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Last week a brand new boutique called Change of Season opened in the East Village. It's small, lavish and elegantly decorated to emulate a hotel lobby. It carries the best European designer labels and features a Vivienne Westwood-clad mannequin in the window. And when you pop in, you might even luck into a complimentary splash of wine. Sounds expensive, right? Actually, it's not. Change of Season is—at least for New Yorkers—a new kind of shopping experience: Deep discounts on covetable and hard-to-find wearables without the emergency room lighting, security checkpoints, or hordes of plastic bag-laden tourists. What's not to love?
We visited yesterday evening and found a delightfully decorated space: Plaid side chairs, luggage trolleys as clothing racks, vintage suitcases and postcards, and a brass chandelier all serving as a warmly-lit and comfortable backdrop for delicious past season womenswear (menswear coming soon!) Labels include Commes des Garcons, Rick Owens, Alexander McQueen, Dries van Noten, Maison Martin Margiela, See by Chloé(essentially a who's who of high end European designers)—all priced at 50% to 70% off.
Shrunken tartan blazers by Commes des Garcons were straight out of Clueless and priced at $485 from $1040. Wool overcoats with signature Saturn-engraved buttons by Vivienne Westwood started at around $500 but retailed for over $1200. Red, white and blue striped cotton stretch scarves by Balenciaga were a mere $135, down from $270. A woven, blue horsehair chain by Marni was $145 and shared a curio chest with other baubles, belts, and shoes by Margiela (including an unbelievable silver and brown leather belt composed of dozens of mismatched belt buckles—$350 from $950) and one-of-a-kind pieces using vintage gemstones by Carolina Damas.
A gray angora and cashmere knit See by Chloé dress was adorable, baby-soft, trimmed in brown leather, and practically seamless ($265 from $455); an asymmetrical purple sweater by Alexander McQueen ($185 from $330); a perfect gray Commes des Garcons cardigan ($285 from $680); and an array of simple white blouses—were timeless rather than trendy. Though the shop features a lot of trendier pieces—drapey Rick Owens silk jersey frocks ($355 from $865) for instance—the stock is tends more towards elegant, top quality basics that you'll be wearing for years. And when you think of it that way, the booty seems even cheaper.
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