The scene at Loehmann’s on a Thursday afternoon in early January was both grim and hyper-charged. I was one of a few dozen women who’d been drawn there in a mixture of nostalgia and desperation after the shocking news from the day prior that the chain had declared bankruptcy and would soon be closing its doors forever.
“Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck,” I thought as I ransacked the aisles, which now wore bright yellow signs that said “Up to 70 percent OFF” and “All Stock Must Go.” Though I’d only been introduced to Loehmann’s in my early twenties, it had been the sight of so many victories. A red wool-hooded coat by Escada (Originally $800, bought for $100.) A pair of Narcisco Rodriguez studded black flats. (Suggested retail $425, I paid $75.) A classic Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress with a butterfly print, snagged for $90, down from $350. How would I ever again find a place that so regularly slaked my need for high-end clothing that I really cannot, should not afford but nonetheless can’t live without? Loehmann’s was the undisputed champion of the fashion bargain, and the apotheosis of my own personal designer aspirations.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the email,” one woman said in the dressing room, to no one in particular. “It really is the end of an era.”
Another woman shook her head. “And I just renewed my gold membership last month, too.”
We were crushed.