New York Fashion Week launched with a call to action by Anna Wintour, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYC & Company: Shop till you drop, and when you drop, get back up and shop some more. The Fashion’s Night Out initiative encouraged more than 700 retailers in New York City, as well as shops in London, Milan, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo, to stay open well past normal closing hours in an effort to seduce customers back into the stores.
This story first appeared in the November 9, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
As expected, the customers came out in droves. “We want all the Milanese, not only insiders, to be proud of the city’s fashion industry,” said Milan Mayor Letizia Moratti.
But with all the celebrity appearances going on, it was hard to tell whether the consumers were there to wield their credit cards or their autograph books. Beautiful people swarmed Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Donatella Versace excited camera phone–wielding fans in Milan and pop singer VV Brown entertained the crowd at Gap/Topshop in London. As London Mayor Boris Johnson noted, “You not only have people who are good with a pair of scissors and with a needle and thread, but fashion impresarios—people who understand how to put on a show.”
In New York, an enthusiastic mob knocked a door off its hinges at Bergdorf Goodman to get a glimpse of the Olsens, who were bartending, and Justin Timberlake caused a frenzy at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Driving up here, every single store had a line outside,” said Camilla Belle, who posed for pictures with Liev Schreiber at the Ralph Lauren store on Madison. “It’s obviously working.”
Elsewhere in the city, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Barbara Walters crooned with Oscar de la Renta at his store; Charlize Theron signed copies of Vogue at Dior; Rihanna swooped in and out of Intermix, and Kate Hudson stopped by Stella McCartney in the Meatpacking District.
When Manolo Blahnik arrived at his 57th Street boutique, he found legions of fans thrusting pieces of paper at him for autographs and snapping photos with their cell phones. “I met a girl whose birthday was today and traveled from miles away for this,” he said. “It was a beautiful thing.”