I can't stay away from my sample sale addiction. So when I made a trip to California this holiday weekend I made plans to check out the west coast's offerings. These sample sales happen once a month when three buildings in the fashion district of LA open some of their showrooms to the public.
Having access to so many sample sales in NY, I have become a designer snob. When I saw the list of designers participating in the sample sales, I did not have high hopes of buying anything.
Out of all three buildings, the Cooper Design Center looked the most promising. I felt like a lone wolf entering the building. Women with their canvas/nylon bags come in packs of 3+ to scope out the showrooms. A billboard full of flyers are displayed by the three elevators. I decided to take the stairs.
The first showroom I stopped in was on the third floor. There were 3 brands together Private Party, Samantha Wills, and Wonderland. I took the stairs to the next floor. Lots of showrooms had signs saying closed. I never heard of Stillwater but this showroom was busy with women grabbing dresses off the racks. FYI there are no fitting rooms in any of the showrooms. Women were stripping down to their underwear right by the entrance and the doors are glass so the entire floor can see them.
Another showroom had one-off shoes and handbags. I was taking pictures and the woman working there snidely asked me why I was taking them and told me the brands represented do not allow me to take photos. Anyway, the merchandise there was old fashioned-grandma style.
I took the stairs to the next floor. I found the Halston Heritage showroom by accident. I didn't intend to go to their sale. I was trying to find a different showroom, got lost and ended in front of the mobbed looking showroom. There was a huddle at the entrance because that's where the samples were. This is one sample sale that never happens in NY. I was very impressed with the selection and pricing. Stock Floor length gowns were $60; cocktail dresses were only $40! Damaged apparel was $20 and damaged clutches were only $10-$15!
I went to check out the Parker sample sale expecting it to be on par with their NYC sample sale. The sale was on the fifth floor and was being held in the same showroom as Cali dreaming, and Townsend. I walked in the showroom and girls were parading around in bathing suits and asking for opinions. I don't even want to know how they tried it on with no fitting room. There was a sign on the door to ask for the Parker pieces. I decided not to waste my time asking and that showroom was another bust.
I went to check out the Ella Moss showroom. They were sharing a space with Loma and Whetherly. Ella Moss had two racks of apparel. I'm sure their NYC sample sale taking place next week will be better! I ended up getting two cashmere hats from Loma. Most of the showrooms are cash only. I deliberately went to an ATM in NY and withdrew cash for these sample sales. Imagine my horror when I'm about to pay and realize I didn't take my stash with me! The representative from Loma directed me to my bank which is located inside the California Market Center which was right across the street.
The California Market Center is another building with showrooms. These showrooms felt outdated-fashion at least 10 years old. I went to one floor and felt I was wasting my time so hurried across the street to pay for my beanies!
If your ever in California, these buildings open most of their showrooms to the public the last weekend of the month. A big smooch to D for the tips!