After I booked my flight for some friends’ wedding that took place in New York this past weekend, I was thrilled to learn that my trip would coincide with one of the biggest nights in fashion. To kick off New York Fashion Week, Vogue teamed up with countless retailers, celebs, and designers to host the first ever Fashion’s Night Out – a shopping extravaganza spanning across the world, set to to boost the economy and “make shopping fun again.” From 6 to 11pm, stores hosted rockin’ spending parties with cocktails, DJ’s, and celebrities doing random cool things – Mary Kate and Ashley bartending at Bergdorfs, Oscar de la Renta singing, Philip Lim hosting a trunk show out of an actual van in Soho. No matter how swiftly you moved, there was simply no way to hit it all.
I set out with my two partners in crime, Nicole and Rachel, promptly at 6pm – the start of the night’s festivities. We didn’t know what to expect, but assumed it would be a night filled with long lines, uncooperative weather, and unmanageable crowds. But in true New York fashion, it was guaranteed to be memorable…
6:00 PM – The plan was to meet the girls at Gucci on 5th Ave. I’m the first one there, and I quickly learn that Plan B needs to take effect after seeing the massive lines of girls hoping to get one of the first 200 free Fashion’s Night Out t-shirts. Nevermind Gucci!
The crowds outside Gucci, hoping for free t-shirts.
Tiffany filled the sidewalk with turquoise and class.
6:05 PM – I start heading towards our next stop of choice, Bergdorfs, and tell the girls to meet me there. As I approach, a small crowd starts to form around one of the window displays. Ah yes – it’s Zac Posen in a $400,000 tiara on loan (exclusive detail I overheard from someone from Zac’s camp upon joining the crowd) sweatily painting a blank white garment on a posing model. I stood there for maybe 30 minutes, enthralled with his swift and impressive work. There’s a reason he’s a legend!
Zac doing his thang. Note the tiara.
6:30 PM – I make my way into Bergdorf’s where a lot happens within a few minutes. The place immediately starts to fill and excited fashionistas (and fashionistos) make their way to the drink stations and counters to buy their Fashion’s Night Out tees – a portion of the proceeds go to National September 11th Memorial and Museum. I’m not sure if it’s the charity, the cool PSA, the softness of the fabric, the chic NYC skyline design, or all the buzz leading up to it, but these t-shirts are flying off the racks!
6:40 PM – I grab my first glass of wine of the night, and make my way up the 7 floors to the fine china section where Padma Lakshimi is hosting a cook-off, and then back down to the 5th floor where Alexander Wang and Anna Wintour are posing for a photo op. At this point, the chaos is surprisingly controlled to the point where I almost felt like I was just out for a normal Saturday evening of shopping with my pal Anna Wintour.
One of many bar stations at Bergdorfs.
6:50 PM – The crowds at Bergdorfs have significantly thickened, as the lines start to form for Mary Kate and Ashley’s one-time-only bartending gig, so I decide it’s time to make my exit and meet up with the girls. It’s starting to sprinkle, so we need to choose our next stop fast. Lucky for us, Henri Bendel is calling our names, so we duck in for a sneak peak at MAC’s new Style Black collection. I fall in love with and purchase Baby Goth Girl nail polish and Greasepaint Stick.
Previewing the Style Black collection at MAC Henri Bendel.
7:00 PM – Next stop, flapper party at Juicy Couture. And a party it was. Cocktail waiters in handlebar mustaches, full on 20’s clad women and men doing the Charleston, Vogue editor-at-large Hamish Bowles performing Noel Crawford, and a pink champagne bar amongst the track suits. Juicy co-founder Gela Nash-Taylor was dressed to the nines – please tell me you read the article in the September issue of Vogue about her English countryside home.
At the pink champagne bar at Juicy Couture.
8:50 PM – We make our way to Saks where the adorb taxi ladies are helping shoppers into cabs using the Regine Basha taxi handbags. We walk into the usual normal-day Saks scene, only with rumors of Justin Timberlake on the 8th floor. Meh. Soho is waiting, so we turn right back around and make our exit.
Fab taxi clutch girls, helping people hail cabs.
9:15 PM – The N train is filled with other FNO goers and the downtown vibe is equally as energetic, if not more so. Elie Tahari provides the setting of a marching band performance, and lots of chatty shoppers comparing stories of the nights events thus far.
9:45 PM – Chanel is giving away free manicures with their new light green shade. A DJ is spinning, champagne is flowing, and anyone who’s not relaxing in the seating area is on their feet dancing. I don’t see a single person shopping, but the store makes a great party venue!
10:30 PM – We hop on over to Burberry where the scene has died down, but we had to throw our names in the hat for the trench coat they are giving away. It’s so in the bag!
10:45 PM – With the nights festivities coming to an end, we are famished! It’s starting to rain harder, so we rush on over to my favorite Soho food break spot, Soho Park, where we grab the perfect corner table, order their famous fries, and spend the rest of the night recapping all the fun events of the evening.
Rachel and I, with the only two drinks we paid for that night.
Nicole and I.
From what I saw and experienced, the night seemed like it was a great success. Whether that can be measured by dollars spent, I’m not sure. In most stores we went to, there was a lot of picture taking, celebrity gawking, and champagne sipping… and not a whole lot of shopping. I’m guessing most people were in the same boat – the economy is what it is right now and no “special shopping night” is going to make play money magically appear into our bank accounts. But it certainly did create a lot of buzz and mental Want Lists. At the very least, I’m sure they made a killing off the t-shirts, which helped more than just the economy. FNO certainly managed to make me a happy girl – good friends, free drinks, and fashion. Can’t beat that!