Those skimpy halter tops and breezy skirts you're craving for spring aren't cheap -- and figured by the square inch, the prices can be downright appalling. But with a little practice, you (or your neighborhood tailor) can whip up these simple shapes for just a few dollars. All you need is an idea and a snazzy swatch of material. For inspiration, we asked eveningwear designer Anand Jon -- the master of simple evening shapes created from pricey embroidered fabric -- to tune us in to the inexpensive sources he scavenged in his student days at Parsons.
Jon leads us to the fabric stores that dot Broadway just below Canal Street. "They're called jobbers," he explains. "They buy designers' leftover fabric and sell it way below wholesale." He likes them best for cotton, velvet, and brocade fabrics, generally steering clear of lace and wool, which often look cheap. At P&S Fabrics, floor-to-ceiling racks are crammed with fabric sold by the yard. Jon approves several blue-toned brocades ("Beautiful for pillows," gushes his sister Sanjana), a fine blue cotton ($3), and a red taffeta ($3). Silky white satin ($4) is a real find -- "I just bought some for $12 a yard," Jon sighs. "Feel it!"
At Long Island Fabric we find loads of budget muslin for minimalists
or pattern-makers ($2), sheer black jersey for sexy tops -- "the same quality we use," says Jon ($4) -- and a surprise score: a coarse, disco-ish gold fabric ($8). ("Tom Ford would love this," Jon jokes, draping it around his leg.) Pick it up for yourself -- but don't count on seeing it on Jon's runways: "I can't buy from these guys," he explains. "I have to deliver to the stores exactly the same fabrics I show on the runway -- and what you see here one day, you never see again."
P&S Fabrics Corp., 355 Broadway, near Leonard St. (212-226-1534); Long Island Fabric, 406 Broadway, near Canal St. (212-925-4488).
Picks of the Week
Beyond the Bosphorus is taking 40 percent off all kilim rugs. Small styles are $35-$168, runners are $240-$960, and large rugs are $1,080-$1,800. Pillows are $25-$175. 79 Sullivan St. (212-219-8257); A.E., M.C., V.; Tues.-Sun. noon-7; 1/21-2/21.
Bond 07's sale has hip downtown duds from Fake London, Cashmere Studio, Anna Sui, and Uniform at 50 to 75 percent off, from $15-$300. Bags are $20-$150, jewelry is $10-$100. 7 Bond St. (212-677-0336); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 11-7, Sun. noon-7; 1/17-1/21.
Maison Decor's floor samples of upholstered furniture, window treatments, and accessories are up to half off, from $46 for a lamp to $2,260 for a chenille sofa. Selected fabrics are on sale, too. 1094 Madison Ave., at 82nd St. (212-744-7079); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Thurs. till 7; 1/17-2/26.
Pratesi is taking half off select top-end linens: "Pioggia" sheet sets are $785-$830; "Botticelli" towel sets are $330; waffle-weave blankets are $375-$450. 829 Madison Ave., at 69th St. (212-288-2315); A.E., M.C., V., checks; Mon.-Sat. 10-6; 1/17-1/31.
Martin's sexy, vintage-inspired clothes (at stores like Hedra Prue) are half off at the sample sale, from $20 for peasant tops to $150 for velvet jackets. 206 E. 6th St. (212-358-0011); cash only; Tues.-Thurs. 5-9; 1/18-1/20.
Always a Deal
Good news for those who are fascinated by any newfangled beauty treatment: Completely Bare is offering New York readers half off the first session of any of its high-tech, surprisingly effective services, including a surgery-free "face-lift," micro-dermabrasion, and Epilight permanent hair removal (all are usually $150 and up per session). But beware: You may need several sessions for best results. Mention New York when booking. 764 Madison Ave., near 66th St., Suite 3R (212-717-9300).