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Every year, there are a handful of sample sales that always draw a crowd no matter what. For example: Whether or not you think $30 is an acceptable amount to pay for a candle is irrelevant, because Diptyque's line will always be composed of diehards who will gladly spend ten times that amount. And even after a few lackluster seasons, Hermès sale is always packed.
These are the sample sales that have the most obsessed, cult-like followings —the ones where you will always see a massive turnout, no matter what the weather or the price list. After the jump, we've rounded up the top eight. Feel free to weigh in on your favorites in the comments.
Diane von Furstenberg: Twice a year, DVF lovers queue up outside 260 Fifth Avenue to snatch up the designer's signature wrap dresses and archival prints. The sale is arguably one of the most frenzied, and the chance of getting knocked by a rogue elbow or caught in the middle of a Mongolian fur battle is highly likely. The payoff: decent prices, a ton of stock, and the occasional flash mob.
Diptyque: What we learn after each and every Diptyque sample sale is that people go apeshit for candles. It doesn't matter that the prices aren't that amazing, but it helps that the French's brand coveted home fragrances, perfumes, and lotions are marked down at least 50% off retail. The crowd is always rather intense, and the lines are always long—but it's probably the best-smelling sample sale you'll go to all year.
Hermès: Lately, the Hermès sample sale hasn't been so hot. Despite the fact that there was a one-scarf-per-person policy at the September sale in 2011, over 100 people still got in line the following year. But most of them were disappointed, as this time, there were zero scarves. However, we're pretty sure that's not going to deter anyone from trying their luck next time. After all, there are still tons of bangles.
Saint Laurent: Rain or shine, you can always count on an epic line outside the YSL sale (on the first day and the second). The big draws are the shoes and bags, but now that the brand has been rebirthed as Saint Laurent, we expect the clamor for anything with a Y on the label to escalate—that is, if the company doesn't nix the sales altogether.
Rebecca Minkoff: The term "bag ladies" takes on an entirely new meaning at the Rebecca Minkoff sale, where hordes of women descend upon tables of MACs and MABs with feverish enthusiasm. Expect the press preview and the first day to be equally mob-like.
Manolo Blahnik: The Manolo sale has become a ritual for New Yorkers hungry for high-end shoes at discounted prices. By now, you know the drill: line up, get a ticket, hang out in the hotel...all for a shot at scoring past-season heels, bridal shoes, or something a little more exotic—leopard-print stilettos, anyone?
Christian Louboutin: And then there's the Christian Louboutin sale, which for the past few seasons has done its best to convince shoppers that no such sale exists. And even though it's notoriously a pain in the ass to get into, that hasn't stopped anyone without a special invite from trying.
Opening Ceremony: Downtown, the Opening Ceremony draws its own special crowd, usually clad in tank tops in the summer and Rachel Comey boots in the winter. It's one of those sales where you really, really have to dig, but that didn't deter any of these people from lining up in the cold last December.