Not every Christian Louboutin sample sale can be a winner, and according to one tipster, this year's event certainly won't be remembered as one of its best. Between hours in line, technical difficulties at checkout, and a higher average price point for the best merchandise compared to years' past, our informant used one word to sum up their experience: "disastrous" — even though they left with a few pairs.
Woes began out on the sidewalk, where approximately 300 eager shoppers were waiting outside when the doors opened for the sale's second day at 8am. There were so many people that you had to wait in a separate line to then wait in the one that would actually get you into the sale. By the tipster's estimate, the crowd consisted "almost entirely [of] people without invitations. Some groups seemed to have one invite for 2-3 people, which of course doesn't work." And, as usual, "invites were checked at the door and were very strict. You needed an invite + ID + to be on list. No one is going to sneak into this."
So why doesn't security clear out non-VIPs and control the chaos? Because they are "secret geniuses. They see and know all. The second line had a gap in the center as there's a construction site there, and women kept trying to sneak into that gap. In one instance, the doorman let her stand there and then when wrist bands were given out, he said she doesn't get one because she's a line cutter. It's evil, but I get where he's coming from." Security will play cruel tricks like that, a door attendant explained to our tipster, because they "want them to waste their time, fail, and not do it again the next year." (So far, it does not look like this strategy is working.)
Making matters worse was that a technical glitch shut down credit card payments around 11am, leaving shoppers "just standing inside unable to pay but also unable to leave" and stretching out what was supposed to be a 30-minute shopping window. Systems were back up and running about an hour later, but in total our tipster waited around six hours before getting inside. And at that point, "it's so crowded that they don't have enough coat hangers and can't check jackets, [and] can't give us tickets for what we check. I shove my coat in my handbag, throw it on a high shelf, and run to the shoes."
The shoe collection consisted of boots, sneakers, flats, and heels for women, plus a selection of men's footwear, and most styles appeared to be from the fall 2014 collection. Prices ranged from $200 to $800, but there weren't too many favorable pieces on the lower end of that tier: "If I recall, last time ... there was a lot more in the $200—$300 range. This time, the good stuff was pretty much all $350—$400. I got really lucky to find what I think is a true sample for $200."
Boots were "priced at the highest tier" and included styles like "black leather studded with silver and gold, black suede with a very high heel, [and] black leather with silver grommets." Sneaker styles ranged from snakeskin, "some gray and black leather styles with a woven pattern," and "bright pastels with spikes." Flats were lackluster, as there were "lots of repeats of a ballet flat house slipper of sorts. It had a leather sole but was really flexible — [it] reminded me of those 'fast flats' you get at CVS when your heels hurt and you're drunk, except these are $200 and have a bow."
In the heels department, there were "not a lot of traditional spikes" (read: the brand's classic most popular styles are nowhere to be seen) "but a fair amount of bedazzled, snake skin, and hardware...there were also pointy blue and red suede shoes with round black decoration all over [in] tons of sizes," and a particular pointy-toe slingback style "with grommets stringing black leather through onto snake skin fabric." A couple of warm weather sandal styles were spotted from the spring sale, too. Men's options consisted of loafers that "were woven with a wallpaper-like texture" and "metal round decoration," plus a "handful of tweed/fabric dress shoes and a handful of sneakers."
In women's sizing, "37 and smaller seemed picked through" as of Wednesday afternoon. 38 through 41 had the biggest selection, but 38s and 39s were "mostly repeat styles." There was no mention of accessories.
"Overall, it wasn't really a great sale" our tipster concluded, in spite of their purchase. "Had I had prior commitments today, I don't think I would've stuck out the line." Other women, they observed, seemed to be "leaving with only one [pair that] they bought begrudgingly just to get something after that long line."
Sounds like one unnecessary, expensive souvenir. The sale supposedly wraps up at 6pm today, and it looks like non-VIPs will once again be shut out this year — if you do end up trying your luck today, let us know about your experience in the comments section below.