Heels for $100, personal shopping advice from Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley, a nice warm indoor wait—is there any wonder why sale veterans love the biannual Manolo Blahnik sale at the Warwick Hotel? Follow sample sale whiz Fawnia Soo Hoo below as she liveblogs the full experience.
7:54am: Good morning! Ah, Manolo, I've missed you and your cushy conference room, banquet chairs, orderly system, chilled water, and accessible bathrooms.
7:58am: I received my ticket. It's a red A, which means that I'll go in as the first of the B-listers. Us non-VIPs are ensconced in a smaller room this time, and I've snagged one of the remaining seats. It's basically standing-room only now. People seem pretty schooled about the inner workings of the sale at this point. Oh! And Baby Lady and friend from last time are here, only sans baby this time.
8:02am: The room is all women, mostly in pairs, with the exception of one very dedicated husband next to me. The wife says this is their first time at the sale, so hopefully he's prepared.
8:07am: Just ran into our friend Mizhattan, and she says that she heard ALT's booming voice in the hallway. Awesome!
8:12am: I think because the crowd is so big, they reserved more rooms to put attendees in. Wonder if they have the entire second floor. This room is pretty much at capacity. People are sitting on the floor in their designer jeans. Are more people here because it's Veterans' Day?
8:19am: I'm out in the lobby casing the scene, and ALT is holding court with a bunch of adoring ladies. He's regaling them with a story—I heard something about Bergdorf.
8:20am: The larger conference room is filled, so that might be the VIP group.
8:29am: Oh boy. I'm at the water station (this sale has a water station!) and one girl is seriously caffeinated or on something. She's furiously tapping on her iPad and asking random people what letter they have on their ticket so that she can "calculate" what time she's going in.
8:35am: Evidence of budget cuts: There are Styrofoam cups instead of the glassware of sales past. Plus where is the 80s music?
8:38am: More and more women are streaming in and setting up camp on the floor.
8:39am: The chatter in the room is rising. People are getting excited. Staffers just poked their heads in to observe the scene. I don't suppose they could bring in any more chairs? There's an equal number of ladies sitting on the floor to those who have seating.
8:41am: Oh wow! It's as if the staff heard me! A hotel employee just wheeled in more chairs. Such service at the Manolo sale!
8:42am: ...and the chairs were snatched up almost as quickly as pile of fresh Manolo heels.
8:48am: They're up to red ticket letter C now and staffers outside are gearing up for an announcement—probably to the A-list room, since the VIP sale starts in about ten minutes.
8:52am: I was just thinking that the room was getting a bit too crowded with people standing on the floor and poof! More chairs rolled right in.
8:54am: The room is like wall-to-wall chairs now.
8:57am: A staffer just came in to politely remind us about checking large bags. Then she asked, "Is it warmer in here? Does it feel OK now?" Holy crap, someone asked them to turn up the heat. And they did! I mean, it is a bit drafty in here, but to quote one of my fellow shoppers, anything is better than waiting outside.
9:08am: The lone man in the room has been silent for the past 30 minutes. He might be overwhelmed by the amount of estrogen surrounding him.
9:10am: Just walked past the sale room. The first group is hard at work.
9:12am: People are still coming in and our room is at capacity. There are shoppers waiting in the hallway now.
9:17am: Just watched an adorable, distinguished-looked, silver-haired couple sign in at the desk. So sweet. Maybe that husband can keep the silent husband company.
9:19am: Actually, the distinguished husband looks kind of terrified. He has a deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression as he scans the crowd.
9:20am: Oh wow: There's a teenage boy in there. He must be hating life right now.
9:21am: I take that back—he's checking out the girls.
9:30am: The room is getting really crowded. People keep arriving and there's a bottleneck at the door. Oh! One more husband (and he's wearing Uggs.) The wife is gently explaining the whole process to him.
9:32am: The teen son is now comfortable perched on the counter while his mom stands. He actually seems pretty entertained while scanning the heavily female crowd. Aw, he's chatting with his mom, too.
9:45am: I just heard that there's a lot of activity in the sale room. I'm estimating another 20 minutes before red tickets go in.
9:50am: Nice: They're moving us to the larger room. Presumably because those people are now shopping. A staffer just reminded everyone that it's cash only. Suddenly it's clear who the newbies are, since they're all running to the ATM. We're told we'll be let in at 11am.
10:05am: Wait! They called Group A! We're in! People leaped to their feat so fast...
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