Cashmere Comes At A Price - Loro Piana Sample Sale

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

UPDATE: 10/1 Final Reductions on select categories.

After leaving the stellar Paul Smith sample sale I hopped on the train and headed to Soiffer Haskin to check out price reductions at Loro Piana. The luxury Italian brand is famous for its exquisite cashmere products from scarves to knits to footwear and even toys. The semi-annual sample sale features a large selection of apparel, shoes, and accessories for women and men. Also available are bolts of fabric to create your own custom made suits.

Much as expected I arrived to find the discounts woefully unimpressive. I fondly recall shopping their sales as a child with my mother when you could find sandals at 90% off and scarves under $100 but those day are gone, long, long, looooong gone unfortunately. Instead you will be greeted with discounts of 40% to 60% off original prices of you know..... $550 - $30,000. There is no denying fine craftsmanship and high quality materials used by Loro Piana but calling this iteration of their current sale a "sample sale" is downright wrong. These prices belong in boutiques plain and simple. To put it bluntly you can do far better at Loro Piana's outlets in Woodbury Commons and Italy. Last year, around Black Friday I found special 80% off and 90% off sale sections with apparel, including cashmere sweaters. I also had a chance to visit their outlets in Italy where I saw sandals for $50 and a good selection of apparel in the $100 range. Perhaps the only category that no longer sees significant price cuts even in Europe or Woodbury are the scarves, 40% off is as high as you can expect there and is precisely what you'll find at this sale. As you might imagine the venue was fully stocked but most items appeared untouched. Sadly the brand seems undeterred that most shoppers opt to shun their sample sales. The few customers browsing inside skewed baby boomer and well beyond. There were stylish older gents in custom suits and every lady sported either a pair of Hermes shoes or a handbag. Hey, at least I was wearing my clic-clac so as not to feel like a complete fish out of water ;)

Probably the most important thing to know is that discounts are taken from the highest original retail price. Every item at the sale sported tags with two price points: the bolded sale price that you are asked to ignore and the lighter full retail price that appears in parenthesis above the sale price. There are calculators on hand to help you do the math or you can always ask one of the helpful staffers. Every customer bar none made the mistake of discounting from the bolded price only to be disappointed to learn that you were supposed to read the top price. Either way things were expensive. Among the cheaper offerings were men's ties at 60% off $225 and on the other end of the spectrum were fur coats priced well into $20,000 to $30,000 range at 50% off.


WOMEN
Apparel 60%
Outerwear 50%
Scarves and Shawls 40%
Handbags 60%
Gloves/Hats/Belts/Tights 60%
Cashmere Slippers 60%
Footwear 70%

MEN
Apparel 60%
Outerwear 40%
Polo Shirts 50%
Sweaters 50%
Gloves/Belts/Ties/Hats 60%
Footwear 60%
Scarves 40%

Bolts of Fabric 70%
Toys 60%


The venue was split into two sections with women's apparel on the left, along the windows and menswear on the right side. Tables in the middle were lined with knitwear, scarves, and shoes. All the way in the back were bolts of fabric at 70% off retail. There were also shelves with handbags, accessories and toys. I saw some adorable "My First Cashmere Car" and "My First Cashmere Boat" children's toys for $340 (retail $850). Among the accessories were tights $150 (retail $375), gloves $130-$240 ($325-$600), baseball caps $106 (retail $265), ties $90 (retail $225), knit hats $150 (retail $375), felt hats $400 (retail $1,000). Handbags were also discounted at 60% off and ranged from $1,000 to $1,880 (retail $2,500 - $4,700) for leather bags and $480 for mini shearling pouchettes. There were also cosmetics cases for $180 (retail $450). Women's outerwear ranged from $7,250 - $7,950 for short shearling (before 50% off discount) and furs went into $30K territory.


























BOTTOM LINE: Skip this one. Woodbury Commons is a better option especially with Black Friday on the horizon. I've also seen Loro Piana online at Rue La La and Ideel for significantly less. Sure the selection and amount of merchandise at Soiffer can't be beat but discounts leave much to be desired. With the sale ending tomorrow you can expect to see a few more incremental markdowns on select categories but nothing to go crazy about. Save for Hermes at the end of the month ;)



LORO PIANA
317 West 33rd St.
Wednesday  9am - 6:30pm
Thursday     9am - 5:00pm

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