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It may be a dismal and rainy day, but the crowd outside the Alexander McQueen sample sale this morning at 8:30am was excited to be there anyway. Faced with waiting in a line of about 70 people until the sale's 10am opening at 123 West 19th Street, shoppers remained happy and chatted about what was expected to be inside. Luckily, the staff started letting people in at 9:30am.
After listening to stories of incredible dresses, jackets, and shoes found at past sales, we were expecting to be nothing short of wowed when arriving on the fifth floor. While being so close to so much Alexander McQueen merchandise is awe-inspiring in itself, we couldn't help but feel that this sale is fairly disappointing. Cell phones weren't allowed inside the sale space, so we'll describe what we saw as best we can.
Women's shoes are closest to the door. Heels, pumps, slippers, and flats are $250, while tall boots and booties are $350. Sizes range from 5 to 11, with a good amount of styles and stock in every size. We did spot one pair of (beautiful) black suede pumps in a size 8, but styles in bright blue, purple, and pink suede dominate the selection. There is a pair of bright blue open-toed suede pumps with a flaming skull decal at the vamp that is very prevalent in all sizes. Tall boots are under the shoe racks, and we saw a suede stiletto pair in a size 8 marked down from $647.
Men's shoes are towards the back on the right-hand wall. All styles are priced at $150, and we saw sneakers, high-tops, derby shoes, oxfords, and slippers in sizes 7—13. Notable styles include black oxfords (originally $289), light tan derby shoes (originally $740), and black leather slippers with a skull stamped on the vamp (originally $279).
The majority of the handbags are on a table down the center of the space, and there is a limit of three per person. Prices are $250 for clutches and $500 for day bags, while skull snap closure and knuckle clutches are $550, exotic skin clutches are $700, exotic skin day bags are $1,000, men's bags (we didn't see any of these) are $350, and mini bags are $400. There isn't a great selection — most of the bags are brightly colored and appear worn. A suede structured satchel in tan with brown leather details is marked down from $2,095, and a blue snakeskin style stood out as well.
The best words for both men's and women's ready-to-wear are "crumpled," "outdated," and "dingy." Even though bright reds and blue velvets popped out occasionally, the selection is composed of crumpled black and cream jackets and pants. Men's apparel is priced at $100 for tee-shirts, pants, and waistcoats; shirts and knits are $150; jackets are $300; suits are $400; coats and outerwear is $500; and leather is $750. While sizes range from 30 to 42, 38s, 40s, and 42s make up most of the racks. We noted a signature black skull-patterned jacket in a size 42, and a white sport shirt with maroon polka-dot cuffs and collar.
The women's ready-to-wear is priced similarly to the men's, with tee-shirts, pants, and vests at $100; knits, skirts, shirts, corsets, and tops at $150; jumpsuits at $350; dresses and jackets at $400; coats and outerwear at $500; and leather at $750. Sizes range from 38 to 46, and smaller size 40s will have the most luck here. Notable styles include a red cropped leather moto jacket (was $849) and a tan suede mini skirt in a size 46.
The artistry and craftsmanship upon which the label's reputation is built is very much alive in the gowns. There aren't many of them, but we suggest heading to the back corner to look. A black ruffled gown with gold brocade embroidery in a size 38 is going for $3,000 (was $28,950). We loved a black racer-front gown with colorful embroidery and feather panels at the hips in a size 42 for $1,500 (was $2,299).
Jewelry, sunglasses, scarves, ties, hard clutches, belts, and tech and gift items are all on tables along the left-hand side of the space. For jewelry, enamels, rings, and brooches are $50, as are cufflinks, while bracelets are $100 and necklaces and chokers are $175. We liked the signature enamel skull bracelets, which were available in black and white colorways. Sunglasses are $100, and we spotted about ten classic styles in total.
There is a limit of three silks per person, which applies to scarves ($150) and ties ($50). We weren't impressed with the selection for either, but we did see a floaty blue floral scarf (was $209) and a yellow floral geometric silk style (was $474). Ties are mostly blue and unimpressive. The hard clutches on this side of the room are $550.
We saw the embellished Union Jack style in a few (bright) colors, and some of the knuckle clutches also in a few (neon) colors. Belts are $100, and are arranged in bins by size (from 70 to 110) — we saw a lot of pink snakeskin. Tech and gift items are $40 for tech cases, $75 for card cases and key rings, $125 for wallets and zip pouches, and $200 for exotic leather goods.
It's had to say what will be left by the end of the day. Shoes appeared to be going first, with men's styles getting snatched up aggressively. There are dressing rooms in the back by the gowns. The line to the registers were almost as crazy as the line to get in, which wrapped around the block up to the doors of The Container Store on Sixth Ave when we left at 11:30am. The sale runs through Thursday; check out the Dealfeed below for more details.