By and  on May 10, 2007

NEW YORK — If demand exceeding supply is a measure of success, then Barneys New York scored on Wednesday with the launch of Kate Moss' Topshop collection.

But Barneys may have underestimated the demand, ordering only 10 of each of the two most sought-after styles, a limited edition long black gown for $575 and limited edition "barbed wire" dress for $475. The retailer purchased a total of 11,000 items from the line for its Madison Avenue flagship here and 14 Co-op locations.

Gillian Haynes, a self-described "fashionista," swept onto the seventh floor of the Madison Avenue unit on Wednesday brandishing a newspaper. "Gone," said a saleswoman when Haynes showed her a picture of Moss wearing the barbed wire dress to an event on Tuesday evening.

"I waited for months," said Haynes. "I'm really disappointed. Everything's gone." When told the store ordered very few of the dresses, she said, "They ordered only 10 dresses? For New York City? For Barneys?" Haynes consoled herself with a black one-shoulder gown but worried about the U.K. sizing. Sales associates told shoppers the line ran small.

Barneys estimated that 200 to 300 people were waiting for the store to open on Wednesday morning, with the line wrapping around the building from Madison Avenue to 61th Street near Fifth Avenue.

"Kate's everlasting allure is part of the draw," said Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director. "There's a huge following for her."

That much was evident when the doors to the store opened at 10 a.m. Barneys employees tried to usher consumers to the elevators in small groups, but they ran into the store. On the seventh floor, the frenzy associated with capsule collections ensued. Shoppers ripped clothes off mannequins, grabbed items from racks and out of the hands of sales associates, and even tore head shots of the model from displays. Four Moss-dressed mannequins suspended from the ceiling of the eighth floor were momentarily lowered so customers could remove the clothes. At 10:30 most of the merchandise was gone, except for some T-shirts.

"I've been here since 6 this morning," said Meryl Hershkowitz, holding a stack of 20 garments. "They should have limited the number of people entering the store. I'm buying for my daughters. I don't fit into this."

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