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J. Mendel's Sample Sale: 75% Discounts, Manolo Blahniks, Loads of Fur

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Update: The sale is open to the public on Friday, March 13th—no appointment required!

The J. Mendel sample sale is back and this time, it's situated in a new location in the Garment District (265 W 37th St, 17th floor). While the appointment-only event officially kicks off tomorrow, we got a first look last night while they were still setting up. The sale offers shoes, handbags, ready-to-wear, gowns and as always, lots of fur. We can confirm everything is at least 75% off retail price, and the discounts are higher on special production samples and one-off items.

Steep cuts can be found on Manolo Blahnik shoes, some of which were designed exclusively for J. Mendel. Some are gently worn while others appear brand new. We found a couple high heel sandals (with sole defects) starting at $50, and prices go up to $550 for black and white patent booties. We also spotted 'Nora' mesh sandals ($75), 'Hela' patent leather metallic shoes ($100) and a tall pony hair boots (size 40) for $100. These are really great deals, but too bad nothing is smaller than a size 38.

The brand's handbag section includes leather totes, small and large clutches, small cross-body bags and minaudieres. It was the most amount of stock we have seen in this section compared to past sales. We particularly liked a small red cross-body bag with gold trims for $312.50 (from $1,250), the same style clutch in a mixed python/calf material for $412.50 (from $1,650), and a beautiful large creamy leather bag in merlot or black and white for $600 (from $2,400). A leather/python 'Midi' clutch was $625 and a red 'Mode' clutch was $425.

In the same section, you'll find some winter fur hats displayed on a table across from the clutches. A fox fur trooper hat is $725 marked down from $2,900 and a Lynx trapper hat made in Canada is $1,625. On the same table, there are also some gold bracelet cuffs with real fur trims in various colors for $125.

The brand's sample sale is known for its ample fur offerings. There were quite a few ladies trying on fur coats which are also 75% off. We spotted a mahogany mink bolero jacket in size small for $4,750 (from $19,000—gulp!), a size 16 dark mahogany dyed mink jacket for $5,250, and a size large, sheared mink fur vest for $5,250, both down from $21,000) We also found a hooded mink vest in size small for $3,800 (down from $14,000). Needless to say, there's a lot of mink! Some have leather trims giving them a more modern look—like a zip-up jacket with afghan lamb and fur for $4,250. Shearling vests and coats are also offered on one rack. A merino shearling wrap vest in grey is $975 (from $3,900), and there are many other similar styles under $1,000.

In the fur coat section, there is a table lined with fur collars and scarves. A white chinchilla fur collar originally from Croatia is $1,975 while a sable fur scarf from Russia is $4,000. If fur is not your thing, then there is a small pile of a cashmere scarves in bright blue for $250 by the entrance. On the same shelf, you'll also find a variety of lambskin wraps (around $475) if you feel like draping something that resembles a sheepskin rug over your shoulders.

In the ready-to-wear department, we found lots of dresses, skirts, a rack full of leather pieces and some wool outerwear. We spotted a bi-color halter dress in lightweight leather for $1,125, a blue and black leather dress with lace details for $875, and a sculpted metallic wrap skirt for $425. We also saw a hot pink wool coat for $1,747.50 and a green wool blend coat for $750.

The beautiful long evening gowns filled about four racks in the back of the room. We found a strapless silk chiffon gown for $1,225, a black pleated gown for $1,725 and an three-ply silk dress with an embroidered bodice for $1,650. There is also a rack full of off-the-shoulder textured lurex jacquard gowns for $1,075.

Finally, there are about a dozen bridal-like dresses that look like remnants from past sales and some of them are not in great shape.

We are told that actual production samples arrive Thursday, so plan accordingly if you want to score better deals on J.Mendel garb. The sale runs through Friday and is open to the public, but by appointment only. Email today to make an appointment. —Hsini

Thursday, March 12th through Friday, March 13th. Thu, 9am—6pm; Fri, 10am—4pm. 265 W. 37th Street, 17th floor. Email to make an appointment.