Cheap Chic: Gilt Groupe
The invitation-only online sample sales run by Gilt Groupe have gotten a major boost in an economy that needs a major booster shot. Launched less than a year ago, the site claims it maintains a "private online community," whether fashion-seekers are invited by existing members or through customer service on the site.
Sample sales are announced via email and generally last 36 hours -- or less, considering prices are 70% off retail. This week alone, I've received messages for sales on Chloé, Derek Lam and Thakoon. (The image above is from today's Marc by Marc Jacobs sale.)
The fledgling startup has recently forged partnerships with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the CFDA. It also appointed last week the former Martha Stewart CEO Susan Lyne in preparation for click-happy recessionistas. The site does civilize the whole sample sale scene -- no Balenciaga tug-of-wars beyond the virtual.