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The DVF Preview: A Forewarning of the Mayhem to Come

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Lest anyone forget the insanity that always goes down during the bi-annual Diane Von Furstenberg sale, today's two-hour VIP preview was a healthy dose of reality. The public sale, which opens bright and early tomorrow, offers major markdowns on fall 2010 and spring 2011 overstock, plus tons of $50 samples. And today's ravenous crowds can't do too much damage, because the sale is always reliably replenished by staffers. Here's your primer to study before 9am tomorrow—or 8am, really, because you know there will be a line. (Look out for our line-blog.)

Per the usual M.O., the pricing is detailed on signs conveniently placed throughout the sale for reference. The overstock apparel is arranged by size, from zero (to the left) to fourteen (to the right), and the samples are in the back. The overstock pricing remains largely the same as the last sale—$40 for tees, $80 for pants, skirts, blouses and sweaters, $125 for dresses, jackets and swimsuit cover-ups, $150 for wrap-dresses and vintage (which we rarely ever run across), $250 for leather, and $275 for cocktail gowns/dresses and coats.

The racks were a mélange of prints and graphics: Zig-zag puzzle pieces, abstract watercolors, nature and jungle-inspired motifs, and squigglies and stripes. We saw classic day dresses, ruffle-y printed cocktail frocks, breezy, sheer caftans, pretty peasant blouses, flippy skirts and basic khaki bottoms. If you're interested in stocking up on outerwear, the swirly, gold embellished Keyroon coat (originally $1400 and on sale at for $980) caught our eye, and the slouchy, luxe leather scarf-collar jacket (in olive, grey and black) goes for twice as much at the outlets.

Let's talk about the samples, which are situated in a too-small-space at the back right. The samples are $50 each (same as last time) and run about a size four to six. The styles are plentiful and diverse enough for every taste, but they are just absolutely jammed onto the racks, making it that much harder to browse. The too-close proximity requires no hesitation in diving head-first into the abyss of frocks, tops, jackets and hanger hooks. We swear we saw some girls go in and never come out. Wear close-toed shoes—otherwise you might lose an appendage from the racks being shoved back and forth by overzealous shoppers, who will waste no time or consideration in reaching past you for a coveted frock.

And while we're talking about feeding frenzies, this is probably a good time to discuss the communal fitting room, which is not for the faint-hearted. (Overheard inside: "I have to get out of here".) If the situation is anything like today, it'll be madness tomorrow, so set aside time to wait in a long line and heed the ten-item maximum.

There is also an accessories area, with bags, pouches, scarves and belts. Bags run from $10 for canvas totes to $225 for leather handbags to $325 for the Stephanie Medium hobos and the Maribelle Sac shoulder bag.

There you have it. Take the next twenty or so hours to plan your strategy and mentally prepare yourself for the onslaught tomorrow. If you decide to wait a bit, don't worry, there are always markdowns and smaller crowds later in the week. As for tomorrow, bring it.
· Dealfeed: Diane Von Furstenberg [Racked NY]
· Patterns and Prints in Plenty of Sizes at Diane Von Furstenberg [Racked NY]
· DVF [Official Site]