By  on August 17, 2009

Considering its snowballing support, New York City’s Fashion’s Night Out could turn out to be one monumental shop-till-you-drop party.

At the latest count, 700 stores across the five boroughs are participating by staying open until 11 p.m., recruiting designers, models and celebrities, and staging rock performances, Broadway acts, cook-ins, fashion exhibits, makeovers, style seminars and even sewing lessons. Twelve countries also are staging their versions of the event, but New York is taking the lead.

“Little did I think, when the idea of Fashion’s Night Out was first dreamed up this past March during the Paris collections, that we would have over 700-and-counting retailers, designers and brands joining us,” said Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. “There is so much planned that we could shop till dawn and still not see and do everything.”

“Fashion’s Night Out is that rare opportunity to meet the person behind the label,” said Steven Kolb, CFDA executive director.

The Sept. 10 event — created by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company, the City of New York and Vogue — is geared to celebrate fashion, spur the economy and help consumers feel less guilt about shopping during the recession.

A new Web site,, lists everything that’s in store for the night so people can choose where to go based on their favorite designer or brand. There are also daily updates on Fashion’s Night Out’s Facebook page and Twitter.

Fashion’s Night Out, considered the city’s largest-ever retail event, supports charity. Forty percent of the proceeds from a Fashion’s Night Out T-shirt will support The September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center. TheNYC AIDS fund will benefit from a clothing drive Sept. 10 to 12 sponsored by IMG at various retail and public locations.

The list of personal appearances includes Manolo Blahnik, Thom Browne, Tory Burch, Roberto Cavalli, Francisco Costa, Frédéric Fekkai, Alberta Ferretti, Patricia Field, Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, Derek Lam, Nanette Lepore, Trish McEvoy, Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Mulleavy, Josie Natori, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Oscar de la Renta, Narciso Rodriguez, Lela Rose, Rachel Roy, Maria Sharapova, Elie Tahari, Diane von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang, Yeohlee, David Yurman, Lauren Bush, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Cindy Crawford, Lynda Carter, Hugh Jackman, Karolina Kurkova, Liev Schreiber, Stephanie Seymour and Ivanka Trump.

Wintour; Michael Kors; Macy’s chairman, president and chief executive Terry Lundgren, and a surprise celebrity will kick off the evening at Macy’s in the Queens Center at 5 p.m. There will be a Vogue boutique showcasing trends, a performance by the cast of “Hair,” and Wintour and Kors will sign Fashion’s Night Out T-shirts for the first 50 customers.

American Express is creating a Fashion’s Night Out map highlighting the 700 retailers and savings for card holders at stores and restaurants. Payless is providing four Gray Line double-decker buses to shuttle consumers through Midtown and downtown, and Aveda’s Experience Center at Fifth Avenue and West 19th Street will provide pedicabs within a 15-block radius south of the store.

Barneys New York is hosting several designers while Wool and the Gang will teach knitting; Lipstick Queen Poppy King will do “lip-readings”; Loomstate will be customizing T-shirts, and Juan Carlos Obando will be giving salsa lessons. Bergdorf Goodman will have Zac Posen painting in the windows; designers Peter Som and Cynthia Rowley appearing at a cook-off and André Leon Talley hosting a fashion game with teams led by Donna Karan, Linda Fargo and Robert Verdi.

Bloomingdale’s is giving free 40 Carrots yogurt with purchases and providing live music, free beauty treatments and a Madame Tussauds exhibit, while Lord & Taylor will have hunks from the 2010 NYC Firefighters Calendar signing autographs.

Matisyahu, the Hasidic reggae rapper, will perform at the Kenneth Cole store in Rockefeller Center, and Cole has created a limited edition, eco-friendly Pledge Allegiance to the Bag tote as part of a campaign to “remind consumers that it is OK to shop again,” said Cole. “There is a pervasive sense at the moment that shopping for nonessential consumer goods is indulgent, frivolous and questionably appropriate. The fact is consuming is what we do and it is what keeps the economic engine going and continues to allow each of us to express ourselves individually.”

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