Full chic,half price

All good things,they say,come at a price. And if they come at 70 per cent the original price,no one’s complaining.

Written by Pooja Pillai | Published: July 4, 2009 12:50 am

All good things,they say,come at a price. And if they come at 70 per cent the original price,no one’s complaining. Precisely what makes the Ensemble biannual sale such a success is easy to feel,but difficult to pinpoint —is it the courteous staff or the top quality merchandise,or just the idea that one could own a fabulous Manish Arora frock at one-third its original price?

Ensemble,even during sale-time,resembles more a respectable cathedral than the fish market you would expect at other markdowns. That’s only natural considering that the store is devoted to the worship of high fashion,but that doesn’t mean the average shopper stays away. Standing in the flagship Lion Gate store,one sees a crowd not otherwise seen here. A genteel chaos prevails—customers single-mindedly rummage through the racks in search of the perfect bargain,while sales persons trudge about,helping undecided shoppers make the right purchase.

The sale is one of the most anticipated events on the committed shopper’s calendar. Held once in February and then later in July,when the discounts are bigger,the sale sees a rush not usually seen in high-end boutiques. Moreover,the quality of the clothes is not directly proportional to the prices. Executive Director Tina Tahiliani-Parikh assures,“What makes us unique is that our sale merchandise is edited in the same stringent manner as our full-price merchandise. The quality has to match our standards,and the look of the store must be as visually appealing as any other day. The customer gets to enjoy the same ‘Ensemble’ shopping experience,but at economical prices.”

This assertion is echoed by customer Sana Thakur,“The quality of the clothes on sale and the prices make the sale an experience worth waiting for. This time of the year is especially good as one can stock up on clothes for the festive season which follows shortly.” Brides too make a beeline for the store this time of the year. Nayanika Botejur has come all the way from Dehiwala in Sri Lanka to shop for her daughter’s wedding. As she sits surrounded by sundry relatives and friends,all of whom are busy sorting through the collection,she informs that it was her experience from last year’s sale which convinced her to come back. “I shopped for my daughter’s engagement also here. The collection they have is beautiful and the slashed prices are a huge plus. Besides that,they have a very helpful and knowledgeable staff. It’s a very satisfying experience.”

It’s interesting to note that the idea of being able to purchase a classic Tarun Tahiliani drape at bargain basement prices is still not alluring enough for many canny spenders. While one does see more of a crowd here at sale-time,a lot of them being average shoppers,the real crowd still seems to stay away. Newly married Aparna Gangadhar makes it very clear that for her it’s first the quality,then the price that matters — but never the name. “I can buy a beautiful sari for a wedding at Nalli too. Why would I spend twice the amount I spend there,even if there’s a sale here,just for the label? Besides,it’s not as if I’m ever going to wear such ornate clothes again.”

Value-for-money,it would seem,still means different things to different people.

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