versions and went up to $400 for over-the-knee styles.

Over the past few seasons the assortment has been dwindling. Manolo Blahnik & Co. recently added a fundraising component to their overstock strategy. A sale to benefit Arethusa Farm Scholarship Fund for University of Connecticut Agricultural Studies. A good amount of stock that would show up at the bi-annual sample sale has gone to the, so called, farm.

Remember, the sale is open to the public for only one day. That's a good indication that there will not be much merchandise. If you attend the sale, please keep us all posted in the comment section below.

Manolo Sale Sample Sale
Thursday, April 27th
Sale opens: 11am and closes when the inventory dwindles (usually 3pm - 4pm)
The Warwick Hotel, 54th Street and 6th Avenue, 2nd Floor
Cash only!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sample Sale Alert: Baccarat, Eddie Parker, Ippolita

The month is almost over but there are three more worthy sample sales that were just added to our calendar. Baccarat, Ippolita and Eddie Parker will be hosting shopping events that will offer great assortments and attractive discounts.

You can see our full sample sale calendar over here. On the product scroll bar, below, is an assortment of items that can be found online for a similar discount as the mentioned sample sales mentioned.

Edie Parker's sample sale will take place on Thursday, in midtown, at the Bryant Park Hotel. The sale will consist of samples, past season's stock and vintage pieces. Bags will be priced from $400 to $500. At the November sample sale, prices started at just $200 and charms were $50. We suspect there will be discounts the second day if these higher prices mean less sales. During past sales, shoppers were also given a bit of an extra discount when buying multiple bags.

A few blocks South, the Ippolita sale will start at Soiffer Haskin. Just in time for Mother's Day, expect to find most items discounted 65% off retail and a few, less desirable pieces, reduced 75% to 90% off. Last season, there was a markdown after the first day and then another reduction for the last day. We suggest waiting for the last day of the sale unless you're looking for a particular item.

If you're looking to get out of the city this weekend you can head towards Edison, NJ for the Baccarat sample sale. We know Edison isn't an exotic location but the trip can yield quite an amount of luxurious items. Expect to find stemware, barware, vases, decorative pieces, gifts and a large selection of jewelry all priced up to 80% off. Once you're done shopping head back home and use your new barware to pour a very exotic drink. Pure vacation luxury.

Edie Parker Sample Sale
Thursday, April 27 & Friday, April 28
Thurs 9am-8pm, Fri 9am-5pm
Bryant Park Hotel, 40 West 40 Street (The Loft)

Ippolita Sample Sale
Thursday, April 27 through Sunday, April 30
Thurs & Fri 9am-7pm, Sat & Sun 9am-6pm
Soiffer Haskin, 317 West 33rd Street

Baccarat Sample Sale
Friday, April 28 & Saturday, April 29
Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 10am-3pm
36 Mayfield Avenue, Edison, NJ

Friday, April 21, 2017

FarFetch Offers 90-Min Delivery

It's no secret that the retail environment is quickly changing. Storefronts on every avenue are slowly going dark and department stores are suffering horribly. Meanwhile, online shopping is exceeding forecasters expectations and has grown by more than 20% for each of the past three years.

The growth and innovation of internet stores is showing no sign of slowing down. Just today, Farfetch announced a collaboration with Gucci where they will deliver your merchandise from 'store to door' in less than 90-minutes. The service is available in 10 cities worldwide: London, Paris, Madrid, Milan, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Dubai, Tokyo and São Paulo.

While living in New York, it might not be very novel to have a gift messengered. In the case of Gucci, they have a policy that insists you make a purchases in-store before it would be messengered. This FarFetch services alleviates even the need to even go to the store.

The assortment though FarFetch is comprised of bags and a smaller variety of clothing for men and women. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there are any shoes in the delivery line-up.

We easily see this as the next front in online shopping. We expect to see many more stores joining this path. Now, more than ever, you can get a great last minute gift and nobody will ever know.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Barneys Purple Card Promotion

Barneys offered customers a gift card promotion last month but they are at it again and upping the ante for big spenders.

Starting Thursday, Barneys shoppers can earn a $25 gift card for every $250 spent but if you spend over $1000 you will be rewarded with even more gift card goodies. The exact breakdowns are below.

For every $250 you spend, receive a $25 Purple Card

For purchases over $1000:
Spend $1000 get $150 ($50 extra)
$2000 get $300 ($100 extra)
$3000 get $500 ($200 extra)
$5000 get $1000 ($500 extra)

Take note, Purple Cards are available when you purchase Chanel, Brunello Cucinelli and Ermenegildo Zegna, but can't be used for redemption on those brands. Celine and Christian Louboutin are excluded on purchases and redemptions. On the bright side, the store still has plenty of sale merchandise that is eligible for the gift card promo.

Accrued gift cards are redeemable for merchandise from April 28 to May 21. The Purple Card promotion runs through Sunday and is available at Barneys stores nationwide, on the website and at BarneysWarehouse.

Be warned, Barneys will most likely not extend the expiration dates of your gift cards. So be sure to enjoy your meal at Freds and go back next week to use those credits!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

International Spy: A Trip to Florence

As a New Yorker, it's fairly easy to navigate most any other city to which you travel. London, Rome and Paris are on most travelers must-go lists but I personally prefer the scale and intimacy of smaller cities like Florence.

Part of my affection for Florence may stem from the fact that the city is built on an ideology of great design and creativity. Florence is the founding city of couture. It has wonderful food and walking the streets never gets boring.

I was fortunate to be able to travel to Florence, this year, for the third year in a row. After several requests, I am now listing my favorite places to stay, eat and shop while visiting Firenze. I've also added an assortment of personal pictures in the jump. I hope to continue sharing travel experiences and recommendations. Feel free to add your personal favorites in the comment section. XXoo-- Lila

Ponte Vecchio

Where to STAY:
I have found that my fashion style translates to many other aspects of life, including travel. Certain hotels resonate the same way a great pair of shoes knaws at the soul. JK Place and Portrait Firenze are two properties that are different in texture but the experiences are similar. Staying at both hotels I as exciting as  buying your first Chanel bag. The resemblance may lie in the fact that the famous Italian architect and interior designer, Michele Bönan, was the mastermind behind both properties.

Both hotels are rather small and the lobbies are quite untraditional. In place of a step-up registration counter, the hotel staff greets you at the door and essentially welcomes you into a lounge area that's set up like a chicly designed living room.

Portrait Firenze is owned by the Ferragamo family and *I think* it's safe to assume the the family was very involved with every detail of this property. You can easily imagine Massimo Ferragamo rolling up to the hotel and his family comfortably spreading out across the rooms and public spaces. The rooms are spacious and the finishings perfectly balance tradition and modernity.

The JK Place is equally as wonderful but has a more feminine touch. There are lots of light white interiors and common spaces to amplify your hotel room accommodations. Breakfast is served daily in a large dining room setting with fresh juices and delicious fresh fruits. The cappuccino is particularly outstanding.

You can't go wrong with either of these hotels. We suggest going with whichever has space. Both hotels are on the small side and they tend to fill up quickly with stylish travelers.

Where to EAT:
I never go to Florence and miss a meal at Trattoria 4 Leoni. My favorite dish is the Fioccetti de Pera in salsa di taleggio e asparagi. It's essentially a dumpling filled with pear and parmesan cream joined by a bit of assparigus. It melts in your mouth. Make sure to order your own. You're not going to want to give up even one bite.

I  usually make an effort to avoid tourists-- even in New York. There is seldom an occasion where I would purposely subject myself to crowds and subpar service. Trattoria Za Za is the unicorn of touristy restaurants. It is smack in the middle of the busy Piazza del Mercato and draws crowds from all over the world. The thing is that Za Za is so good that even locals will tolerate the fannie-pack crowds.

After four days in Florence, you can easily tire of the traditional pasta and trattoria fare. Il Santo Bevitore takes a traditional Florintian food and adds a modern twist. The space is simple but elegant and is buzzing seven nights a week. Reservations are a must (unless your hotel concierge has major pull). All the produce is sourced from local green markets and the menu changes seasonally. Save room for dessert, because you would be horribly remiss to pass on the cinnamon crème brûlée. It's one of those dishes you will dream about far after you leave Italy.

Where to SHOP:
For fabulous room fragrances, head to the Antica Officina del Farmacista where Dr. Paolo Vranjes works his magic producing perfume essences inspired by Florence’s long, rich history. We fell in love with these fragrances after a stay at JK Place where the room defusers are strategically placed to surprise you fragrant pleasure.

Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is the world's oldest pharmacy and it's hidden in a rather unassuming entrance but it is a treasure. Once inside you will feel like you're in a palace surrounded by the world's most wonderful elixiors and fragrances. The prices are moderate and the experience is priceless.

Museum gift shops are always the best part of looking at great art. All the more so at the Gucci Museo, in Florence. Put aside 30 to 40 minutes to appreciate the archives from one of fashion's most illustrious brands. Afterwards you can sit in the fabulously chic cafe and shop limited edition items and rare fashion books.

It would be painful to go to Florence and not take an afternoon to go to the Prada Outlet. The trip is a 40-minute train ride from the center of Florence and then a 10 euro cab ride to the designer's factory and outlet. (Make sure to get your taxi driver's card so that you can call him to pick you up once your done shopping.) Inside you will find past season merchandise and samples reduced 30% to 90% off retail. The bags and leather goods are usually the least discounted. Shoes can be found for as little as $100 and if you're lucky you can find a few skirts for about $50. You can click here to read a full report from one of my past trips to the Prada outlet.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The IT-It: Can Prada Become Cool Again?

It's no secret that Prada has fallen off it's perch as a ruling house of fashion. After several years of falling stock prices and loss of market share Prada seems to be taking a step in the right direction. The Italian luxury band has recently stepped up it's social media game and is making doubling down on Internet sales.

Most recently, Prada started selling clothing and bags on Net-A-Porter. Insiders say sales have been terrific. Part of what makes Prada great is that it never really goes out of style. You can wear a 13-year-old Prada pint blouse and skirt and it will look as stylish as the day you bought it.

For better or worse, Prada isn't all over social media. It becomes tiresome to see the same bag, shoes, coat or earrings on every major Instagram style star. (We are looking at you, Gucci.) Sometimes we are bored of a great new style before we can even get to the store to make the purchase.

Our favorite thing about Prada-- and it might be it's wrecking ball-- is that the brand isn't just about an It-bag or an It-shoe. Prada is a lifestyle brand of functional and wearable quality products. Prada's down ski coats are the warmest, the print Summer sundresses are the sunniest, the house's classic prints are the boldest.

For all these reasons we are hot for Prada. We always have been and we don't expect the love affair to end any time soon. We highly suggest you take a look at this season's collection if you haven't done so lately. We are confident that Prada will be the next big luxury brand comeback. (Not that it ever really went away, in our minds.)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Pottery Barn Brands: Friends and Family Sale

The best part of Spring cleaning is taking the opportunity to freshen up items around the house. The Pottery Barn suite of companies-- West Elm, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen and Pottery Barn -- is hosting a friends and family sale where you can save on most any item.

You can use the code FRIENDS at checkout to engage the additional 25% off discount. The best part is that the sale include furniture and clearance items. There is also free shipping-- we all know how much that can save, especially when you're talking about furniture.

It's hard to say that any one of these stores offer the answer to easy decorating but I have some favorites. For instance, the lighting from West Elm is aways a 'bright spot.' Over here is a very sophisticated desk lamp that's just $75 and here is another one that would look great on a bed stand. A small pendant light always looks great in a long hallway.

The bedding from Pottery Barn Kids and Teen make a room look great and the quality is excellent. This rose gold Flamingo is destined to be the Instagram accessory of the summer. The beach bags and towels make a great gift for birthdays or hostess gifts. I especially love the duffle with a palm print.

When children are in the picture, every decorator I've worked with always suggests Pottery Barn sofas. The Townsend is a safe choice as it walks the line of staying traditional but also feels modern. Pottery Barn also has a decent housewares department. You can never go wrong with white dishes or some fresh linen napkins.

This friends and family promotion runs through Sunday. Pottery Barn may not be the sexiest brand when it comes to decorating but their customer service is always great.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sample Sale Alert: Marc Jacobs & Oscar de la Renta

We were attempting to keep one running sample sale list but we couldn't resist calling out two very exciting sample sales that are scheduled for later this month. Both Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta will be hosting shopping events that will offer great fashions, large discounts and big crowds.

The Marc Jacobs sale will start first on Greene Street in Soho. Discounts will range up to 90% off retail and include a variety of merchandise, including men's and women's clothing and accessories from both the Marc Jacobs collection and the Marc by Marc Jacobs line. There will also be items for children from the Little Marc line.

Last season the sale also included items from the designer's beauty line and was quite the hit. That's not a surprise considering blushes were $9 and foundations were $17. Among the Marc Jacobs clothing, all coats were $250, dresses were $100, blouses were $50 and tees were $20. Dresses from the Marc by Marc Jacobs line were $60 and tees were $10.

Just a few blocks away the Oscar sale is scheduled to start a few days later. We suspect that there may be a few items from the house's new designers -- Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia. We are told that there will be a variety of stock and sample clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry, childrenswear, bridal and home collection. This season there will also be merchandise for men.

At last year's sale the bridal gowns from size 2 to 10 were the biggest hit with shoppers and ranged in price from $1300 to $4000. Gowns were either $800 or $1500 depending on the intricacy. Most of the ready-to-wear was about 70% off retail. Handbags were about $600 and shoes started at just $60.

These two sales are sure to draw big crowds. Stay posted for updates and full reports on both sales.

Marc Jacobs Sample Sale
Tuesday, April 18 through Sunday, April 23
Tues 11am-8pm, Wed to Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-4pm
150 Greene Street

Oscar de la Renta
Tuesday, April 25 through Sunday, April 30th
Tues 10am-7pm, Wed-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-4pm
151 Wooster Street

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ShopBop 'Event of the Season' Sale

We have been patiently waiting for the ShopBop friends and family sale that usually starts the first week of April. Instead, Shopbop is mixing things up a bit.

Starting today you can use this presale link to save 20% on purchases under $500 and 25% off if you spend more. You can use the code EVENT17 at checkout to engage the discount. The promotion officially opens to the public tomorrow.

Some items we have been eyeing include this 'millennial pink' ruffle top (yes, it's a color). We are also heavy into these Pedro Garcia slides and embellished sandals from Elina Linardaki. These two-tone jeans from Citizens are one of the hottest styles of the season.

The best part of this sale is that you can apply the discount to previously reduced merchandise. The blazer is becoming one of the hottest wardrobe pieces and this style form Helmut Lang has a gorgeous cut. This embroidered top from One by Lanzuli is already reduced 70% and could check out for close to $100 from $473 and this blue and white peplum top will ring in at $40 from $155.

The sale ends Friday at midnight (PT) but continues through the weekend on East Dane (the men's site). This is the best deal you can expect for some time. If you ask us, it seems like a good opportunity to celebrate Spring.