We've all seen (and hoped to receive) those tight floral arrangements that are the style of the moment -- the ones that make deli daisies look leggy and wan by comparison. With many designers' prices starting at $75 (including delivery), few of us actually order these for friends (as usual, corporate gifts are another story). If you covet the look, and are prepared to forgo that Takashimaya label, know that small sizes are just as nice. Find a small shop that will make them, and pay a lot less.
Wild Poppy will, for as little as $35. You get a teeny metallic-finish pot stuffed with seasonal stems. For fall, it might include decorative kale, roses, tweetia, and amaranthus. Delivery is $5-$10. For $40, East Village floral designer Elizabeth Ryan fills four-inch-tall terra-cotta pots with unusual mixes of bright flowers and berries. She uses top-quality blooms, but the results have sweet, homespun freshness. This time of year, small arrangements are likely to contain dahlias, anemones, sweet pea, and branches of tiny berries. Delivery is $10.
Bois de la Vie is for those who like flowers looser and more country than Madison Avenue. Arrangements start at $35, often with baby fruits as well as flowers in baskets or simple plastic vases (with raffia trim on request). Dahlias, gerber daisies, and lilies are favorite ingredients. Delivery is $5 to $10.
For occasions when a single small arrangement won't do, try Chelsea Wholesale Flower Market for blooms from California, France, Holland, and Thailand at the lowest rates around (unless you can convince flower-district wholesalers to do a little cash-and-carry on the sly). Bring your own vases and, for $10 each, the staff will arrange stems you purchase by the bunch.
Wild Poppy, 265 E. 78th St. (212-717-5757); Elizabeth Ryan, 411 E. 9th St. (212-995-1111); Bois de la Vie, 949 Columbus Ave., near 106th St. (212-932-2919); Chelsea Wholesale Flower Market, 75 Ninth Ave., near 15th St. (212-620-7500).
Picks of the Week
Max Mara and Marina Rinaldi clothes are half price at the sample sale, from $89 to $929. Sizes 4-16. Parsons School of Design, 560 Seventh Ave., at 40th St. (212-741-2660); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Thurs. 9-6:30, Fri. till 5; 11/15-11/19.
TSE Cashmere for men, women, kids, and the home is 50 to 75 percent off, from $50 for a tank to $800 for a coat. Chelsea Market, 425 W. 15th St. (for info, call 212-319-8284); A.E., M.C., V.; Wed.-Sat. 11-6:30, Sun. noon-4; 11/17-11/21.
Staff USA has men's and women's Martin Margiela, Costume National, Clements Ribeiro, and Bella Freud at half price ($25-$500). 495 Broadway, near Broome St., eighth floor (212-925-9700); A.E., M.C., V.; Thurs.- Sat. 11-7; 11/18-11/20.
Tufi Duek's bright urban basics (pictured) are about 60 percent off, from $45 for pants to $250 for a leather jacket. Sizes 2-10. 530 Broadway,
near Spring St., tenth floor (212-925-8277); A.E., M.C., V; Wed.-Fri. 10-6; 11/17-11/19.
Tardini's accessories (that sell at stores like Saks) are at least half off at the sale. Bags are $120-$300 in leather, $700-$2,500 in alligator. Small stuff is $80-$200. 12 W. 57th St., Suite 1005 (212-664-1965); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-6; 11/15-11/19.
Beth Bowley's sweet knits, plaids, and pretty silk party dresses are more than half off. Dresses are $50-$100, skirts and knits are $25-$70. 611 Broadway, near Bleecker St., Suite 828 (212-674-2664); cash only; Fri. noon-8, Sat. 11-5; 11/19-11/20.