I was busy all day Monday, so when I received the Lyell closing email, I pencilled in a visit for Tuesday afternoon before acupuncture. I contacted Caroline and agreed to meet her in the store at 4 p.m. Given the email's promise of new stock to come, I figured I was probably a little premature, but I wanted to see what had come in and find out more about reductions, stock and sizing. Refinery29's store displays the Lyell inventory so I checked for sizes and pricing. Full runs seemed available although pries weren't adjusted online so I was confident I'd find what I wanted. Top of my list was the Bonnie Parker sweater I mentioned a month or two ago; second was the tulip skirt in size 10. Skirts are actually tough and two of my favorites are from Lyell: a box pleat silk mini from SS 2007 (I liked it so much, I bought a second one at their spring 2008 sample sale) and the gathered purple wool skirt from last fall. The tulip skirt seemed like a new favorite staple from the first moment I saw it. The idea of new dresses, as yet unseen and reduced tempted me, as did the possibility of getting a bag. I'd heard about the shoes that were coming in and they were also on my list. I didn't do the math or think about what this would cost--probably close to what I had spent at the Mayle sample sale a year ago, a sum I had not intended to spend on clothes this spring.
There are times when I realize that I'm being a little naive: this is NYC and any idea, quirk or plan you might have, no matter how seemingly original, is shared by a few hundred other like minded people. Or maybe just fifty like minded shoppers. In a city of eight million plus, this is indeed a tiny percentage, but when there is a small store with very limited stock, it makes a big difference. Most people I know have never heard of Lyell and would think I was insane to spend that much on an item, even on sale. Still when I got to Lyell at a shade before 4 on Tuesday, I found a pretty empty store--a couple of shelves of sweaters and tiny, diaphanous bras, camisoles and scarves, one rack of vintage (not on sale) and one small rack of clothes. Most of the items featured in the early Spring 2010 lookbook (which wasn't published in book form or even a postcard) were present, but sizes were limited. A few other new arrivals were featured, mainly silk camisoles (which may be pretty but they aren't something I've felt the need to wear for at least 5-6 years), swimsuits (or possibly bodysuits) and a pair of purple suede scalloped shorts--again, not for me, although I can see why these could sell in a season of leather shorts. After all, Emma's shorts do have a strong following. Absent? The tulip skirt. I asked about it, and the lovely sales assistant found one size 8 remaining. I asked if they had bags but those had also sold out. Evidently the store had been mobbed all day Monday and Tuesday morning and lunchtime. Basically, this was one party where I arrived a little too late. Furthermore, the promise of new stock was effectively no more. One blouse will be coming in later in the week and that's that--no shoes, no dresses, nothing. I suppose they were able to cancel orders.
Amongst the new items were cardigans in blue and fuschia--I tried the blue. I also tried on the black silk knit dress--the last Lyell frock ever. I also tried on the Bonnie Parker sweater in L (although a M would probably have been better, there was only a L left) and the tulip skirt. As usual, Lyell's sizing was far from consistent--the size 8 skirt was more of a 4 and barely fastened. It looked obscenely bad but I would have loved it had it fitted (beautifully cut, lovely fabric). The knit dress was perfect--the slightest puff at the top of the sleeve and the scalloped edges at the bottom, just below the elbow, were my favorite features. I don't really need another simple black dress but I'd always wanted a Lyell knit or crocheted dress and they always sold fast. The fabric (a silk/wool mix) was lovely so I splurged. I also got the Bonnie Parker sweater which was slightly misshaped in the shoulders from being on a hanger (which upset me as I don't think this will come out). A M would perhaps have been better but given the size fluctuations, it may have been worse. But the sweater was pretty, worked well enough and was so soft, so that went in the bag too. I passed on the cardigan because I couldn't spend more and would prefer to get the shirt that's coming in--if I get anything else at all. Here are lookbook photos of my finds--I will try to take photos and post them this weekend as the dress is actually better styled without the belt.
Caroline already owned the Bonnie Parker sweater and got the black knitted dress and some fine knit leggings with scalloped bottoms, decorated with small gold dots. They looked so great together on her and indeed were styled together in the lookbook.
Still plentiful were the sleeveless stripe sweater, the cardigans, shorts, the knit dress (only in the L and P), camisoles, underwear, leggings, and shorts. A beautiful taupe suede/leather jacket with hand painted silk lining seemed to be around $595, possibly less, but I know I'd ruin it.
I may go back in again a couple of times before the shop closes--I think it's at the end of the month--but this is probably my big splurge. The few available styles speak to the limited scope of Emma's production so if only 75-150 NY shoppers can't resist, most of the stock will be gone in a week. I suspect the camis and underwear may be all that's left at the end.
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