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Rachel Zoe’s stall at the 14th annual open-air, celebrity-filled, preppy-souk known as ‘Super Saturday’ in Watermill was already surrounded by a thick scrum of bargain hunters by 12:01 on Saturday afternoon.


This story first appeared in the August 2, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Volunteers manning the stalls (participants included Donna Karan, Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, Elie Tahari, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Jill Stuart, Jimmy Choo and an LVMH beauty bar, among others) seemed weary by 12:30, a mere half hour after the charity shopping event commenced. Rumor had it that when the event’s doors opened at noon, women sprinted across the open field in their wedge-heel sandals and lacy caftans, angling to get the best wares first — sometimes at the risk of the safety of other patrons. “Watch for elbows,” one volunteer offered conspiratorially, “I just saw one lady get clotheslined over by Donna Karan’s table.”


Surveying her picked-through clothing rails, Zoe expressed disbelief in her now-famous L.A. monotone, muttering, “God! We’re almost cleaned out.”


The celebrity stylist fingered the brass clasp of a hardware-heavy Moschino fall coat (marked down to $1,200) and incredulously raised her eyebrows at a pair of new assistants (whom she assured would feature heavily in the upcoming season of her television show, ‘The Rachel Zoe Project’), saying, “We have like, nothing left. It’s great.”


The red carpet was thick with photographers who shouted and jostled for stars like Christy Turlington, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, Kelly Ripa, Katie Lee and Beth Ostrosky-Stern.


It wasn’t always this way, designers Dennis Basso and Shoshanna Gruss confided. “Remember?” Basso laughed, “It was a whole other world compared to this.”


“This is my thirteenth year at Super Saturday,” Gruss explained. “I’ve done it every year but one. It was really like a garage sale in the first few years. Card tables in one person’s backyard and everyone brought a few things. Random things. Now we set stuff aside for this seven months in advance.”


“It’s grown in every sense,” Basso concluded, spreading his arms wide to encircle the miles of stalls, the miniature carnival (including roller coasters for children), multiple food trucks and the San Ambroeus catered cafe. “The merchandise, the attendance, the space. And spreading awareness for the cause, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, it’s just so inspiring. But one word of advice: Be careful. These ladies do not mess around.”


Alina Cho was similarly taken aback by the mile-long bar and riotous mélee of shoppers. “This is my first year,” Cho laughed, “I don’t know where to start, but honey, this is the way to shop.”

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