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Welcome to Shoe Week: a five-day celebration of all things footwear, from the best new arrivals to our favorite places to shop for heels, flats, and everything in between.
More than any other category, it seems that every big shoe sample sale in New York City comes with its own set of caveats. If you're planning to attend a Roger Vivier sale, it helps to be aware that 1.) the lines are insane and 2.) it's really expensive. For Manolo, you need to know how to sit patiently in the Warwick waiting room. And you basically need to marry a Christian Louboutin employee to get into that one.
We've put together a guide full of helpful suggestions, cautionary tales, and game plans to assist with all your discounted shoe shopping needs. Read on for the pointers, and feel free to share any of your own nuggets of wisdom in the comments below.
The bi-annual Christian Louboutin sale is always a pain in the ass for most people, largely because it's invite-only, and a decoy sign usually appears letting everyone know the sale isn't happening when it absolutely is. All year long, we get inquiries here at Racked on how to get invited.
It comes down to this: you either need to work in the fashion industry, or befriend a Louboutin employee. If you're not personal besties with one of them, then you're going to have to become an actual customer, which means paying full price (or close to it) for shoes. If you can afford to do that, though, you might not need the hassle of the sale.
Manolo Blahnik: The date for the Manolo sale has just been announced, so now's the perfect time for us to advise you on how to get in: you need to show up ass early. The sale opens to the public at 9am (and usually closes early—this year, it's 2pm), and once you arrive at the Warwick's waiting room you're given an alphabetized ticket.
Last year we got there at 8am and received an "I" ticket, which basically means 9th in line. You have the option to leave and come back, but we'd discourage it; we were told we'd be let in around 11am, and were actually let in earlier. A few final notes: bring cash, cause credit cards aren't accepted. However, you might not need that much, as basic styles start at $100.
Perhaps the best piece of advice for the Roger Vivier sale is to not expect anything cheap. At the sale earlier this month, classic buckle styles were priced at a not-so-modest $275—the least expensive shoe we saw. There's a ten-item limit per person, but unless you're literally made of money that shouldn't be too big of a deal.
Last April, it took us a whopping two hours to get into the Jimmy Choo sample sale, which was the brand's first in years. Unfortunately, it might not have been worth the wait. A lot of the merchandise was damaged, and a lot of the selection was a bit subpar (there were plenty of Choo for Ugg lying around).
However, damages were priced at just $75, so if you're fortunate enough to find a good pair then that's a pretty awesome deal. Note that there were markdowns on the second day, but only on damage, which were reduced to $50 while full price shoes remained at $225. Our biggest piece of advice is bring cash, because there was a designated check-out line for paper, and it was a hell of a lot shorter than the one for plastic.
In comparison to the above, the Cesare Paciotti sale is relatively tame. This past March, we found a surprisingly small line of around forty people when the sale opened. The discounts topped off at around 80% off, and the cheapest pair of heels we spotted were $250 stilettos. Wallets, however, were priced at $30, and also unlike the rest of the sales, men's shoes are present. However, inventory was limited, so if you're hoping to walk out with something good, it's best to be a part of that small morning line.
This one's a cakewalk. At the Loeffler Randall sale, all shoes are neatly displayed in plastic bags and hung on rolling racks—meaning you're not going to have to clean off any dusty fingerprints after you buy a pair. The markdowns are never tremendous (think 50% to 60% off), but they help. If you're the type to offer up a quick "pass" on the Louboutin and Manolo sales, this one's probably for you.
And if you enjoyed that, you'll also get a kick (pun sort of intended) of the Matt Bernson sale, which always includes a ton of shoes at really good prices. Last time, flat boots, heels, and wedges were all priced at $60 regular flats were $50, and flip-flops were just $25. It's cash only, so pack accordingly. If you forget, there's an ATM across the street.
· All Shoe Week 2013 Coverage [Racked NY]