All the Buzz From Fashion’s Night Out

Third time’s a charm. The hottest designers, celebrities and insiders gathered in New York and Los Angeles, where consumers enjoyed some major retail therapy for the third annual Fashion’s Night Out. Here, Footwear News makes the rounds alongside the fashion industry and its fans.

Midtown got a major dose of star power when fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker arrived at the Manolo Blahnik store on 54th Street. A line of about 150 fans waited outside the door, while brand President George Malkemus greeted consumers inside, right alongside SJP, who was signing autographs and showcasing her shoe collaboration (a reinvention of the Carolyne style). Malkemus said he had already seen 250 people and the night was just getting started. To add to the excitement, Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley also chatted with guests, while staying true to his signature style, dressed in a red robe.

Meanwhile on Madison Avenue, Ugg was hosting a cocktail party equipped with a DJ and a photo booth. Bally also had a similar scene, with champagne readily available for consumers.

Just down the street, at Stuart Weitzman, the designer was mingling with his new pals and guest collaborators Hayden Panettiere and Michelle Trachtenberg. “They’re creative and they have talent,” said Weitzman. “The Hayden bootie is [selling] out.” The designer also was excited to talk about his new store opening on Fifth Avenue this month. And when asked if he anticipated a crowd all night, he replied, “[Customers] don’t want to go home, they keep bringing out the food,” he said as he grabbed a cup of gelato.

Meanwhile, the Fratelli Rossetti store focused on what the brand does best: making shoes. In the window, a woman demonstrated how uppers are sewn, and inside, a man polished finished styles. The brand’s managing director, Diego Rossetti, said, “[Fashion’s Night Out] is a good way to show people how we do things. For us, it’s more important to explain who we are.”

Also on Madison Avenue, Natasha Bedingfield performed at the Ann Taylor store and model Jessica Stam partied at Roger Vivier. But Giuseppe Zanotti drew quite the crowd with Angela Simmons and June Ambrose (who was filming for a yet-to-be-named fashion reality show). Although Zanotti seemed most to be looking forward to mingling with Nicki Minaj. “I love her,” he said, in between signing photos for fans and even the arm of one guest. Minaj arrived about 10 minutes later, along with swarms of bodyguards and photographers.

But Zanotti’s crowd had some competition across the street, at Dolce & Gabbana, where pop stars Justin Bieber and Usher greeted crazed fans at the store. And a few doors down, the Reed Krakoff team was chatting with Katie Couric, who admitted to scoring a photo with the Biebs.

At the W hotel in Times Square, George Esquivel joined friend and fellow designer Juan Carlos Obando in a pop-up bazaar. Esquivel was selling gold laceups for women from his resort collection and made-for-the-event black laceups for men. “We’ve actually sold quite a few,” said the designer. “I am sometimes so far removed from the public, I don’t know if anyone is going to show up.” But those who did attend included singer Ciara and the Vogue fashion set, thanks to the event’s co-host, Ivan Shaw, director of photography for the magazine.

And at Payless on Lexington Avenue, Christian Siriano was decked out in Dior shoes and one of his own jackets. Siriano said he’s been busy doing fittings for his Saturday Fashion Week show, but he also emphasized the importance of being present at events like FNO. “A designer needs to be associated with their brand,” he said. “People are so fashion savvy these days that they need a little more to make them want to buy. Being accessible really helps push your product.”

Also on hand at Payless was a Isabel Toledo, with a Yahoo News camera crew clamoring catch her comments. Another recent Payless designer collaborator, Lela Rose, made an appearance later in the evening.

Rockport may not have a New York store, but it left its footprint by partnering with Dylan’s Candy Bar to create a 6-foot heel out of 650 pounds of candy, on display at the treat shop on Lexington Avenue. “Our strategy has been to become a more serious women’s player in the shoe business,” said Dani Tschuemperlin, SVP of product and brand management. “We want to invest in everything that raises our fashion competence, like FNO and stylist Annabel Tollman, (Rockport’s new style ambassador).”  

For candy lovers, there were more shoe creations on display at the store, part of a contest with students of Rhode Island School of Design. “It’s fun,” said Dylan Lauren, about the shoe-candy connection. “It’s a nice collaboration of fashion, art and candy. Anytime you can promote young artists and designers is a cool thing.”

Meanwhile, in the Rockefeller Center area, a big crowd rocked out at Nine West’s Sixth Avenue location, where models sported boots for the brand’s “Runway Relief” breast-cancer initiative and posed for photos with fans. Celebrity guests included Nigel Barker and “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen.

Downtown in Soho, the FNO scene took on a mardi gras-type atmosphere, as party-hopping shoppers crowded the streets and sidewalks, blocking off traffic. The Dash DJ party, featuring Pauly D of “The Jersey Shore” on the turntable, attracted so many people that police had to shut down Spring Street.

But that worked out well for the Frye boutique, just a few doors down. Even around 11 p.m. it still had a line of people outside, waiting to get in. Once inside, they were treated to free cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. “It’s a nostalgia thing,” said Sarah Tarica, daughter of Larry Tarica, who couldn’t make the event due to traffic. “Also, Pabst is a casual beer, and we’re a casual brand — casual but elevated.” And while the younger Tarica said Frye did make some sales, the night was more about brand-building and spreading the word about the new store. “We’ve gained a lot of new customers tonight.”

A few blocks away, John Varvatos’ Bowery location continued its CBGB legacy with a concert by the The Roots and up-and-comer Gary Clark Jr. While a line of lucky customers waited out front, dozens of famous faces mingled inside and in the back alley for a quick smoke. Among the concert-goers were Rose McGowan, Bridget Moynahan, Chace Crawford, Kelly Bensimon and Thomas Jane, who was in New York on a press tour for the upcoming season of “Hung.” The actor, who’s known for wearing Vibram FiveFingers on the red carpet was instead looking sleek in a pair of custom-made Santoni oxfords. “I have a lot of foot problems, so I’m usually barefoot or in specially made shoes.”

Kaitlin Doubleday, the new love interest for Jane’s HBO character, also made the rounds at JV. The blonde beauty, rocking a pair of Dolce Vita pumps, talked about her upcoming role on the show, saying it features “a lot of nudity,” particularly when she beds her well-endowed former teacher. But what do her parents think of the raunchy role? “My dad said he wouldn’t watch his daughter do that.”

“Gossip Girl” Kaylee DeFer, decked out in nude peep-toe Lanvins, was hitting the FNO sights with her handlebar-mustachioed fiancé. When asked why she stopped by the Varvatos bash, DeFer boiled it down to two words: “The Roots.”

And over at Big Drop, Nicky Hilton was showing off her jewelry collection (including colorful statement cocktail rings, which the heiress confessed herself particularly partial to), but she also had shoes on her mind. Sporting a pair of suede black ankle boots by Pierre Hardy, Hilton said she was focused on jewelry for the time being, but didn’t rule out joining sister Paris in the footwear world. “Maybe down the line,” she said. In the meantime, Hilton said she supplements her designer names (lots of Louboutins were in the suitcase for the trip) with big sister’s namesake collection. “The shoes are very her — pink soles, very girly.”

And the California-based Supra team was in a festive mood, too. Standing in the brand’s new-since-July store, VP of global brands and hometown New Yorker Matt Fontana said he was loving the location on Prince Street, right off the Bowery. “We’ve got Ray’s Pizza just down the street, and the New Museum around the corner. It’s just like the evolution of New York,” he said. Fontana said the brand’s entire footwear design team (including head designer Josh Brubaker) had flown in to get their first look at the store and to celebrate FNO, a happening that’s more meaningful to the brand than you might think. “I don’t believe the urban or skate customer really knows and/or cares about Fashion Night’s Out, although you shouldn’t stereotype, some skate guys are fashion-driven people,” he said. “But for us, FNO is hugely important. We’re proud to be part of the manufacturing and production community.”

Via Spiga on Broadway, Jennifer Lamoureux, director of marketing, greeted shoppers. “It’s so exciting to be in the fashion world and right in the center of Soho with all the energy and excitement,” she said. “It’s nice to see people back out shopping and having fun doing it.”

Aldo had some help from The Coveteur founders, designer Erin Kleinberg and stylist Stephanie Mark, who went into the brand’s closet to curate their top picks for FNO, showcased in the windows and in a makeshift closet inside the store. 

At Kenneth Cole’s Broadway store, the designer allotted time for fans to have their picture taken with him. “Tonight is great for New York and the greater fashion community,” said Cole. “It’s great to see so much enthusiasm and energy around what we do in an ordinary course: making, marketing and selling great clothes and accessories.” And at the store, consumers were able to shop to the beat of rock band Parachute, the evening’s guest artists.

Lord & Taylor was footwear central during Fashion’s Night Out.

Sam Edelman made a splash with a rock ’n’ roll theme, complete with a photo booth and temporary “I Love Sam Edelman” tattoos, with roses, hearts and guitars. Edelman told Spy he makes a point of attending events like FNO to get to know his customers. “That’s the most important thing — it creates a tipping point,” he said. “The more you know about the customer, the more you can design for her.” However, he added, there was “no way” he was climbing into the photo booth with admirers because he was too hot.
Libby Edelman was also in attendance, adding personal touches to her ballet flats.

Ugg also personalized purchases with a choice of more than 25 rhinestone designs plus letters, and the crew had already studded six pairs of boots within the first hour of the party.

Ivanka Trump — who was flanked by bodyguards — was posing for photos with consumers who purchased her shoes.

Uptown, at Bergdorf Goodman, Ken Downing was spotted at Bergdorf Goodman goofing around with celebrity stylist Robert Verdi as the latter hosted the “BG Wheel of Fashion.” “I’m here to support my sister store,” said Downing. “It’s like Christmas in September!”

Over at Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street, another celebrity stylist, Rachel Zoe, was literally stopping traffic on the second floor, where she was signing copies of her book, “Style A to Zoe.” Rick Darling, president of LF USA, which is making Zoe’s eponymous fashion line that launched last month, said, “To see the reaction [to the line] is unbelievable. They’ve closed the whole floor because they can’t get more people up here.”

Meanwhile, on the lower level, shoppers went agog for designers Alexander Wang and Alejandro Ingelmo.

Finally, at Saks Fifth Avenue, R&B singer Ne-Yo stopped by for an in-store performance. “This night is going to be crazy, and I’m going to be crazy along with it. Wherever I wind up going, I’m going to have fun and I’m going to look good doing it,” said the Grammy
Award winner, as actress Tilda Swinton, “Glee” stars Lea Michele and Darren Criss, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour circulated through other floors of the store.

Shoppers and fans lined up outside Christian Louboutin’s Horatio Street shop at 5:45 p.m. and lingered for hours later. Inside, Johnny Weir browsed the fall collection in studded leopard slip-ons and batted his custom red-feather Louboutin lashes from the Make Up For Ever lash bar while rubbing elbows with Jennifer Williams, star of VH1’s Basketball Wives show. Customers had their hair styled by the Frederic Fekkai team and took pictures behind an empty frame adorned with Louboutin pumps.

A few blocks away, at Jimmy Choo, Tamara Mellon arrived with daughter Minty and fashion photographer Terry Richardson. The trio posed for pictures inside the store before they were joined by model Bar Rafaeli. Mellon’s 9-year-old daughter was the scene stealer in custom Jimmy Choo leopard ballet flats. Out celebrating her second FNO, she told FN the shoes were favorite pair, beating out her very first Jimmy Choos — blue glitter kitten heels — and red vintage peep-toes from the 1950s. Mother and daughter presented a united fashion front, both wearing denim paired with animal accents — Tamara’s came in the form of the Jimmy Choo Candy clutch with leopard flap.   

Daniel Radcliffe and “How to Succeed in Business” co-star Rose Hemingway schmoozed at Jeffrey, which debuted an exclusive Columbia capsule collection featuring four winter weather pieces and a revamped version of Columbia’s Bugaboot. The boot was updated with premium leather and fabrics and a pop of color to achieve a chic outdoor look.

Thom Browne hosted Brooks Brothers’ soiree with window models and free-flowing champagne before heading over to his own shop. “It’s really nice to see all these people out,” he said. “Hopefully they are shopping.” As for whether the designer was feeling anxious about his upcoming runway show, he quipped, “I was the kid in school who got all my papers done early.”

Rebecca Taylor, on the other hand, was absent from her Gansevoort Street store celebration, working on last-minute preparations for her show today. Nonetheless, guests partied the night away with a live band and DJ.

Diane von Furstenberg pumped up the volume at her Meatpacking store with a performance by Estelle. Selita Ebanks and Corinne Bailey Rae joined the fray, where guests lined up for specialty drinks, cheered Estelle and admired DVF’s new home-goods collection, on view for the first time.

Tinseltown made fashion the star last night at events at malls, shopping centers and independent boutiques across the Southland.

At the Westfield Century City mall, brands such as Sperry Top-Sider, Kenneth Cole and Cole Haan all rolled out the red carpet for the night. Rapper LL Cool J hosted a fashion show in the mall’s courtyard, and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a special appearance to kick off the festivities.

At Bloomingdale’s, designer Dana Davis hosted a cocktail party on the department store’s second floor following an in-store appearance. Among the 100 guests were actresses Alexa Vega and Katie Cleary, who stopped by to visit with Davis.

After the party — and her hectic travel schedule and personal appearances — Davis said she was ready to call it a night. “After this, I’m going to go sleep. It’s been a long, tough week,” she said. But Davis may just be resting up for bigger things to come. While she was mum on the details, the designer said she’s in discussions for three unique collaborations. “All I can say is [they’re] interesting and really different,” she said.

Meanwhile, at the Beverley Center, Nicole Richie and Vogue West Coast editor Lisa Love co-hosted the mall’s FNO fashion show and FNO fete, and the Charles David store was bustling with shoppers and fans of the label eager to snap up the label’s new vegan collection of Charles by Charles David platforms. “It certainly brings the ladies out,” said retail director Joelle Malka.

And Malka’s night was just beginning as she was heading out to a private party on the rooftop of Oscar de la Renta’s Melrose Place store. But when she gets back to work, she’ll have a lot on her plate, as the store is moving to a different location in the mall later this month. Also, the company is reviewing a new branding campaign, including a new icon and logo treatment, as well as a new retail concept that is still under development.

In the heart of Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive was once again transformed into a carnival-themed block party, with 105 individual store events held along the famed shopping thoroughfare.


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