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May 8, 2009 6:50 PM

Fashion

Manolo Blahnik Madness

Girls gone wild. Women behaving badly. Both descriptions neatly sum up the insanity that was the twice-yearly Manolo Blahnik press sale last Wednesday morning. Upon my 7 a.m. arrival (the sale started at 9 a.m.), a waiting room at...

Girls gone wild.

Women behaving badly.

Both descriptions neatly sum up the insanity that was the twice-yearly Manolo Blahnik press sale last Wednesday morning.

Upon my 7 a.m. arrival (the sale started at 9 a.m.), a waiting room at the Warwick Hotel had about 45 eager yet calm hopefuls awaiting the key to the castle (a lettered ticket passed out in order of arrival by two unflappable public relations women). The closer to the start time the sale got, the more packed -- and less civil -- the room became.

There was the prospective shopper who nearly trampled a visibly pregnant woman in her haste to get to the front of the line; the sharp-faced brunette who informed people at the drop of a hat she had been there since 4:30 a.m., and the dishwater blonde who kept telling the new arrivals to "go to the back of the room! That's where you belong! We've been here since 6 a.m.!" These people were mixed in with those trying to pretend they were on the list and getting rude when their tactic didn't work.

Many attendees seemed crazed -- all decorum lost -- by the prospect of buying $700 shoes for $100 (where prices started for plain pumps, going up to $500 for over-the-knee snake boots.) One group of four women swept the contents of the size 38.5 table onto the floor and threatened bodily harm to anyone who touched their pile; a fashion assistant in a "Flashdance"-inspired sweatshirt (1986 called -- they want their shirt back) loudly disparaged my hot-pink Lilly Pulitzer dress to her companions, and André Leon Talley surveyed the room with a bemused expression right around the time a fistfight nearly broke out between two women from Long Island over a pair of black stilettos.

When I started to feel light-headed in the overheated room, I figured it was my cue to head back to the office with my haul (evening sandals in gold and silver and pumps in navy, beige and pink.)

Will I eagerly await the chance to do all of this again at the next sale? Absolutely.
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