I finally went to Saks on Friday. I knew things were bad - I live in New York, I work in fashion, I have lawyer friends and retail friends and finance friends, a roommate from Detroit and parents who aren't too far, sorry, weren't too far, from retirement - but seeing Saks in worse shape than Union Square's Trader Joe's on Sunday afternoon was, basically, horrifying. Where YSL bags and Chloe clutches proudly sat are stacks of crumpled $50 cashmere. Rolling racks fill almost every aisle, so stuffed with this season's merchandise that you can't possibly see anything without ripping it from the hanger. Marc by Marc Resort 2009 is already 40% off and I found Alexander McQueen sequined leggings on the floor. Someone wrapped Alaia belts vertically around a pole by the Oscar de la Renta and I spotted the Miu Miu dress Isabeli Fontana wore on last February's runway crumpled in a ball underneath a 50% off buffalo plaid Ralph Lauren coat hanging from one shoulder. And the shoe salon, the shimmering bastion of exotic footwear so recently honored with its own zip code, looks tragic underneath tumbling piles of shoes that used to cost $1000. If you can wade through the Stuart Weitzmans to the scratched up Fendis, Viviers and Balenciagas, good luck finding your size because the defeated sales people are holed up in the middle of the room, the only place with regularly priced shoes and the only area without a single customer. I still couldn't find the handbags anywhere and not a single employee knew what I meant when I said they weren't in their usual home - probably because they're temporary employees, (who by the way are wearing jeans on the floor, which is a sign everyone's pretty much given up). I left, pouting, not even tempted by $200 Prada shoes. I should've skipped the trip altogether so that if, or more likely when, they finally close their doors, I remember the old Saks instead of the outlet version. Because even though I know how important it is to "get it," denial's so much more comfortable.
Why Saks' New Designer Plus Size Department is a Good Thing
Prepare for a Chanel-inspired stampede. This autumn, Saks Fifth Avenue will become the first major US retailer to stock plus-sized clothing from all of its high fashion brands. Goods from Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, and yes, Chanel, will soon be available up to size 14, with some brands extending to size 20. And rather than being segregated into a different section, plus-sized garments will be displayed on the same rails as straight-sized stock on Saks’ high-end third floor. It’s astonishing that something so obvious, lucrative and longed-for could take this long. The plus-size clothing sector is worth $27 billion globally, according to data from New York-based buying firm Global Purchasing Group. That’s partly due to prevailing health trends, but also a result of increasingly arbitrary sizing—the US doesn’t have any clothing size regulations, so a woman who wears a size 8-10 at a mainstream store might find that McQueen thinks she’s a 12 or 14.