With only a few days left in the year, it's time to look back on 2011 with the annual (five years running!) Racked Recap. This week, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments, from the best collabs to the best pop-up shops. Take a deep breath of the sweet, sweet nostalgia, with a look back at this year's Most Excruciating Lines.
- The scene at the Alexander Wang sale in August
- Waiting in the rain at Christian Louboutin in May
- The crowd at Thom Browne's first sample sale in November
- The line this month at Apple's Grand Central opening
- The epic Jil Saner line in October
- The line at YSL in October
- September's insane Hermès line
- Missoni for Target pop-up shop madness in September
- Lines upon lines during the final week of the MET's Savage Beauty exhibit
- Where people spent the night at the H&M on Fifth Avenue for the Versace collab
Epic lines were certainly of no shortage this year. We spent many mornings and afternoons standing around for this year's surplus of sales, a few museum exhibits, and of course, designer collaborations. To recap what really went on outside, we bring you the Top Ten Most Excruciating Lines of 2011.
10. Alexander Wang
The Alexander Wang sale in August saw hundreds lined up before it officially opened, and those who tried to wiggle their way into the friends and family portion of it were flat out denied. But the wait was perhaps worth it: At the preview for the sale, we found lots of bags, which we were later told wouldn't be restocked. Thankfully, that wasn't true.
9. Christian Louboutin
We didn't personally stand in the Christian Louboutin sample sale line in May this year, because we were asked not to. Actually, we were told we could if we promised not to cover it. And we would never do that, so instead, we garnered our information through Twitter. Turns out it was raining that day, and a lot of editors got really, really wet. Can't say we wish we were there—especially since our reporter who did make it inside said that what was there was "still there for a reason."
8. Thom Browne
The first-ever Thom Browne sample sale was a true sleeper-hit: Our spy waited in line for an hour and a half before he even got close to the front. There were promises of $40 shirts, and the sale was pillaged so hard, it had to close early.
7. Apple Store Grand Central
As expected, the line to enter the new Apple Store at Grand Central Terminal was serious. We arrived at about 9:00 and made our way in by 10:25. We were pretty close to the front, however, and shortly after our arrival, the line began to snake around an additional time down the Northeast Passage. Sure, it was long, but the thing that made it not so excruciating is that Apple people, generally, seem to be in really good moods at 9am—plus, Zaro's Bakery was selling $0.99 apple turnovers to celebrate. But still, standing around in Grand Central Station for over an hour isn't exactly the ideal start to any morning.
6. Jil Sander
The line at Jil Sander's October sample sale was no joke. About 60 people lined up before it started, but by midday, it got even crazier. Our reporter waited for over two hours in the massive line that spanned a good chunk of Crosby Street before getting let inside.
This year's YSL sale in November wasn't pegged to open until 5pm, but the line began three hours early anyway. To add to the clutter, Bonpoint was also having a sale that day, so 18th Street was particularly crowded. We stopped by a few minutes before the sale opened, and found out that the line was about two-and-a-half hours long, and that it went all the way up 18th Street and around the corner to Sixth Avenue and 19th Street.
We arrived at the Hermès sale promptly at 8am, and found three lines stretching up West 33rd Street to Ninth Avenue. At one point, there was most likely 300 people in line, probably more. We just so happened to be situated right next to a controversy: One woman left her friend in line while she went to get breakfast, she said, but the line guard wasn't having it. We listened to them bicker for about, oh, an hour, before she finally left. After that, the staffer who yelled at her tried to high-five her friend. We finally made our way in two hours later, after having witnessed several people leaving the sale with pretty bad news: There was a one-per-customer limit on scarves. The line was not pleased.
3. Missoni for Target pop-up
The line outside of the Missoni for Target pop-up shop right before Fashion Week this year began two hours early, which is around the time that a tipster told us there were about 200 people waiting to be let in. The wait time eventually hit four hours, and by the time that any of those people made it in, the store had been completely ransacked. It ended up closing early because there was nothing left to sell.
2. Savage Beauty
The frantic urgency to get into the Costume Institute's Savage Beauty show really hit about a week before its closure. By then, it was a nightmare. Days before its end date, people began lining up around 9:30 in the morning. Our reporter estimates that at one time, there were "several hundred—maybe thousand" people waiting to get in, and the two separate lines coiled for about six to eight blocks. We put together a guide to surviving it, but many didn't—our correspondent never made it inside.
1. Versace for H&M
There were actually several Versace for H&M lines, but the craziest of all started a whopping 22 hours before the collection officially launched. Yep, at the Fifth Avenue flagship, people lined up almost a day in advance. (Our reporter at the scene commented that the first woman in line was "understandably gruff.") It was organized, however, with wristbands marking your allotted shopping time. But still—a day in advance. That's just nuts.
· All Racked 2011 Recaps [Racked NY]