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The Manolo Blahnik sample sale is legendary for its low prices, civilized crowds, and veil of secrecy. This year, after a blogger published all the details, others worried that the sale would be moved or rescheduled. Racked correspondent Fawnia Soo Hoo headed over to the Warwick Hotel at 54th and Sixth to find out.
7:35am: Hello! Just got here and the line is pretty manageable at this point. There's a sign at the door saying that no Manolo guests are allowed inside until 8:30am, so it must still be happening here.
7:39am: They're letting people inside now. But in small groups. A very grumpy security guard just yelled at line-goers for litter on the ground that we did not leave here. "See?!"—gesturing at the ground. "This is why you all need to wait outside the hotel."
7:42am: The lady in front of me came last year, too, and is giving me the scoop. Cash only, and they assign shoppers into groups designated by letter so that shopping is orderly. Last year, shoes were $100, $125 if they had tassles, and $250 for boots. She bought seven pairs.
7:44am: Btw, baby count is at one. In a massive stroller.
7:46am: Line count: Exactly 31. They are letting us upstairs into a meeting room.
7:50am: The security guard outside is really mean and bitter and yelling at people for infractions like not standing in a single file line, even though the line is penned in by leftover NYPD gates from the parade.
7:54am: An official-sounding Manolo lady just apologized for the line outside and the delay. Apparently last year, they had a table set up early to distribute tickets. Not sure if that was an industrious shopper's idea or if it was official.
7:59am: I keep hearing that because the sale leaked online, people came an hour earlier than usual, just in case. I have to say, this is a pretty cushy set-up. We're inside and seated. There's a water table with real glasses and an accessible restroom.
8:00am: Surveying the crowd...all female except one very dedicated husband. Even the baby is a girl. Everyone opted for function over fashion—they're all wearing flats.
8:02am: The three staffers are slowly calling names from a legal paper list, which appears to be legit. They're handing out tickets—it looks like blue is VIP and red is general. We'll see, though. About ten more people just came in.
8:05am: Ohhh. It looks like they're cross-checking their legal paper list with the VIP list.
8:07am: Got my ticket: Red (general) and group A. It pays to come early. But I'm assuming the blues go first.
8:10am: So the staffers are really nice and keep apologizing for the wait outside. She says that they'll try to open early, maybe 8:30.
8:13am: The girl next to me was mistakenly given a red ticket. Staffers quickly remedied the issue.
8:20am: Nice. A lady staying at the hotel just stumbled into the sale and went to put her name on the list. Sometimes it's just timing!
8:24am: A guy is sitting up front with a massive suitcase. Guess his wife plans to buy a lot?
8:28am: I'd estimate there are about 70 people in the room right now. If people didn't come in groups, they're making friends with everyone around them. It's always good to have someone getting your back at these things.
8:31am: The staffers are super-courteous and professional, but they're sort of cracking me up. They're impeccably dressed and coiffed, of course, and the main one calling out names (let's call her Blair) is the only one who's spoken so far this morning. The other two are following her around the room in silence. Clearly, she's the Queen Bee.
8:36am: A staffer just told me that as a red A, I should get in by 10am. And Andre Leon Talley is inside shopping now, which is probably why they're not letting us in yet. Hurry up, Andre!
8:41am: The door to the larger room is open a crack, and I can see tables and tables of plastic-wrapped Manolos. No sighting of Andre yet, but according to a veteran shopper he held everyone up last year, too.
It's going to be a long wait, folks. For more lineblog, head over here.