I stopped by designer Jane Mayle’s boutique on Elizabeth Street in Nolita to check out her closeout sale. I arrived there about half-an-hour before the end of the sale to find a long line (the Mayle-philes certainly turned out tonight). Needless to say, I was concerned that I wouldn’t get in. But to my surprise, the sales girls came out to assure everyone in line that we would all make it inside and, to help ease our wait, they poured us Champagne.
I came to the sale hoping to find a handbag. I was dissatisfied with the choice – mainly very large or small bags were available. I did spot a Billie bag ($295) in natural leather. Few of the blouses and dresses were in my size – 2. Some of the merchandise were actual sample sizes. Blouses started at $125. Dresses were priced between $175-$495. The dresses that I did like were priced at $495 – a bit too extravagant for a sample sale, I thought. As for shoes, there was only one style left. I bought a leopard-print belt and two makeup bags – one of them was made out of lace, the other – Florencia Pouch – was made of canvas with a black herringbone printed pattern.
Since I was in the neighborhood, I went back to the sale the next day with a friend, Richard – who has a great eye for style and is an avid collector of vintage clothing. He wasn’t thrilled with anything he saw. And in a humorous turn of events, he was eventually cast from the sample sale by an overzealous employee and somewhat deluded customer who was under the impression that he cared she was changing in front of him. Little did she know that Richard was more intrigued by the textiles than the half-clothed women, considering his proclivities. I ended up buying a black silk blouse with kimono sleeves for a friend in Los Angeles who asked me to get something for her at the sale.
The end of a lease and the accelerating fashion cycle drove Mayle to shut her doors — not faltering sales. Mayle became a favorite with celebrities and editors for its beautiful magpie aesthetic clothes and unconventional fashion path, relaying on word of mouth rather than runway shows. Mayle didn’t say what her next move would be, but British-born designer did hint.
Where: Mayle Sample Sale, 242 Elizabeth Street, (between Prince and Houston streets); 212-625-040, from 11 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday (April 24-25, 2009).