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A lot of us at Racked LA were excited by the very idea of a Gilt Groupe sample sale, particularly because you were given the option to reserve a time block. Selection and overall volume of merchandise would assumedly be better earlier in the day, but prices would be slashed as the day progressed. A couple of us went: one of us went right when it opened, and the other staffer opted for a later time slot. Here's what we both found:
10am slot: Rolling up a couple of minutes after the doors opened. Met by lots of kids and home items. Ehhhh. First stop: women's clothing. The racks were stuffed with impressive labels, for sure: Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Temperely, 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent. It's not exactly new. It's not the most awesome merchandise, either. But it is priced nice: a few Tibi and Betsey Johnson dresses for $40; Marc Jacobs jacket for $150, black sequined Tory Burch dress for $150. The shoe section had some gems: black Gucci kitten heel pumps, white perforated pumps by Paul and Joe, funky chunky platforms from Marni, and a whole stack of strappy snakeskin platforms by Joie for $60. Also a few pairs of errant Toms in the accessories section. Weirdest item: a Kiki de Montparnasse catsuit with a leather accent bustier and harem pants. Originally $600; Gilt price $125.
2pm slot: 2:05pm, and there’s a big line outside Siren Studios wrapping up North Orange Street to Santa Monica. Once inside, there are about 20 racks of clothes with narrow paths to squeeze by. It kind of feels like Marshall’s meets the NYC Steven Alan sample sale doing some kind of early bird sales special. On the racks, Vera Wang and Vera Wang Lavender Label dominated ($100-$250). Also present: drapey Miguelina dresses ($100); Tory Burch and Tibi tops and dresses; Carolina Herrera separates; smatterings of spring ’09 Stella McCartney, Halston, Elizabeth and James and Donna Karan; and a lot of satiny, glittery items. Piles of Erin Brinie stuff too, oddly. Some of the better deals we spotted included more than a few perfect McQueen trousers for $75 (if you’re a size 2); a pretty Temperley sundress ($150); and a killer grey stretch Zac Posen dress in a size large ($150) that we can’t believe no one swiped up. Shoe selection was insanely picked over by 2pm – kudos to you if you’re a size 40 or a man seeking beige patent oxfords. Handbags: zilch, but for some basic black Billykirk bags ($50) and a slew of army green Jack Spade messengers ($70). Overheard as we left: 50% off for the 4-6pm time slot, with more merch being pulled from the back. Shucks.
The verdict: Lots of old season, somewhat ill-fitting styles, but if you could see beyond the wrinkled garments and super-jammed sales floor, there might be a treasure or two to find. A decent afternoon retail adventure if you have the time and aren't looking for anything in particular. And judging by the amount of emails we received from shoppers who reported similar sentiments (they had to dig through piles of ehhhhh merchandise to unearth awesome treasure), we can give this one an unqualified thumb's up. (Mara Gladstone contributed to this report.)
· Gilt Groupe [Official Site]