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About two dozen people (well, women, and three men) stood on line awaiting the opening of the AEFFE showroom for their semi-annual sample sale—and it was quite the crowd. These people know Gaultier, and they wanted it now—we're talking frenzied Italians with blow-outs, lots of fur, lots of fake eyelashes. After a bit of a coat check bottleneck (and some pointy pump tapping), they finally made it onto the pristine sales floor in the surprisingly plush AEFFE showroom at 30 West 56th St. Organized by brand—Alberta, Gaultier, Moschino, Pollini, Authier, Alberta Ferretti, others—pieces were tagged with wholesale and retail prices. Pricing was 20% off wholesale across the board. Not bad: Find $500 shirting and blouses for about $120, outerwear starting as low as $140, and ties, scarves, gloves, belts and similar impulse buys starting at $20.
Within a few minutes of entering, things started to get a bit hectic. Women crowded the handbag nook, grabbing at Moschino bow bags and frantically checking shoe sizes before trolling into the mens' department to secretly try on a stash of Gaultier and Alberta tops. Cut to the same women getting nabbed by stunningly patient (and complimentary) staffers directing them to the 20-ladies-deep fitting room line while repeating, "There are men changing back here, let's all try and be respectful."
That said, it's worth the rush, and the rush was waning as we were leaving. Garments are predominantly samples, in sample sizes. Some are one of a kind (a floor-length, light-as-air mens' down coat by Moschino printed to look like a trench, complete with a screened belt, for about $800). But there are stock items—lots of tees, jackets, dresses, blouses, career classics, and furnishings for both sexes in sizes as large as XXL. Plus, accessories are one-size-fits-all and there are tons. Bonus: Most are from both Spring and Fall '08 seasons.
· Dealfeed: AEFFE [Racked]
· Lineblogging: AEFFE [Racked]