with contributions from WWD Staff
 on September 12, 2011
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Asia kicked off its Fashion’s Night Out festivities this weekend as shoppers flocked to stores in New Delhi and Shanghai.

The entry road to New Delhi’s Emporio mall was jammed Saturday night as young people, designers and socialites made their way to the party. Several of the shop managers said the event increased the number of footfall in stores by as much as 50 percent and estimated that sales were up more than 20 percent from normal weekends.

Many of the mall’s stores featured lucky draws, gifts with purchases and discounts. Free glasses of champagne and wine helped boost traffic.

Giorgio Armani’s well stocked bar and open doors drew a crowd while some other stores, including Tom Ford, appeared relatively quiet. Gucci launched two “India Exclusive” clutches in gold Guccissima leather at the event.

Indian designer Abhishek Gupta made 12 limited-edition outfits made exclusively for FNO. Fellow designer Ashish Soni offered hour-long style sessions to those who spent at least 25,000 rupees, or $527, in his store.

“It’s important to declare that we take FNO seriously, while having fun with it,”
said designer Suneet Varma.

Shanghai was buzzing on Sunday night but it was unclear just how much of that had to do with the city holding its first edition of Fashion’s Night Out. The weekend coincided with the mid-autumn festival, three-day holidays during which numerous stores traditionally stay open late, offering various promotions and discounts.

“I have never heard of it [FNO],” said one salesperson for Japanese cosmetic brand called Astalift, which had a booth right next to a Christian Dior make-up display where Chinese celebrities visited with much media fanfare to try on the brand’s latest products, including a new eyeliner. Passersby stopped to gawk at the celebs but said they had no idea what was going on.

The last two editions of China’s Fashion’s Night Out were held in Beijing but the action moved to Shanghai this year and organizers said it might stay in Shanghai permanently.

Consumers turned out en masse to buy on the city’s glitzy shopping street Huai Hai Lu, toting shopping bags mainly from brands, including Uniqlo and H&M, which debuted a new eco-friendly collection and gave away free scarves to those who spent over 200 yuan, or about $30. H&M had an artist from a local design school making a copy of an impressionist painting by Swedish artist Anders Zorn whose work is one of the main inspirations for the prints featured in the brand’s new “Conscious” eco-friendly collection, which will be available in select global stores in Oct. 6. 

The evening kicked off with a red carpet inside the Shanghai Times Square shopping center, which is home to a number of luxury brands, including Coach, Ferragamo, Gucci and Versace. Chinese celebrities, including actress Fan Bingbing, turned up to promote the shopping frenzy. A domestic band called The Super VC, the Chinese equivalent of Interpol combined with the Strokes, performed outside the shopping center for an opening ceremony. 

Buses shuttled Chinese media around to stores for photo-ops with domestic celebs who tried on clothing from exclusive collections ranging from Coach to the Gap. Dozens of fans gathered outside a Max Mara boutique while Lin Peng, an actress, tried on coats from the brand’s fall/winter 2011 collection.

The night wrapped up with an after-party at Xintiandi, a high-end shopping center just off of Huai Hai Lu. For the week prior to the Shanghai FNO, Xintiandi featured an exhibition featuring designs from ten of China’s top designers, including Liao Xiaoling of the brand Content as well as Uma Wang.

Fashion’s Night Out will make the rounds elsewhere in Asia over the coming weeks, hitting Taipei on Sept. 17 and Seoul on Sept. 24. Tokyo will hold an especially big bash this year on Nov. 5, with all of the Vogue editions’ top editors, including Anna Wintour, Franca Sozzani, Emmanuelle Alt and Alexandra Shulman, expected to attend.

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