Behind The Weave – Killer Shades And Other Deals At Bottega Veneta Sample Sale

UPDATE: Afternoon markdowns on RTW and bags! Belts now $25, iPad cases $50, shoes $50-$100. Thursday expect additional discounts on most categories.

The annual Bottega Veneta sample sale is set to officially open this morning at 10am. The Italian luxury powerhouse is always a big draw for shoppers eager to save on the label’s signature intrecciato styles. Yesterday afternoon I was invited to the friends and family portion of the event where I had a chance to preview this year’s offerings. First up: photography was strictly prohibited, in fact phones were not allowed in any capacity. As I was kindly invited by the brand I had to honor their policy, hope you guys can understand. I pulled together several product galleries to best illustrate what was on hand.

The first ever public sample sale from Bottega Veneta was a bargain paradise! Luxury handbags for $300 and under, jewelry and accessories at well over 90% off, work basics for $25, you get it……….it was la dolce vita. Last year unfortunately both the selection and savings left much to be desired. Handbags were non-existent and prices were sky-high! So let’s fast forward to Tuesday and discuss what’s awaiting you this morning. If you are hoping to score a bargain handbag I’m afraid you’re out of luck. While the selection was definitely an upgrade over last year, the prices remained high. Discounts averaged around 30%-60% off original retail with prices of $1,200+ Women’s shoes were only available in size 38 and larger. Selection was small and mainly in size 40/41. RTW consisted primarily of PR samples from the Fall 2015 collection. The best deals to be had were among accessories. Sunglasses and belts were priced at just $50 making the discounts as high as 90% off! Jewelry was virtually non-existent, save for a few leather bracelets. Check out the price list below for more details (feel free to correct me as I’m doing this entirely from memory).

Sunglasses | Belts | Scarves | Home $50
Bracelets | iPad cases $75
iPhone cases $59-$99 (as marked)
Flats $100 | Heels $150 | Boots $200
READY TO WEAR (PR samples)
Swim $25
Tops | Shorts | Tees $50
Skirts | Pants | Knits $75
Jackets $200
Dresses $300
Outerwear $400
Men’s Shirts $50
Mens Suits $200
READY TO WEAR (priced as marked)
HANDBAGS (priced as marked) Limit of 1 bag and 1 SLG
Small wallets $175
Large wallets $250
Cosmetic cases | Pouches $250+ (priced as marked)
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After finding some pretty amazing deals recently at Lanvin and Balenciaga I simply could not bring myself to pick up any of the bags. But at least there were classic intrecciato styles like this hobo ($1,200 small, $1,500 large) and shoulder bag in seasonal shades. The bags could be found on tables near the entrance and along the walls. There were some repeats from last year like these green hobo bags for $600+ Men’s bags were located towards the back and included various sizes of messenger bags in darker colors. There was also a good  selection of luggage, including intrecciato suitcases and weekender bags. Prices ranged from $700 to $1,500 and overall things weren’t exactly cheap. While I did see a few $500 mini bags, on average you can expect to pay $1,200 – $1,500. I did not see too many wallets except the really tiny ones that reminded me more of coin pouches rather than wallets. There were cosmetic cases and pouches priced $250+ and included some nice pieces but again I found prices a bit high. Especially since I spotted some exact styles that I purchased at their sample sale 2-3 years ago for $50-$75 now almost four times as high!
Let’s move on to accessories that proved to be the highlight of this year’s sample sale. There was a large selection of sunglasses and belts at just $50! You usually have to wait for second day markdowns to see prices that low. The sunglasses come with an original intrecciato case (you can see it on my Instagram page), a soft pouch, dust cloth, and are in a pristine condition. You will not find a similar deal at the outlets or off-price retailers like C21 or NR. The style selection was also quite good, from aviators to oversized frames with signature woven accents there was something to suit everyone’s taste. One of the organizers kept repeating that the case alone costs $50 and encouraged shoppers to grab a few pairs. I expect these will be hot sellers when the doors open this morning. The belts also offered some of the best deals. I spotted exotic styles with beautiful buckle details that retailed as high as $900. All belts are just $50 making discounts 80% – 90% off! I grabbed an exotic belt with a multicolor buckle that I missed out on two years ago along with a classic black woven style. Both ended up being well over 90% off retail.

Shoes and apparel were mostly from Pre-Fall and Fall ’15 collections. This was arguably one of Thomas Maier’s boldest collections for Bottega Veneta. With emphatic polka-dot motifs, brushstroke prints and geometric patterns. A rich color palette that included deep greens, purples, yellow, blue, gold, and of course black and white. There were some gorgeous styles but sizing was the biggest issue. As I mentioned earlier, there were no shoes in sizes smaller than a 38 and even size 38 consisted of just a few pairs. Flats were priced $100, heels $150, and boots $200. I was in love with these gold loafers with buckle details but sadly not my size.

Ready To Wear was divided into two sections: PR/Runway one-off samples in size 38 and individually priced RTW (again mostly in smaller sizes). Sample prices started at $50 for tops and shorts, $75 for skirts/pants, $300 dresses, and $400 outerwear. If you fit an Italian 38 there were some real bargains! I saw nearly every style from the Fall ’15 runway show. Click through the gallery below and check out all the amazing looks! As most items were one of a kind, these pieces proved popular with the F&F crowd. If you are size 40/42 it’s still worth it to try on things as I discovered that some styles were cut larger. The stock RTW did offer a few more sizes but it still leaned heavily towards S/XS. Prices were as marked with some dresses $350-$450 and gowns $650. There were gowns that retailed as high as $30,000 but do look for signs of wear and minor damage. I also spotted black leather pants ($400-$500), leather jackets ($400-$600), and even shearling trimmed coats. There is a communal dressing room with mirrors in the back.

BOTTOM LINE: Shop early for sunglasses and belts. Both categories will likely sell out or be completely depleted on the first day. RTW is worth checking out for smaller sizes while handbags are a big skip. Expect lines during lunchtime and after work. Usually there have been extra discounts on select categories for the last day of the sale so keep an eye on Twitter and Instagram for updates. There will be no restocking. Happy shopping!

Metropolitan Pavilion
123 West 18th St., 4th Floor
Wednesday  10am – 7pm
Thursday  9am – 7pm

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