The Observer positively loathes the yearly shopping-and-style populist event known as Fashion’s Night Out. While we certainly understand this social philanthropic “fashion for everyone” affair championed by Anna Wintour and friends, it absolutely obliterates the little decency that remains in luxury shopping in this city. Yes, we all find the attitudes inside the gilded foyer of Hermès to be a bit frigid, but isn’t it completely understandable that if someone was overseeing the aggressive push of $15,000 ostrich-skin merchandise to a marvelously affluent and demanding clientele day after day that they would develop an extreme snob complex? Besides which, unwelcoming as shops such as Hermès may be, the atmosphere does establish some sense of order and brand image, and people can actually browse and shop in peace.
Order means nothing during the evening of Fashion’s Night Out. Peace? Fuggetaboutit! Instead, posh shopping establishments become laden with breathing and mobile fashion atrocities. These individuals bring an uncouth, boisterous je ne sais quoi to boutiques such as Rebecca Taylor, Brunello Cucinelli, Oscar de la Renta, Alexis Bittar and Rag & Bone. They purchase nothing, spill their drinks frequently, scream, hiss, push and even fight. But occasionally order presides, publicists greet attendees and pleasantries and frivolities are exchanged. Donna Karan’s Stephan Weiss book launch party at her boutique on Madison Avenue was one such example.
The Observer was holed up in the office late, despite fabulous offers of champagne at Carolina Herrera and meet-and-greets with Olympian Alex Morgan at watchmaker Girard-Perregaux uptown. By the time we did escape for fresh air the chaos had commenced. We traipsed delicately to a few events that still lingered. Most memorable was a raucous karaoke competition at Michael Kors where Nina Arianda, Debra Messing and Kate Upton made an appearance. The Observer could only take the sweltering heat and packed crowds so much. Across the way, Calvin Klein Collection hosted a special in-store event with Vogue’s Ms. Wintour, who patiently signed September issues, and Miami Heat NBA Star Dwyane Wade, who stood proudly by his new book, A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball. Newly-crowned fashion week front-row whore/Olympic gold medalist swimmer, Ryan Lochte, also made a splash at the fling. Editors and the “in crowd” mingled with Bryan Adams, Amir Khan, models Liu Wen, Hanne Gaby, Karen Elson and Mathias Lauridsen, and DJ Mia Moretti.
Downtown we trekked next. Soho was out of the question—too crowded, too unruly, t0o cramped. A quick glance at our invites and we elected for Diane von Furstenberg’s Meatpacking shindig with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Upon arrival The Observer regretted ever having set foot outside of the office. Masses teemed the glassy entrance of DvF’s fortress. It had all gone too smooth and we deserved it. Fashion’s Night Out had reared its ugly head. Travesties shoved. With not a publicist in sight to assist with swift entry, we rolled up our sleeves, promptly cut the line and frantically waved a business card at a bouncer. Ushered inside, we wanted to know what all the fuss was about?
In the end, it was better to sip and dance at Richard Chai’s afterparty at Catch with an intimate set of revelers. Once the bar ran dry, we bailed. We traveled through the hordes creeping and stumbling sloppily on the Meatpacking cobblestones to the New Museum where Supra unveiled its Royal shoe collection. More Ryan Lochte and vodka—wowee!
Au revoir until next year, Fashion’s Night in Hell.
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