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Above the Fray: Barneys Warehouse Sale

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Eat your heart out New York: shiny stilettos and fancy dresses galore for cheap at Barneys this morning! After putting up with the block-long line on West 17th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, we were pleasantly surprised to enter into a sane Barneys Warehouse Sale.

Just inside the doors, women dove straight into the racks of shoes (in fact, there was much "I'm going straight for shoes" overheard in line) and men quickly descended to their basement bargains. First things our eyes picked out from the mass: Maison Martin Margiela cork boots and Balenciaga gladiators. They were speedily swiped, and so we continued on into ready-to-wear.

As usual, ready-to-wear sported a good assortment of Prada, Lanvin, Comme des Garcons and Bottega Veneta. One woman got very lucky; we saw her emerge from a pile underneath racks with a truly spectacular Junya Watanabe jacket.

On the accessories front: Eh. Really, not much to talk about here despite the fact that we headed directly to purses. Next door is denim; expect pairs to range from $59-$99 and pickings are still pretty sweet. Shoes average $300, up from what we'd say was $210 last year. There's a large selection of the crazier styles, few flats, and Manolo and Louboutin have their own shelves in all sizes.

We didn't think we'd ever get the chance to say this again, but Kate Moss for Topshop is back!! None of it is recycled from last sale, however, so discounts are only 50% off retail, bringing a heavily-beaded flapper dress down from $350 to $170.

Biggest Disappointment: All the Barney's label frocks, bags and shoes gumming up the racks. Pull out a striking garment, thinking it to be Diane von Furstenberg or Miu Miu, and instead find yourself clasping Barney's knock-off that still costs $300. Having tons of Marc Jacobs in every department (except accessories) partially makes up for this.

Our recommendation is to wait until the first markdown, unless you are desperate to spend $2500 on a new wardrobe of cast-offs from last season. It really is shocking to see how many people feverishly pile items into the provided trash bags. On the other hand, it's just as surprising to see some of the season's hottest items piled onto metal shelves at 80% off.

Previously: We live-blogged the line, took a shot of the entryway, and got a great rundown of the sale from a commenter. Still to come: Menswear, plus a video!

Barneys New York, Madison

660 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10065 (212) 826-8900 Visit Website