Celebrities, Freebies and (Maybe) Some Shopping: A Look at Fashion’s Night Out

September 7, 2012  |  

Last night, the world celebrated shopping. It was Fashion’s Night Out, the evening that fashionistas of all levels can head out into the streets of cities around the globe and expect to see celebrities, get free booze, stand in line for stuff and maybe even buy a thing or two.

FNO (as all the cool kids call it) started in 2009, after the economic collapse led to a drop in sales for clothing and accessories. At that time, Vogue editor Anna Wintour wanted to spur spending. Now, it serves more as an exercise in audience participation for the much more exclusive Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. And thousands of people surely did come out, clogging the streets and packing the stores.

Along 34th Street in Manhattan, signs invited people in to shops to celebrate. But it was when you got to Herald Square that the party really started. We walked past a stage with loud music (but minimal dancing) on the way into Macy’s, which had events on seemingly every floor.

At 7:30, fashion designer and Project Runway judge Michael Kors was meant to make an appearance, but at that time, the MC was still announcing names for people that, as best we can tell, had won some sort of raffle. Note: The photo above was taken at Kors’ East Side shop, not at Macy’s. We never actually got to see him, though we did take a look at his line of shoes. We asked a woman standing in line whether she was waiting to meet the designer.

“I think so,” she responded. So theoretically, she could’ve just been standing in line for her health. But whatever. Everyone was just happy to be there.

It should also be noted that people, some in large groups, were strutting about the second floor dressed like they were heading to the club to pop bottles in the VIP section. Or wait behind the velvet rope in the hopes of getting to the VIP section. One or the other.

High off of the many squirts of perfume that were fired my way as I left Macy’s, I thought it would be a good idea to head over to a Target pop-up store in the Meatpacking District, which featured the five special collections available this fall. After zipping through the line to get in (Hugo Boss, Diane von Furstenberg and other high-end shops in the neighborhood had lines that were at a standstill), I waited in line to get into the Kirna Zabete shop to look at the women’s fashions, which were very nice, though I couldn’t find my size. All around were people grabbing free bottles of soda, moving to the music (FNO is a big night for DJs, who were spinning everywhere) and chattering blissfully. Over at Odin, the men’s shop, things were much more calm.

“It was packed before,” a salesman told me. “That’s because men know how to shop. They get in and get out.”

Interestingly, the one place where there wasn’t a line was at the cash registers (see right), where we only saw a couple of people actually making a purchase. I was told on the way in that there was a limit of five items per customer, but it looks like there was a lot more cola consumption than actual purchasing.

Also interesting, at least to me, I did manage to get a couple of things from H&M, which offered 30 percent off of the item of your choice, special for FNO. There has always been the question of whether FNO is more for window shopping, freebies and celeb spotting than actual sales, but, according to reporting by Reuters, the organizers of the event declare it a repeated success.

“Data from NYC & Company found that two thirds of stores who participated in 2011 and responded to their survey said store traffic increased as a result of the night,” the article says.

“What happens is there’s a big bump in the stores the following week or 10 days after that. People go and they see … and then they go back to the stores and buy what they want the next day,” the story quotes George Fertitta, head of NYC & Company, the New York’s marketing and tourism group.

Click here for more celebrity images from the New York Daily News. And visit our friends at Styleblazer for additional coverage of Fashion’s Night Out.

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