Retail Therapy: Alison Brod

February 3, 2010 by Lila Delilah

Alison Brod, started the public relations firm of the same name 13 years ago and represents some of the largest names in fashion, like Jill Stuart, Oscar Blandi, Guerlain, Liz Lange and Kooba. Her professional success can be attributed to the fact that her clients represent the brands that Alison loves.

Alison’s shopping (and business) philosophy is one that is quite simple: more, is more. One is never enough, two is sufficient but more is better. Her addiction spans from Pucci prints– which punctuate almost every wall of her office– to vintage jewelry. Shoes, handbags, furs and one shoulder dresses are just a few of the passions that have motivated this five star shopper.

Take two and tell us what you think.

What’s your most prized “deal?”

A chubby sapphire and diamond ring purchased on a good month at the Sotheby’s Fine Jewels auction. More expensive than the pair of shoes that would have made me happy, but so much better priced than the similar stones I saw on Fifth Avenue. Sometimes you may spend 50 or 60 times more than you wanted to in a normal day, but it will be worth it.

Also, Pologeorgis for furs – don’t hate me fur people, but I had a designer coat made at wholesale and used a tip that my mother gave me: have it lined with zippers. Now, I can zipper off layers and have a 3-in-1 jacket.

Biggest regret that you didn’t purchase?

When the dollar was decent I found a ream colored Suhali Fabuleaux Louis Vuitton bag–Louis Vuitton’s answer to the Birkin. I already had the black and thought it was too much to have the cream. Now it is almost twice the price at close to $5000. I also found a baby blue Hermes clutch in a random Hermes outpost at the Java airport. These are two times that I didn’t cave into my weakness, which is…

What’s your biggest weakness?

When the opportunity strikes to buy more than one of something, I can’t resist. Hard to find pumps show up at Barneys in two colors…I take two. Extra soft cashmere sweater in slightly different shades of pink? Two, in case something happens to the first. And maybe a third to leave in the Hamptons.

A look in my closet unearths few actual styles of shoes, but each one in a rainbow of colors. You may find seven colors of my favorite one shoulder dress that bought in one shot. That’s not counting the one that the one that the designer made especially for me in another leftover fabric, but you get it. It’s less decadence than fear of never finding anything that fits as well again.

This season you are looking for…

Emilio Pucci chairs, magenta platforms from YSL that will hopefully end up on a sale site as they are gone from stores, nude platforms because they elongate your legs, a vintage tortoise Chanel belt (eBay is the best place) and a great deal on photography for my Hamptons house.

What’s your number one shopping tip?

It’s not the Russian Cold War rations, you don’t need to buy the first thing you see when shopping for your seasonal wardrobe. Read the magazines, go to every store, survey and try on everything. When you’re done go back to select your favorites. But always ask salespeople to hold anything you are serious about. You aren’t the only one who wears a size eight and wants the YSL Tribute camel platforms or Chloe nude cork wedges.

Also, I wanted a discount on a dress last season, and because I am so accustomed to receiving discounts, I called the brand and asked about their wholesale minimum buy. I ended up going to the showroom and buying 11 dresses (again, multiples) just to save a few hundred dollars. In the end, they never even produced the one I wanted in the first place. Moral is – don’t overspend or buy more than you need to save a just little bit.

One more — I have taken too long to purchase items that I loved. I waited for a sale on a floral Balenciaga skirt and a black crocheted Chanel bag only to find the items gone. When this happens and the obsession sets in, trawl ebay and the hot vintage stores such as Decades Two. I found BOTH of those coveted items for a fraction of the price a season later. What’s better is that both brand new.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?

I want to say no, but that is so bad for retail. I pay full price when I want to have something first. I want it before it is knocked off, which can take about a month these days. Being first gives me the edge to be a little unique for a short time and the extra money is worth it.


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