Alexander The Great – Shopping The McQueen Sample Sale

UPDATE: Final day extra discounts! Check the new pricelist below (categories not mentioned remain unchanged).

The highly anticipated sample sale from Alexander McQueen returned to New York City for the second year in a row. While organized by Soiffer Haskin, the venue this time was Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. A year ago I was very fortunate to be among the first groups to shop the sample sale and still reminisce about the amazing discounts. De Manta leather clutch for $150, enamel skull bangles for $50, and of course $100 scarves so the big question was whether this sale would live up to all the hype. But first let me apologize for the much delayed report and lack of inside photos.

Much as I feared, the line began to form before the clock even struck midnight. Line sitters were in play once again and I knew this would be a long wait. By 6am there were about 40 people, 70 around 8am and when the doors finally opened to the public the queue was over a hundred. While the wait times definitely weren’t short this was a far better situation than what took place at Hermès last month
Once inside all phones had to be checked. The security was very strict and I saw several people escorted back to the coat check, having to put away their phones. Sadly I have no photos from inside the venue but I do have a few product shots that my friends and I purchased as well as product lists I was able to put together for you guys. Hope you all understand 🙂 As much as I love to bring you the most comprehensive info there are just some events where it is not possible. Luckily I also memorized the prices (it’s possible I may have gotten something wrong) which you can see in the image below (forgot to mention $100 belts and sunglasses).

Moving on to the goods! I immediately noticed a price increase, with the scarves going up to $150. Saving grace being that the selection was huge! Unlike last year when there were only two styles to choose from this time there were smaller pocket squares, wrap bracelet twillys, lots of large silks and a handful of wool blends. The smaller scarves including the twilly and men’s pocket squares were priced at $50 and could be found next to men’s ties that were also $50. All accessories were located along the wall facing you as you enter the room. There was a swarm of eager shoppers buzzing around the jewelry tables. Similar to other sales hosted by Soiffer Haskin you need to wait for a sales associate who will put your selections into a small shopping bag that can be retrieved when you are ready to pay at the register. You can take and inspect all jewelry laid out on the tables on your own but if you decide to buy you will have to wait for an SA. I am happy to report that all enamel bangles were once again $50 and the inventory was much larger. There were narrow, wide and extra wide skull bangles in black, white, purple, beige, brown, blue, red, yellow, and more. Although there were no hinged enamels this time. All bangles were one size which can be an issue for those with tiny wrists. There were also more elaborate bracelets priced at $100. Among the selection I spied a Flower Burst Skull Hinged Bracelet in silver, Double Wrap Leather Bracelet with skull charms, Large Plastic Cuffs with studs or bees, and Twin Skull Multi Row Bracelets in silver or gold. There were rings priced at $50. Some examples included Skull And Bee Ring, Flower Burst Skull rings, Bar Skull rings, and Pearl Skill rings (you can see the last two among my photos lower in this post). The sale also offered $175 necklaces some of which were a real steal with retail prices being over $1,000. Like the Flower Burst necklace in the photos below.

Bracelets (enamels/twill $50 others $100)
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Flower Burst necklace $175
Pearl skull ring
Bar skull ring $50
Flower Burst skull hinged bracelet $100 

Scarves ($150)
(note: some colors/styles are close approximations as older patterns are no longer available online)

Map Skull scarf that counted as a pocket square for $50
Silk scarf $150
Translucent skull scarf $150

Also among accessories were $40 tech cases that included iPhone and Blackberry slip-on cases, and iPad folio cases. This category was a real bargains bonanza, sure phone cases were severely outdated (unless you have a work Blackberry) but iPad cases were the big winners. Majority of them came in signature Alexander McQueen gift boxes and sported retail tags north of $500-$700. Many shoppers were buying in bulk as holiday gifts. There was a limited selection of $40 key chains but nothing interesting. There were $125 wallets but the selection was unimpressive with mostly black and white bi-fold and zip styles. They had gorgeous continental skull wallets but they sold out just as I approached the accessories table. There was a huge selection of $100 belts from size 60 to 110, as well as a nice selection of sunglasses also at $100.

Heroine iPad case $40

Handbags could be found on tables between shoes and clothing, on the back right side of the room. There is a limit of three bags per person. The biggest standouts of course were the Heroine bags that started at $400 for minis, $500 for daytime and $1,000 for exotics. A large black Heroine satchel retails for $2,595 and was available for $500 (thats 80% off savings) but be sure to inspect each bag because there were some minor to medium signs of wear. There were also Heroine totes in black and white graphic pattern, Heroine cross body bags with metal chains in red and black, Mini Heroines in blue and pink.  I also saw De Manta totes in red calf hair ($500) and a lone canvas backpack in floral patchwork ($500). Clutches were located on the accessories table and started at $250 for daytime styles, aka plain and boring pouches (although there were a few patchwork floral skull padlock clutches that were a better value), and went up to $550 for the coveted Britannia and Knuckle Clutch, and $700 for exotic. Alas there were no De Manta clutches this year. Some of the product styles are simply for reference purposes as the colors available at the sample sale may be different from the examples below.

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Heroine cross body with chain strap $500

Large Heroine satchel in black $500

Clothing consisted of ready to wear and couture and could be found on racks in the middle of the room. Prices started at $100 for t-shirts which was an increase of $50 from last year. I only spotted three women’s tees out of the entire selection and those are probably gone now. Overall I didn’t think they were worth the price. Pants, including denim were also $100 but depending on your size it was possible to find some runway piece that would have retailed for over a thousand. Sizes were available from 38 to 46 but the bulk of the merchandise was size 40-42. Outerwear was $500 and I spotted some cute wools and pea coats including the Cornflower Blue Coat Dress that the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wore to an event in France. Leather jackets were $750 but the interesting thing I noticed, not just on leather but on majority of price tags was that the sale prices they sported were only $50 to $100 higher than sample sale prices. I am only guessing that the inventory came from the outlets or possibly some leftover from boutique sales but comparing sample sale prices to the old sale prices didn’t seem like you were getting that great of a deal. I mean if a leather jacket cost $850 at the outlet and now is $750 is it really worth 4 hours of my time waiting in the rain? Clearly not. Which is why I generally was unimpressed with the clothes and shoe selections. Yes you could find great deals if you really scoured the racks but overall there were no amazing deals. Funny thing is as I continued browsing the racks I noticed one of the staffers diligently removing those old sale price tags by tearing out the bottom portion of the tag lol. The organizers knew exactly what they were doing by I knew better 😉 Both women’s and men’s shoes were located along the right wall. Men’s footwear were priced at $150 regardless of style. I recall seeing sneakers, high-tops, oxfords, and loafers mostly in very dark colors. Ladies’ shoes started at $250 for flats and heels and $350 for boots. Sizes ranged from 35 to 41. Kudos if you found a couture runway heel that retailed for $3,000-$6,000 because otherwise prices seemed high. Speaking of couture, women’s pieces included some beautiful black and gold brocade dresses, coat dresses, skirts and pants. One particularly gorgeous dress was priced at $3,000 from $29,000. If you have occasions to wear such things more power to you but for more practical looks, clothing was still far too expensive. Overall though last year’s sale offered a far better selection of couture and high end looks.

BOTTOM LINE: With much shorter wait times on the second and third day the sale is certainly worth a peek. Start with the jewelry as rings and enamels in particular offer some of the better deals. Other accessories are also worth a look but I am hoping for markdowns on scarves (very unlikely though). I was not impressed with clothing or shoes (unless you’re a guy because $150 is great!) and would also hold out for a chance of further discounts in those categories. For those in the market for handbags $500 Heroines are certainly a worthy investment but the clutches not so much. I will keep everyone updated if there are any price reductions and happy shopping 🙂

Alexander McQueen
Metropoliatn Pavilion
123 West 18th St., 5th Floor
Wednesday  9am – 6:30pm
Thursday  9am – 5pm

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