By Kristen Sonntag, SundayArts Producer
On September 8th, for the 3rd year in a row, it’s the city’s biggest party: Fashion’s Night Out. Complimentary champagne and refreshments fuel shoppers as they make their way through the maze of contests, discounts and giveaways. Celebs, designers and stylists make appearances amid book signings, sales of limited-edition items and hair and makeup consultations to a soundtrack of DJs and live music performances.
Last year Christina Ha moderated a lively fashion week wrap-up panel that included esteemed tastemakers Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus and the New Yorker’s Judith Thurman. When asked about their favorite Fashion Week moment, they both agreed it was Fashion’s Night Out.
CFDA CEO Steven Kolb told Paula Zahn in our 2010 Fashion Preview: “People love fashion, they know the clothes they like to wear. This is an opportunity for them to actually meet the designer behind the label on the clothes.”
Although FNO takes place in cities worldwide, the positive-insanity vibe is strictly only-in-New York . If you have the time, it’s definitely worth carving out part of your evening to check out the festivities (just be sure to DVR the SundayArts Fashion Preview at 8 PM, catch the encore on the 11th at noon, or right here on our Website following the 8pm Thursday broadcast.)
Your best bet is to comb through the Fashion’s Night Out website, where you can get the full rundown of the city’s offerings and plan an itinerary. While you may be tempted to splurge on a purchase, it’s really all about the energy, excitement and the experience. Some intriguing collaborations:
• Eyewear label Warby Parker (40 Great Jones St.) celebrates Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday with a performance by Justin Townes Earle from the new tribute album RAVE ON Buddy Holly.
• Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Basset will sit down with Vogue’s Adam Green at the Giorgio Armani boutique (760 Madison Avenue) to discuss their upcoming play “The Mountaintop.”
• The Gagosian Shop (988 Madison Avenue) will feature designs by Cynthia Rowley and Yeohlee Teng (featured in this year’s SundayArts Fashion Preview).
• The Lomography Gallery Store (106 East 23rd St.) presents “From Start to Finish: The Analogue Process of Fashion,” a series of photographs documenting designers’ creative processes.
And you can’t go wrong at any of the city’s department stores for one-stop-FNO’ing. Bergdorf Goodman hosts the 2nd Annual Designer Dog show; Macy’s has Tommy Hilfiger, Sandra Lee, Kelly Rowland, Joss Stone and Bobbi Brown; meet Tilda Swinton, Prabal Gurung, Ne-Yo and Frederic Fekkai at Saks; and Solange Knowles, Candy Pratts Price and Tadashi Shoji all make appearances at Lord & Taylor.
While the frivolity of celebrities and shopping is the last thing on many New Yorkers’ minds, there are charitable aspects to FNO:
• Barney’s will donate 10% of its Madison Avenue flagship store’s sales and 10% of its Barneys.com sales from the entire day and evening to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
• Eileen Fisher will donate 3% of the day’s sales and Bloomingdale’s will donate $5,000 to Women Thrive Worldwide’s campaign, Help Women Feed the World. The nonprofit organization works to help lift women out of poverty in developing countries.
• Proceeds from the FNO collection will go to the New York City AIDS Fund in the Community Trust.