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The Philanthropic Posh Sale Takes Over the Shops at the Plaza

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Posh has hit the Plaza, and we don't mean WAG extraordinaire Victoria Beckham. The Posh Fashion Sale, sort of a Decadestwo for charity, has temporarily set up shop at the hotel. Funds from the annual sale, which features new, gently-worn, and vintage designer clothing and accessories (think labels like Chanel, YSL, Missoni, and Manolo Blahnik), benefit Lighthouse International, a non-profit dedicated to fighting vision loss. The event, usually held in the Lighthouse offices, has traded up this year to some swanky new digs by temporarily taking over a few of the much-lamented empty spaces in the Plaza shops. So really, it's a win-win for everyone.

The public sale begins today. The entry fee is either $10 per day or $30 for four-day pass. Yes, yes, it costs money to enter, but remember, all funds go to charity. Last night, we dropped by for the VIP preview (read: $175 entry fee), along with a group of determined, mature Upper East Side types who had zero qualms about hanger-checking and butt-bumping their way to a good designer find. We also spotted society matron Somers Farkas and fashion icon Iris Apfel working the crowd and the racks.

The Posh folks have made an effort to organize the sale with creative and slightly corny category names and areas, and all the clothes have designated tags. The high-end designer apparel pieces, footwear and accessories are found in the Palm Beach Privé, strong>Couture du Jour, and Fashionista Designer sections; mid-range and non-designer label pieces are in Street Chic; and vintage is in Retro Chic. There is also a menswear section called Mad Men Menswear (a bit of a misnomer since the items were current and not from the dapper sixties).

Just a note before we get to the down and dirty: A designer "gently-worn" sale tends to be indicative of the donor set. From what we observed, we envisage the Posh archetype to be obviously well-to-do and slightly seasoned. Like if Decadestwo was Serena Van Der Woodsen (and let's be honest, Lily, too), this sale is more Grandma Cece. Said patron may be quite tall, too, judging from the boatload of size nine Junior League-friendly Manolo Blahnik ($75 to $250+) and Chanel ($60 to $125) pumps peppered throughout the sale.

Designer shoes are found both in the back nook of the Couture du Jour (say it five times fast) and mixed with the riff-raff of Chinese Laundry and whatnot in the regular accessories section. We mined through the mom styles to find tan suede Mary Jane Louboutins ($250), a scandalously sexy (for the crowd anyway) pair of berry-hued python Christian Dior platform sandals ($175), super hot black strappy Jimmy Choos ($375), and a fierce pair of gleaming gold Balenciaga platform strappies (it'll cost you at $800). There was also an array of never-worn grey suede brogues and wine-hued cross-strap Mary Janes from Bettye Mueller for $125 each.

As for the handbags, apparently the crowd of a hundred strong that stormed the gates of the VIP preview totally pillaged the $200+ Chanel bags (it hurts, we know). We did, however, come across two Jimmy Choo totes (a rust number for $685 and a more structured shoulder bag for $1350), a diminutive textured tan Fendi ($900), an adorable Pucci evening bag ($500) and—hidden amongst the $15 Express totes in the Accessories section—a teeny patent beige Tods handbag (just $100). Really, the lesson here is that you just have to look.

Same goes for the apparel, but there are finds amongst the matronly Chanel and the Talbots, especially amongst the designer vintage items, which are randomly dispersed amongst all the clothing sections. We came across a Nina Ricci for Bloomingdales ikat pleated frock ($50), a slouchy sparkly pink paillette and butterfly-design Oleg Cassini top ($30), a gorgeous salmony pink textured and belted Mary McFadden maxi-dress ($150), and a ridiculously hot 80s era electric purple YSL leather skirt ($150). We also ran into a kindred spirit in the dressing room who showed us her black leather (albeit pretty beat-up) YSL moto jacket priced at just $100.

Amongst the gently-worn designer pieces, some caught our eye, like a creamy cashmere Prada skirt ($175), a Valentino lace maxi-skirt (pricey at $650), a super short lace bodice Marchesa cocktail frock ($350), classic black Maison Martin Margiela trousers ($125) and a futuristic sequined mesh Victor & Rolf mini-dress ($400).

Despite the Jon Hamm-ish name, the Mad Menswear area was virtually deserted, so we'll only just touch on the guys. Ties and button downs start at $15, suit jackets at $75 and suits at $65. There is also a selection of brand new Jones New York shirts for $30 and ties for $25 each.

Also, just for fun, be sure to check out the "Donated by Liza Minelli" shelf in the Accessories section. Oddly enough, it's full of $25 scarves (Tie Rack, no less) and an array of $30 Izod golf polos still in the packaging. We were left wondering if these were found in the dregs of David Gest's abandoned armoire.

As for logistics, there are fitting areas available throughout. Warning: Sale employees will pack multiple shoppers into one dressing room. Which, considering the conditions of most sale fitting areas, is quite generous, except that you might wind up waiting on a single indecisive shopper obstructing your reflection when you could be efficiently time-sharing a mirror with dozens of seasoned sample sale aficionados. There is a coat and bag check at the door and no strollers are allowed into the sale.

Refreshingly, the many volunteer staffers/"personal stylists" are extremely amiable and helpful. Some final good news: Select items will be marked down daily and the stock will be regularly replenished throughout the duration of the sale. No promises on any more $200 Chanel bags, though.
· Dealfeed: Posh at the Plaza [Racked NY]
· Posh Fashion Sale [Official Site]

Jimmy Choo Fifth Avenue

716 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10065 212-759-7078 Visit Website

Christian Louboutin

965 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021 212-396-1884 Visit Website

Prada - Soho

575 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 212-334-8888 Visit Website

Manolo Blahnik

31 West 54th Street, Manhattan, NY 10019 (212) 582-3007 Visit Website