Unless the name of a Karl-caliber designer graces the tag, H&M;'s latest arrivals aren't usually considered breaking news. But for spring, the fast-fashion retailer's house collection is so sweet, it deserves a round of applause all on its own.
As always, the looks are strongly influenced by the runways, and a big part of the spring collection is tribal prints, in the same school as Oscar de la Renta and Diane Von Furstenberg but not in the same price range. A simple brown-and-white tie-dyed dress ($59.90) is strikingly similar to a sleeveless Ports 1961 shift selling for hundreds more.
The same primary colors that flooded Fashion Week now fill H&M; with neon light. An effervescent yellow parka ($69.90) channels Sonia Rykiel. An electric blue dress ($49.90) is a toned-down version of Comme des Garcons. The affordable super merchant even paid homage to its latest golden boy, Roberto Cavalli, with a take on his modern-day hippie: a retro floral apron top ($39.90) and breezy wide-leg trousers ($59.90) beg for free love.
But the standout of this well-rounded collection, which also includes futuristic skirts and cropped trousers (as well as pieces for men in audacious patent leather), are the killer accessories. Versatile printed scarves ($14.90) make perfect accents wrapped around the head, neck or waist and will make smart sarongs once Malibu weather arrives. A bold necklace of faux tiger's-eye and shell ($19.90) will lend even a white tank some oomph.
Spring merchandise continues to arrive in stores weekly.
Barneys New York Warehouse Sale Through Feb. 18: Football's big game is over, but the Super Bowl of shopping is in full force. A vast selection of designer shoes, accessories, apparel and housewares is 50% to 75% off, and competition is fierce. Expect crowds (tip: shop between 10:30 a.m. and noon, or 2 to 4 p.m., to avoid long lines), no dressing rooms (eek), prices that tend to drop as the sale drags on and even the possibility of a love connection (or so the publicist says; wear your sexiest underwear). With names like Louboutin, Margiela and Prada at stake, you may also want to wear a helmet and a cup. Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 777-5700. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. www.barneys.com
Neiman Marcus Consolidation Sale Today: The luxury giant's eyes were a bit bigger than its stomach when it placed orders last season, which means that a glut of leftover goods is now yours for the taking. Prices are marked even lower than the 65% off tags at January's Last Call clearance. Today is the final day of the four-day sale, then it's back to full retail. 9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 550-5900. Noon to 6 p.m. 601 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, (949) 759-1900. Noon to 6 p.m. www.neimanmarcus.com
Sunset Plaza Tent Sale Saturday and Sunday: This exclusive commercial stretch of Sunset Boulevard is better known for the Bentleys that zoom by than for retail bargains. That changes for one weekend when tony stores including Just Cavalli, Badgley Mischa and H. Lorenzo offer their designer wares at discounted prices as part of Sunset Plaza's Semiannual Tent Sale. Not to be missed are the uncomplicatedly cool pieces from the French boutique Zadig & Voltaire. Those who save enough green may enjoy an "Entourage"-style snack at Le Petit Four, assuming that the driver of that Bentley doesn't snag the last table. 8600 block of Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood. (310) 280-3710. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The Address Boutique Continuing: Looking to score some of Lindsay Lohan's castoffs without having to bribe the Cirque Lodge orderly? You're in luck now that her resale shop of choice is having a sale. Natalie Cole and Kim Kardashian are other famous faces who have dropped off their wares, which are now as much as 70% off their standard secondhand prices. Gucci, Prada and Chanel are some of the brands to be found at this event, which also includes racks of $30-and-under merchandise, the same price as a glass of Lindsay's favorite Champagne. 1116 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 394-1406. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Lisa Perry Wednesday: Perry, an aficionado for all things vintage, has collected 1960s wares for 10 years and has the pop-art movement down pat. Now she debuts her spring line of day dresses, pants and tunics in her very own "pop-in" shop at Decades, the line's exclusive Los Angeles purveyor. Bright cocktail dresses and shifts are the highlight of Perry's latest collection, which also includes patent geometric-style bags ($350 to $450). The line is expected to run through two seasons. 8214 1/2 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 655-0223. 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. www.decades inc.com
Alex & Chloe Through March 13: The innovative gallery-style pop-up store New High (M)art has changed up its designer-in-residence. The tiny space is now hosting jewelry mavens Alex & Chloe, the duo best known for mirrored and acrylic creations. Never-before-seen eyewear is available as their latest "Black Diamond" collection of goods. 741 New High St., Los Angeles. (213) 621-7822. Noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. www.newhighmart.com
Little Joe Tuesday: Spending the 1980s on the runways of Calvin Klein, Versace and Ralph Lauren gave Gail Elliot an Ivy League fashion education. Since 2002, the beauty has channeled her expertise into a feminine collection of dresses, tops and knitwear called Little Joe. Luxurious materials are the brand's focus, and this season's "Spring Roses" collection features an abundance of sensual silks. The entire spring line will be on offer. Bristol Room at the Viceroy, 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 260-7500. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.littlejoeny.com