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The Last Stop for Fashion : Designer Labels For Less clearance center's clothes don't 'go anywhere from here.'

August 27, 1993|GERI COOK

For the discerning bargain shopper--the woman who demands huge discounts on great fashions--there's no place quite like the Clearance Center for Designer Labels For Less. The rear of its store in Woodland Hills is loaded with some of the best deals in town for women's apparel.

Nothing on the exterior of the store indicates that the Clearance Center is housed within, but about 5,000 square feet of this 40,000-square-foot emporium is jammed with markdowns from the 25 Designer Labels For Less stores. This is the last stop for the marked-down inventory and, as district manager Kathy Chikato put it, "it doesn't go anywhere from here." They just keep marking it down until it moves out.

Start in the far left-hand corner, where the As Is merchandise is. Here you'll find a small amount of mismatched skirts and jackets.

A gorgeous white Paul Stanley jacket was trimmed in taupe; the skirt, instead of taupe, was black, but the two pieces went well together. The price was $25. Another suit was a size mismatch; for a woman who's a touch top-heavy and can wear a size 12 jacket with a size 8 skirt, a gray wool pin-stripe suit by Jag has her name on it. For this $200 suit, the price is $25.

Move to the center of the room. Close-outs from the Victoria's Secret catalogue filled one rack the day I visited; some lingerie, but mostly casual wear, such as sweat tops for $19 (retail $49), skirts for $12.99 (retail $29). Full-cut wool jersey slacks by Carole Little originally sold for $78, in this final price reduction are $15.

For fall, it's hard to go wrong with a good selection of wool dresses by Bill Blass. Originally, these were $295. Obviously, they didn't sell, so now management is blowing them out at $25. The color combinations are a little offbeat, which is probably why they didn't move in the first place.

For special occasions, there are incredible buys. From Victor Costa, a sparkly cocktail dress that originally sold for $300, then was priced at $129 in the regular Designer Labels For Less inventory, is marked down to $40. A Bill Blass emerald green strapless satin was $25, not the original $420.

You will find other big names on the racks at big reductions: St. Germaine, Tony Lambert, Kasper, Gloria Vanderbilt, Evan-Picone, J. G. Hook, Jones of New York and White on White.

Women devoted to Diane Freis buy two or three of the gossamer two-piece prints at $99.99, instead of the original $325. Some good-looking Anne Klein tops trimmed with paillettes were originally $110; a sharp shopper may not pay that, but how about $15? From Paris, a classic red-and-white check cotton jacket, fully lined, was only $10 (originally $80). Hard to go wrong with deals like this.

Unlike many hot bargain spots, DLFL's Clearance Center has plenty of sparkling clean dressing rooms and restrooms and an alteration department. It's impossible to walk out of here without some fabulous trophy from your bargain-hunting expedition.

As you leave, check out the Lily of France and Christian Dior lingerie, priced at half the original cost. Wonderful.


Location: Designer Labels For Less Clearance Center, 21494 Victory Blvd., Woodland Hills.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa.

Call: (818) 888-1891.

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