KLEINFELD’S ONLINE FLIRTATION: As many as 300 brides have been known to line up outside Kleinfeld for the Chelsea bridal emporium’s semi-annual sample sales, with some women waiting for hours for the chance to nab designer bridal gowns and head pieces at up to 65 percent off. Now, for the first time, Kleinfeld is bringing its sample sale — minus the jostling — online to Gilt.com on Wednesday.
All 150 dresses in the sale — sample sizes and discontinued styles — were photographed at Kleinfeld. “We wanted to capture the spirit of their environment,” said Gilt senior editorial director Tracey Lomrantz Lester. Part of the experience of shopping at Kleinfeld is the seasoned specialists assigned to each bride to help with the process of selecting, fitting and altering a gown. Thanks to “Say Yes to the Dress,” the TLC show filmed at Kleinfeld, the sales associates, who are part therapist and part cheerleader, have become reality TV stars.
While there won’t be one-on-one coaching for the online sample sale, Kleinfeld experts came up with notes and tips about each dress. And because purchasing a wedding gown isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, shoppers will be able to spend some time with the merch before the sale begins. Gilt.com for the first time will preview the entire Kleinfeld haul 24 hours prior to the event. Pnina Tornai, Temperley London, Badgley Mischka, Isaac Mizrahi and Reem Acra will be offered at prices up to 50 percent off. One Pnina Tornai gown — Kleineld’s top-selling brand — will be sold for $19.41 in honor of the year the bridal retailer was founded.
“I’ve always been intrigued by e-commerce and sample sales on e-commerce,” said Mara Urshel, co-owner of Kleinfeld. “When Gilt came up with this idea, we jumped on it. We have brides calling from outside the New York area who can’t come here. This gives them an opportunity to have part of Kleinfeld in Wichita, Kansas.”
Kleinfeld, which has 1,500 samples on hand at any given time, needs to rotate the inventory to make room for new merchandise. “All of our samples are in great shape,” Urshel said. “We send everything to the dry cleaners periodically and have the dresses repaired.”