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BARGAINS / GERI COOK

Furs and Such : Resale apparel and leather are also part of the mix in a store that cuts the fat off designer prices.

February 19, 1993|GERI COOK

With the fur business in a decline--partly due to the animal activists and partly due to the economy--Eu gene Winnik, owner of Winnik's Furs & Designer Resale Inc., stretched his entrepreneurial muscles. During his 10 years in business, many of the San Fernando Valley's best-dressed women were bringing their furs to him for cleaning and storage, and Winnik came to know them.

He wondered: If he were to open a designer resale department within his Sherman Oaks fur salon, would this serve as an outlet for his customers' designer clothes as well as bring more customers into his store? Right on both counts, Mr. Winnik. The idea became a reality four months ago.

When I visited this combination fur salon and resale store, the selection of leather apparel was particularly good. A pale gold leather coat--soft, supple and beautiful--was affordable at $79. There was no label, but the buttons read "Leather by Ibarez." Another sensation was a rosy beige skirt suit for $149. These leather pieces were gorgeous and great buys.

Winnik's collection is sprinkled with popular quality labels. A white Alvin Bell suit in size 12 was $125, about one-third the original $440 price. A beige-and-white striped Liz Claiborne car coat was a mere $49, and another Liz--a great-looking sweater--was $19. One unlabeled denim jumper trimmed with gold braid looked brand-new and was $69.

A fabulous red cap with black leather trim for only $59 was destined for a new owner soon. How about a lamb's wool jacket by Gucci for $59, or a wool Albert Nipon suit for $79? Or for the biggest bargain of the day--a silk cocktail dress from Paris that cost much more than $2,000 new was in perfect shape (maybe worn once) and marked $139.

As is usually the case in better resale stores, there are not many items over size 14. But for the smaller sizes, the 6 through 12 crowd, there's a slew of gorgeous bargains.

Winnik's prices on new and used furs seem reasonable. New mink jackets start at $700 and new fox jackets at $500. In resale furs, the mink jackets start at $200, and a used fox jacket can be purchased for $200. One particularly dazzling deal was the result of a divorce. A hardly worn lynx coat that was $18,000 last year is now $8,000.

There's a 50-50 split between Winnik and his consignees, and subsequent visits to Winnik's resale apparel department reveal an ever-increasing inventory. In the fur salon, Winnik takes only a 10% cut.

This newest addition to the San Fernando Valley's resale stores has a lovely ambience, sparkling clean and well-organized merchandise and deals--whether you come in to buy or sell.

WHERE TO SHOP What: Winnik's Furs & Designer Resale Inc. Location: 13900 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover. Call: (818) 788-4261.

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