Filed under: News & Views

Look Out for Luxury “Flash Sale” Sites!

imageWithout a doubt, the biggest new craze in online shopping is the plethora of Web-only luxury sample sale sites (a.k.a. flash sales). A trend that originated in France thanks to a site called Vente-Privee.com, flash sale prototypes in North America have proven to be just as popular and successful.

Sites like Gilt.com, RueLaLa.com, RegentsSecret.com, HauteLook.com, EditorsCloset.com are among the latest crop of members-only Web sites that sell deeply discounted luxury goods, typically up to 70% off retail for a limited-period of time. Once you become a member (you need to be invited by a member), you’ll receive a text message or email informing you when the next VIP sale begins.

Why the sudden wave of these so-called flash sites? With today’s shaky economy, unsold luxury goods are piling up in retailers’ stockrooms like never before. And since major department stores and independent boutiques are so desperate to sell stock before the arrival of next season’s shipments, flash sales have proven to be a great way to move inventory.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of flash sales (36 hours or less), die-hard serial shoppers, myself included, feel a sense of urgency and inevitably get pressured into buying the merch. For example, I just logged on to Gilt.com and noticed that they’re holding a Rebecca Minkoff handbag sale this Thursday, May 29th from 12pm–midnight. That means I’ll have to act fast if I want to score the dove grey leather hobo I’ve been dreaming about.

Flash site Ideeli.com, the savviest of these social networking newcomers, posts a digital time clock informing you exactly when a particular sale is over. Which reminds me: I only have 9 minutes and 5 seconds left to score those Valentino aviator shades I’ve been eyeing…

Buyers beware: as with any e-tailer, make sure to check return policies and shipping fees before you buy. Happy shopping!

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Filed: News & Views, Trends

Comic Couture

imageCall me crazy, but doesn’t it seem as if everyone in the art and design world has been jumping-in on the superhero bandwagon lately? First came New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala, “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” and now, Diane von Furstenberg is paying homage her favorite superhero, Wonder Woman, by debuting a capsule collection in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products (on behalf of DC Comics). DVF’s haute heroine lineup includes ready-to-wear, small leather goods and footwear inspired by the iconic female superpower.

imageWhy exactly is Furstenberg so smitten by Wonder Woman? For starters, the fictional Greek Goddess happens to share the same first name as the designer, Princess Diana. In fact, Furstenberg has kept a picture of the comic heroine in her notebook for years and her staff even once gave her a framed photo of herself in the likeness of Wonder Woman as a gift. But I digress…

imageFar from cartoonish, the DVF Wonder Woman collection will feature eye-catching frocks, from signature wrap dresses to shifts with corsets, adorned with shimmery sequins and, of course, stars – the ultimate symbol of empowerment (an attribute that Furstenberg is extremely passionate about). DVF boutiques will also carry a coveted assortment of Wonder Woman-inspired collectibles that go beyond bulletproof bracelets and headbands (ker-pow!). Proceeds from the sale of select items will benefit Vital Voices Global Partnership, an organization von Furstenberg is committed to that identifies and empowers emerging women leaders and socially-minded entrepreneurs. This limited-edition collection will debut in DVF boutiques as well as specialty stores worldwide in October ’08… just in time for Halloween!

 

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Filed: News & Views, Trends

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Shrink Wrap: the latest in Retail Therapy

imageDid any of you happen to come across this week’s WWD article entitled “Shoppers Calling for a Little In-Store Psychology”? In case you missed it, I thought I’d re-hash some of the article’s more eyebrow-raising points.

In a nutshell, the premise of this insightful article is that specialty boutique sales staff (in NYC and L.A.) have become stand-in shrinks for their regular customers. A number of sales staff provided hysterical anecdotes about certain high-maintenance shoppers, some of whom think it’s normal behavior to prance around a boutique in nothing but their skivvies. However, in my humble opinion, the most amusing part of the article is its classification of shoppers into five humorous categories including:

Miss Lonely Hearts: pours her heart out to a salesperson rather than seek treatment with a trained therapist.

The Addict: shops compulsively, but hasn’t bothered to get to the root of the problem.

The Psycho Shopper: throws temper tantrums and often exudes bizarre behavior (i.e,. asks a salesperson to snap naked shots of her in the dressing room).

The Performer-Exhibitionist: flirts with sales staff, flashes her breasts and practices downward dog yoga moves.

Little Ms. Indecisive: tortures herself by putting an expensive designer item on hold, eventually buys it and then returns the item due to shoppers remorse.

Truth be told, I fall under not just one, but four of these categories. Yup… I’m guilty of buying and returning (a.k.a. shopping bulimia), sometimes hide how much I spend from my hubbie, split clothing payments on multiple credit cards, occasionally thrown a temper tantrum if Pedro Garcia’s must-have platform pump is unavailable in my size and shop compulsively despite my dwindling savings account. But there is hope around the corner!. I’m actually considering attending Shopoholics Anonymous, a division of the Shulman Center for Compulsive and Theft Spending.

I’m curious… which of the five shopper categories do you fall under? Share your thoughts with the rest of the Fashion Junkie community!

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Filed: News & Views