Target is hoping its Red’s lounge at The Park at Moynihan Station, bowing next week, strikes a chord with the fashion industry and beyond. The piano bar, a partnership with IMG, will be unveiled with an invitation-only event on Tuesday for influencers, fashion executives and designers, and celebrities such as Emily Ratajkowski, Kendall Jenner and Joan Smalls.
The event will feature musical direction by Paul Shaffer and sing-along performances by Queen Latifah, Rufus Wainwright, Matthew Morrison and Spencer Ludwig. Target said there will be other artists belting out numbers and tickling the ivories.
From Thursday through Saturday the venue will be open to the public — a place for fashion industry members and fashion fans to get a little TLC, have a nibble and, perhaps, a nosh. The three-day experience will also feature interactive entertainment such as live-streamed runway shows and amenities such as charging stations.
“New York Fashion Week is changing really quickly,” said Rick Gomez, senior vice president of marketing at Target. “We think it will continue to be incredibly important to the industry, but it’s becoming more inclusive and about the consumer. We’re a brand that provides access. In previous years, we might have done only a private event. This year, in addition to a private event, we’re opening Red’s lounge to the public.”
Red’s will be a convivial piano bar with a slight louche element. Target said Red’s was inspired by Marie’s Crisis in Greenwich Village, which was a prostitute’s den when it opened in the 1850s. The Café Carlyle, where the late Bobby Short warbled for years, and the Manhattan Inn in Brooklyn also provided fodder for Red’s.
The custom-built piano lounge, which will be erected on West 33rd Street between Eight and Ninth Avenues, will operate between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily.
“Tuesday will be a good, old-fashioned sing-along with a very modern twist,” Gomez said. “We’ll have a modern grand piano with celebrities We’re bringing together fashion and music and doing it in a really joyous way. Fashion week can be too serious.” Style is one of Target’s key categories and the retailer has been amplifying its fashion with new collections.
Gomez said Tuesday night’s event is “coming together fast and furious. In addition to performers, there will be a really eclectic group of colorful celebrities that reflect our brand, which is a colorful brand.”
Mark Shapiro, chief content officer at WME/IMG, said the company is working to tap into “the cadre of talent we have and those are across music sports, art and culinary. We have a significant bench of talent who are also fans of fashion who would be up for a fun activation.”
WME/IMG wanted to work with Target because the retailer “has demonstrated that they know how to capture the consumer with their in-store experience,” Shapiro said. “We thought a partnership would translate similar emotions to our footprint. Frankly, Target’s cool again with their innovation of fashion and style. They’re going to make some noise and bring some entertainment to the fashion week experience.”
Opening the fashion-music mash-up to consumers makes sense given the See Now, Buy Now customer-centric approach many brands and designers are taking.
“Any consumer today is thirsty for unique experiences,” Shapiro said, adding that Red’s will be a “bit of a seek and search mission. You’ll want to see who’s there and join the crowd and take a little break from the shows. It will be a very immersive experience.”