Charlize Theron at Dior in New York was one of the bigger celebrities at Fashion’s Night Out on Thursday, but she was only one of the many stars, designers — and shoppers — making the rounds. From Beijing to Berlin, Milan to New York, the retail and fashion industry did its bit to spur consumer spending.
This story first appeared in the September 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Here, some observations from those who took part in the night:
“I don’t know why I always go for a sports analogy, but this is a win-win.” As for that other notable sporting news in town — Derek Jeter’s pursuit of Lou Gehrig, “In the age when so many of them get help, he’s the golden child, the ambassador of clean baseball.”
— Justin Timberlake at Saks
“I was just here at Saks looking for some things from my own line that I wanted to buy and they were sold out. I have to start making sure I order things for myself. I am shopping — isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”
— Donna Karan
“I wish I had my grandmother’s handwriting. Mine is chicken scratch.”
— Aerin Lauder, signing boxes of Private Collection Jasmine White Moss at Saks
“I’ve always loved magic, so I thought mixing it with fashion would be fun.”
— Carolina Herrera at Saks
“To all the girls who buy my clothes…I hope after Bette hears Barbara and I [singing] she’ll ask us to be her opening act in Vegas.”
— Oscar de la Renta, about Bette Midler and Barbara Walters
“I can’t believe the energy in here!”
— Josie Natori at Saks
“This is so full of life. I am happy for Carine and Anna, who organized this event, because people are enjoying themselves. It was such a good idea.”
— Karl Lagerfeld about Carine Roitfeld and Anna Wintour
“Ha Ha! It’s 6 p.m. Ask me tomorrow. [I] think everyone will get back together after collections to evaluate and talk about doing it again.”
— Anna Wintour
“We sold out more than half of the inventory and already raised over $200,000 for the 9/11 Memorial Fund.”
— Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chief executive officer
“Driving up here, every single store had a line outside. It’s obviously working.”
— Camilla Belle at Ralph Lauren
“I’m having so much fun I almost forgot I am having a show in two days.”
— Alexander Wang at Barneys New York
“It’s a cool excuse to shop. There’s some stuff I want but I’m stuck here working.”
— Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler at Barneys
“We’re the party bus. We’re like a bachelorette party.”
— Bonnie Morrison at Alexander McQueen
“They gave me a shirt to wear tonight and the price tag was four digits so I’m taking it home, putting it back in the bag and never wearing it again. It’s too much pressure.”
— Rosie O’Donnell at Armani
“It’s great that this is happening at the same time in all these cities around the world. But the weather here in Paris is wonderful!”
— Jean Paul Gaultier
“I think my secret sales weapons are my Scottish accent, flirting and alcohol — alcohol is always involved.”
— Jonathan Saunders at Browns in London
“It’s going to be mental. I did all my shopping yesterday, though — I’m going to be working tonight, I don’t think I’ll have time for shopping.”
— Daisy Lowe, model
“I’m a black belt shopper and I’ve been known to shop in the craziest of circumstances. I’m going on three stops [tonight] so I might have to put on a wig and sneak away to buy something.”
— Michael Kors
“There’s so much partying I don’t know how much business we’ll do. But it’s about building excitement…and celebrating.”
— Diane von Furstenberg
“I know I should probably be in my design room getting my collection finished, but I would so much rather be doing this, helping people with what’s in store now. It’s like a dream come true for me — really, it is,” said Donna Karan, after helping customers sort through the newest items at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship. “I was just here at Saks looking for some things from my own line that I wanted to buy and they were sold out. I have to start making sure I order things for myself.”
“This is good for the city,” Justin Timberlake said from the relative calm of the SFA bridal salon where he met with reporters as an excited throng gathered just outside the door. “I don’t know why I always go for a sports analogy, but this is a win-win — although I hate to say that.” In keeping with his chosen motif, Timberlake was asked which night was better for the city, Fashion’s Night Out or Wednesday, when Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig’s Yankees hit record. “In the age when so many of them get help, he’s the golden child, the ambassador of clean baseball,” Timberlake said.
“Today is my 24th wedding anniversary, but I had to be a part of this,” said Bobbi Brown. “The whole city is buzzing with this. Anna did a great job. The store’s so crowded I can barely see my new counter.” After her early-evening appearance, she planned to “trade my 5-inch wedges for my Prada loafers and have dinner with my husband.”
Click to see more pictures from across the city>>
“I’ve heard Calvin Klein leather bomber jackets are flying off the shelves at Macy’s, accessories are doing great at Bendel’s…and so [people] are buying,” said Anna Wintour. Asked if she has found anything on her “to-buy” list yet, she said: “I’m way behind schedule.” Anything catch her eye at Macy’s? “I saw some great red pieces when I was here this morning to check out our [pop-up] boutique.”
Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman and chief executive officer, on doing FNO next year: “We don’t know. I just want to get through tonight. It’s definitely a logistical challenge. Not a logistical nightmare. But it really took a lot of work. We’re selling a lot of T-shirts, so we know people are here for Fashion’s Night Out.” Later, Lundgren said, “We sold out more than half of the inventory and already raised over $200,000 for the 9-11 Memorial Fund.”
On Macy’s second floor, a crowd had gathered to see Rachel Rachel Roy models taking turns on the makeshift runway. Lundgren arrived with Rachel Roy. “I just wanted to tell you quickly what Fashion’s Night Out is all about,” he said. “it’s a night to bring everyone together to try to get this economy moving again. We are one of the largest employers in New York — fashion, that is.”
“I feel very lucky that Macy’s came at the right time,” said Roy. “As a designer of very expensive clothing, it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s fresh ideas and price points people can afford. I don’t compromise on materials because the units are so high.”
After the Macy’s appearance, the designer said she was planning on going to her pop-up store in SoHo for Rachel Rachel Roy where a graffiti artist would be tagging and teaching others how to tag. The artist would also be tagging T-shirts. “Estelle is hosting it with me,” Roy said. “She won’t be performing. She’ll probably be hanging out with Lady Bunny , who will be DJing. There’s also going to be a vintage ice cream truck.”
Michael Kors swept into the store with Debra Messing on his arm and the two were swamped with fans. A bigger crowd was waiting in the fragrance department, where Lundgren presented Kors with a “Macy’s Star,” a take on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“FNO is a fantastic incentive,” Messing said. “Fashion week is so exciting. To include the whole city and remember how good [fashion] makes you feel is great. I’m over the moon to be here with Michael.
Kors said their next stop would be his store in SoHo, where “I’m going to do caricatures.”
Mayor Bloomberg, after the cast of “Hair” performed, said, “The first time I saw ‘Hair’ was in the Sixties. I had a lot more of it then.” He continued, “This is to remember 9/11 and help the 9/11 Memorial Fund and to not stop fighting AIDS.…There are 175,000 fashion workers in our city. New York City has more fashion companies than Paris. We are the fashion capital of the world.”
Michael Kors on ‘Hair’: “The first time I saw the show I was eight years old. It blew my mind.”
“I had the most amazing summer in Israel, but now I’m so excited to be a part of this night,” said Bar Refaeli.
Liev Schreiber, with Eileen Guggenheim, was trying hard not to shop. “I hope to get into enough conversations and interviews so that I don’t get into trouble,” he said. “Part of being an actor is that you always think you’re broke.”
Camilla Belle got into the spirit of the night at Ralph Lauren. “Driving up here, every single store had a line outside,” Belle said. “It’s obviously working.”
Michael Kors said, “I’m a black belt shopper and I’ve been known to shop in the craziest of circumstances. I’m going on three stops [tonight] so I might have to put on a wig and sneak away to buy something. Obviously the man in black is always collecting new black pieces and I have been known to buy Michael Kors at full price in a store because I get the rush of actually buying it in a store. It’s not the same as ordering it. I did it a few weeks ago, actually, so you never know when I’ll walk by and say, ‘I’ll take it. I want it.’”
Roopal Patel launched a limited edition palette of lip, eye and cheek colors with Le Métier de Beauté at Bergdorf Goodman based on what she saw as fall’s big trends. “First my inspiration was road warrior, all the leather and grommets done by Rodarte and YSL, among others,” Patel said. “Then neon, those highlighter colors at Narciso and Kors, and then what I call ‘girls just wanna have fun,’ for the girls who go out.”
Patel added that the experience was educational because “I know shoes, I know bags, I know clothes, but I didn’t know [makeup].” She autographed cases of the palette, while shoppers got made up by on-site artists.
On the fifth floor of Bergdorf’s, scores of women were trolling racks and picking up shoes, though few were observed requesting sizes or sales assistance. Prabal Gurung, who showed at 1 p.m. Thursday, was seen walking across the sales floor. He had come from Bloomingdale’s, where his clothes are sold. Asked if he was going to celebrate, he said: “Yes, a quiet dinner with some good friends. I am tired but it’s important to support the industry — give the stores some good energy.”
Also at Bergdorf’s, Alexander Wang made one of three appearances on the fifth floor of the store and was slated to hit Barneys and Opening Ceremony.
“I feel right at home here. They’ve even got some of my furniture,” he said, pointing to the sofa and chair, which were brought in for the corner of the floor that sells his line. While dozens of shoppers snapped cell phone pics of Wang, the designer, who shows on Saturday, admitted to being distracted. “I’m looking forward to going right back to work,” he laughed.
Designers were being kept behind a glass counter, heavily guarded by security, on the main floor of Bergdorf’s while they signed Ts in 10-minute or so increments. Naeem Khan arrived from her cook-off and was signing with Jessie Randall from Loeffler Randall. Every designer who passed through was signing two Fashion’s Night Out Ts on mannequins behind the counter, which a Bergdorf’s spokeswoman said would be auctioned off to benefit the 9/11 fund.
“We work in a kitchen, cooking everyday, so it’s nice to meet with customers to see how the food tastes,” said Elie Tahari after presenting his collection earlier on Thursday and making the rounds for the night at Saks. “But my most challenging thing today had to be getting my eight-year-old son, Jeremey, dressed for his first day of school. That took a lot of energy for sure.”
“It’s like White Nights in Paris — the energy on the streets,” said Brian Reyes, who just arrived at Barneys from Bergdorf’s. His collection shows on Tuesday, but “we planned it into the calendar. Anything to make people excited about fashion, so I am happy to do it.” After Barneys, he was headed back to the studio for more work.
“Generally these nights are opportunities to engage with customers,” said jewelry designer Jamie Wolf at Barneys, who wasn’t looking to necessarily make big sales. “It creates good energy.”
“It’s funny because normally when you go to events there are some people you know, but here, it’s all customers,” said model Doutzen Kroes, who, along with Angela Lindvall, was helping sell ecologically friendly wares on the eighth floor.
“Look, it’s fabulous,” said Howard Sokol at a busy Barneys. “Its a great thing. The spirit of it is great. I’m overwhelmed by all the designers who are here, on every floor.” His proposal: “There should be a national shopping day.”
Manolo Blahnik was mobbed by fans at Barneys who thrust scraps of paper at him for him to sign and made him pose for pictures. “I met a girl whose birthday was today and traveled from miles away for this,” he said. “It was a beautiful thing.”
A line of fans waited to get signed books from Isabel and Ruben Toledo. “It’s great for people to enjoy tonight without even the pressure of buying,” said Isabel. “On the way here I saw all the stores full of people. This is the real beginning of fashion week.”
In Barneys’ men’s store, decidedly more subdued than the women’s side, Thom Browne mingled with his customers before heading downtown to Black Fleece and his own store. “I never get to see my customers, so this is nice,” he said. “I just met a gentleman, a banker, who said he’s been buying my things for years.”
“I had a slight meltdown leaving the venue today knowing how much more we still have to do before the show tomorrow and preparing for all of the festivities tonight,” said Cynthia Rowley.
Raquel Zimmerman, modeling fashions available in the pop-up boutique, said, “I want to work,” and started catwalking down an imaginary runway to entertain the crowd.
Diego Della Valle is showing off his cobbling skills at Tod’s Madison Avenue flagship. “I am the best shoe shiner in the world,” said Della Valle, chairman and president of Tod’s. “The most professional.”
Literally hundreds of people lined up on Greene Street in SoHo to see hip-hop artist Kid Cudi play from his new album for BAPE.
Michelle Monaghan felt the vibe at Calvin Klein in a sequined mini and hoped the energy will continue through fashion week, which could mean “a very long week of shopping,” said the starlet.
“It’s nice being on the streets,” said Bonnie Morrison. “It’s nice seeing people shopping. Nothing’s worse than when you’re the only person in an empty store.”
“I’m shopping everywhere I go,” said David Lipman. “The leopard leggings are for me.”
On Perry Street in The Village, following a multilabel runway show from Teen Vogue and some Barbie giveaways, Taylor Momsen of “Gossip Girl” took the stage with her rock band The Pretty Reckless. The actress, dressed in an oversize white shirt and black lingerie, played guitar and belted out four punky tunes in a surprisingly big, husky voice. “Gotta say thank you to Anna Wintour for putting this together. Fashion’s Night Out. Totally,” she purred. “I want to see you guys move!”
At DVF: “We got the Tracey Anderson DVDs,” said Tully O’Neill, 26, who does promotions for L’Oréal. “She’ll sign then for you.” She and a friend also bought FNO T-shirts. All told, they spent $89.90.
Tommy Hilfiger was hosting a round of musicians at all of his downtown stores. “This was a brilliant idea and I can tell you its actually working,” he said. “It was packed at Macy’s. People are out. People are shopping. They’re excited. I didn’t know how well this would work, but it’s exceeded our expectations. We should do it every year.”
Jason Wu at Kirna Zabête: “I just met a fashion student from Washington, D.C. She bought my (Fashion’s Night out) shirt! What did I buy? I bought Narciso’s book. But mine wasn’t signed. I’ll have to ask him later.”