It’s an time-honored New York tradition.
Once a year, well dressed New Yorkers (AKA everyone) line up (im)patiently in front of Barneys New York. When the doors are finally flung open each morning, the well-heeled crowd is instantly transformed into a mob starving fashion cannibals. Women clad in $1,200 8″ pumps desperately claw their way through unmarked cardboard boxes filled to the brim with impossibly discounted Puci scarfs. They sharply elbow their friends and strangers alike as they yank hungrily at the arms of cashmere sweaters (prices slashed to $200). Small groups of immaculately groomed men will periodically explode into Fight Club-esque brawls, the victor bloodily limping to the checkout with the lone 40R Armani Purple Label Suit tucked triumphantly under his arm.
These scenes, and many more considerably more desperate, transpire for days-on-end in the sub-basement of Barneys’ Chelsea store. Ugly florescent lights barely illuminate the racks of designer clothes, haphazardly strewn about the basement floor. A few hastily drawn cardboard signs provide little help navigating the dark, cramped space.
It’s the annual Barneys New York Warehouse Sale, transpiring just like God intended.
Which is why the inaugural visit to San Francisco is so unsettling! Following is a play-by-play about what the SF organizers did wrong:
1. Let’s start with the location: A pier in the Fort Mason Center, on the water, with the sound of sea gulls gently cawing. I mean COME ON! That’s not going to help stir people into a manic frenzy!
2. The size: Just way too big! Too much open space!
3. There’s too much light!
4. WAY too much organization!!! Not only are the racks arranged neatly by designer, but they’re also sub-divided by size!?!?!
5. And, because it’s San Francisco, people are nice, it’s not very crowded and no fights have broken out. Is nothing sacred!?!?!
Barneys New York Warehouse Sale runs through August 9th.