Shopping is a form of North American meditation. Fulfillment from full pocketbooks gone empty might seem unnerving to some, but nothing gives me inner peace like a new pair of shoes. The buddha that blesses my very soul goes by the name Nicolas Ghesquiere.... better known as the man behind Balenciaga. But in these recessionary times, I'm just busy praying I can afford to re-sole last year's shoes. Needless to say I was jumping my stilettoed feet with excitement when I heard that not so long ago Balenciaga opened an outlet shop at Woodbury Commons. For the uninitiated, Woodbury Commons is much like Mecca to the shopaholic sectarians, a designer discount shopping haven located just north of New York City. My day of reckoning had come and I enlisted the help of one of my fave partners in commerce crime, Amanda Lepore, to join me on my pilgrimage.
We had big plans, us two, starting with a slumber party the night before so we could get an early start on our all-day shopping adventure and still make it back in time for an 8 p.m. yoga class. Of course, our slumber party featured less slumber and more two grown women behaving like teenagers and making footwear wish-lists.
While WC's website claims it's an hour's drive north of Manhattan, it actually took what felt like half a day's schlep. We finally arrived to what looked like a Bavarian mountain village filled with tourists. We walked along landscaped boulevards with antiqued street lamps designed to make you feel like you're in small town USA, but the names on each storefront quickly remind us that we were about to spend a whole lot of money... Chanel, Dior, Prada, Cavalli, Valentino, Versace, Fendi, Gucci, Pucci, but no Fiorucci, from A to Z to Y.S.L., and everything in between. With 220 stores to navigate, us two intrepid explorers grabbed a map of the grounds and came up with a plan. We figured we should start with the things we NEED. Wolford first, cause our long nails lead to constant tears in tights, and then La Perla because a girl should always be wearing pretty panties... one never knows who you might meet!
Proud of our "practicality," we then jetted directly to Balenciaga to blow our pocketbooks. If it that wasn't enough to make us smile, it was also conveniently located near the YSL shop. When I say, "I do Pilati," I'm referring to Stefano, not the exercise. The truth is that some of the sales are no better then the end of season ones at their respective stores, but instead of having to run around all over the city they're all there for you, conveniently located side by side. La Perla panties are going to be expensive no matter how you look at it and only half the tights were truly on sale, but the ones that were, were a fantastic 50 percent off. While not everything is at the bargain prices we were hoping for, in between there are still certain items that are slashed beyond belief. I walked away with a $2,600 Versace bag for $700, supple Italian leather at made-in-Taiwan prices! Woodbury Commons is much like being in a relationship. The less expectations you have the happier it will make it you. They weren't the Balenciaga shoes we were dreaming of, but are still spiked and sexy, and at around $300 down from $900, there's nothing to complain about. Like Crosby Stills Nash and Young said, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one your with!" With goody bags full of things we never knew we needed, we realized that from start to finish the trip was a full 10 hour day. Exhausted, we never quite made it to yoga. That's all right, we had already meditated enough for one day and had found a little inner peace.... Namaste.