City Pulse

By Lauren Baccus

The task of explaining the retail jackpot that is “Lucky Shops” to a non-shopper is much like trying to rationalize the comeback of the legging…you just don’t do it. For some, paying for the opportunity to shop may indicate the beginnings of some sort of incurable madness. Among the more fashion savvy, however, we recognize “Lucky Shops”, a two day event coordinated by Lucky Magazine, as that rare chance to completely immerse ourselves in our favorite (and sometimes new favorite) brands, most selling at up to 70% off the retail price. Add to that equation complimentary drinks, music worthy of a VIP loft party, and the best darn goodie bag in town and you’ve practically got yourself a bargain.

Apparently, we at Beauty News weren’t the only ones in the city with a keen shopping sense. Knowing a good thing when they find it, shoppers flocked to the Wednesday night Pre-Sale Party at Gotham Hall, joined by fashion know-it-alls such as Uli of Project Runway fame and stylist to the stars, June Ambrose, to enjoy the best that Lucky had to offer.

And just proving that great shoppers can also be great givers, proceeds of all purchases at “Lucky Shops” went towards this year’s charity partner, Baby Buggy, a non-profit organization dedicated towards helping New York’s needy families. See! We really DO shop smart in these parts.

More Here

For a full listing of vendors, check out www.luckyshops.com

Further information on Baby Buggy can also be found at www.babybuggy.org

International Dermal Institute’s first ever “Savvy Shopper Meets Skin Care” event. To register, visit www.dermalogica.com/DermaConsumerClass or email rsvp@dermalogica.com

Kudos for Kamali
By Lauren Baccus

Anyone who can wrangle cozy grey jersey into high fashion deserves a special note of praise. The fact that Norma Kamali has gone one step further and made life even more manageable by creating a line of travel friendly cosmetics, however, is enough to make her a permanent fixture in the hearts of every woman.

A peek into her Upper West Side shop reveals not only a collection heavy on the gold foil and jersey, but also an extensive wellness and beauty line, with an emphasis on natural and organic ingredients. In addition to airline approved travel kits of face cream, self tanner, soaps and even teas, Kamali has created a veritable cosmetic and gourmet buffet for every craving of the mind, body and spirit. Floral tones of rose, violet, lavender, and jasmin punctuate the line of beauty products and even provide inspiration behind her “Lovely Bubbly” soft drinks and syrups.

The store with the flapping neon colored flags has become the hot spot for wellness, relaxation and a low stress travel season. After all, some of the best gifts we can give ourself are the ones that keep us healthy, happy and well.

For more information about the Norma Kamali Wellness line and for information about the store, contact:
11 West 56 Street (Between 5th and 6th)
212-957-9797
www.normakamalicollection.com
www.normakamaliwellness.com

C’mon Baby, Let’s Go To Vegas

Welcome to the Jungle: Shopping and Surviving Century 21
By Gillian Weeks

It’s just like the Prada store!! Or not.

There is something about Century 21 that’s a little bit medieval. To pass these gates – or rather, automatic doors – is to undertake a holy mission, complete with trials, quests, and the worst gauntlet this side of the Crusades. The hope is that you’ll emerge clutching the grail of retail, but you might not even emerge at all. When it comes to Century 21, foolish is the woman who combs the racks without fear.

Below are a few suggestions to assist you, my loyal and devoted readers, in navigating the superstore. Use it as a loose guide: how to spot the gems, dodge ferocious employees, and maintain your virtue in the dressing rooms. It’s time to mount up and charge the discount fortress.

NEON GREEN! NO!

1) Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
I had the misfortune of stopping by Century 21 on a Saturday afternoon. Picture the cast of Night of the Living Dead, but better smelling and a lot lighter on their feet. Men, women, and children lurched down the aisles and between the racks, groping for bargains and jostling for space. They wouldn’t have seen me unless I had a price tag dangling from my bottom lip. Remember to stay on your toes and keep moving. If you must reach for an item, do it quick. This is the height of drive-by shopping.

2) The wheat and the fugly, fugly chaff.
Century 21 really brings out the patriot in me. Because I believe that Century 21 is America. Where else can you find a neon green angora shrug hanging next to a Prada boustier? Or vinyl knee high boots next to suede Mary Janes? The fact that such disparate fabrics can coexist recalls the great American melting pot – in this case, a highly flammable, potentially toxic melting pot. It’s a beautiful thing.

But just in case you prefer segregation when it comes to your shopping experience, here are the key spots to hit. Check out the denim section: there are looks from the top manufacturers, including Joe’s, Citizens of Humanity, True Religion, and Imitation of Christ. A lot of C21’s formal and semiformal dresses are also pretty cutting-edge (think Carolina Herrera and a little Dolce), and though many of them still might break the bank, they are at huge discounts from the original prices. I managed to pick up a very tasteful grey wrap dress from their professional clothing section, which was mercifully less jumbled than the rest of the women’s department.

3) Live Nude Girls!
If you ask me, I think the female body is totally underexposed in this day and age. There’s so much pressure on young women to keep covered up. I’m tired of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Tara Reid always pushing their clothed form in our faces, themselves an altar to sins of modesty and ladylike good taste.

Thank God Century 21 is doing its part to reverse that unfortunate trend. The dressing room stalls provide all the privacy of a bunk bed at sleep-away camp. From a distance, the curtain might cover up the crucial elements of your anatomy, but you don’t get a distance. You get inches. It’s best to keep your eyes glued to your reflection if you want to avoid booby-overload. And, I’d recommend not wearing a thong.

Foot Odor

4) Man-up.
As by now you can imagine, Century 21 is not for the faint of heart. Don’t wander in seeking retail therapy. These discounts come at a price – namely, your sanity. When you hold its cement faà§ade in your steely gaze, ask yourself if you’re shopper enough to enter. If you feel less Lancelot than Lambchop, head uptown to Madison Avenue. I hear it’s a lot more Enlightenment.

Century 21 is located at 22 Cortlandt Street between Broadway and Church Street.

Originally published November 2006
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