With a long night ahead, I buckle the last strap on my 5” dove grey, Top Shop heels. It’s an evening of reckoning; it is Fashion’s Night Out (FNO)—an inaugural event. Chaired by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), FNO was launched as a reaction to the rather miserable economy we find ourselves in, endeavouring to promote the fashion industry and improve its financial well-being through such promotion. Across Manhattan, stores are keeping their doors open tonight until 11PM, serving champagne and drawing in crowds with top celebrity clientele and major designers, there to meet, mingle and shop with the masses.
Maybe I am being a bit nostalgic, but in a world where everyone seems to be so inaccessible, FNO seems to give us access to those who we respect and admire oh so very much. It’s like being back in New York City during the era where high profile designers were in their shops and working directly with their customers. A time where you might just bump into Ivanka Trump in her store, or run into Alexander Wang dancing with his models at Barneys.
Exactly how much shopping is being done on this Friday night, and what profits are being made from the extended store hours, I do not know. One thing I can say for sure is, if there is an FNO next year, I will not be missing it.
6:45 PM – Hopped off the W train at 59th and 5th, and rummaged through my over-stuffed vintage bag for a cigarette. Fighting my way through the throngs of well-dressed fashionables, I finally reached my first stop of the evening, the Ivanka Trump Boutique, where the store’s namesake and Wendi Murdoch, host a party to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Trump’s fine jewelry collection. Not a bad first stop on what is already hyped as the best night of Fashion Week.
7:15 PM – The lady of the hour arrives at her party. She is greeted with flash bulbs and video cameras, clients and fans mesmerized by her every move. She expertly handles the crowd, introducing us all to her new yellow gold collection.
Photos by Michael Jurick. Top: Ivanka Trump stands for interview. Bottom Ivanka Trump chats to guest.
7:25 PM – Glass No. 2 of champagne is going down rather smoothly. Ivanka and I chat about clothes, specifically her love of Marchesa and her respect for Georgina Chapman (my former boss!). I tell her about FILLER; she loves the concept and can’t wait to see it.
Photos by Michael Jurik. Top: FILLER’s NY gal, Gabrielle Swan. Bottom: Photo opt with Ivanka Trump.
7:45 PM – Admiring the beautiful people in this alluring setting, I am feeling like FNO is taking us back in time to the fabulousness and glamour that New York City is best known for.
8:15 PM – Say goodbye to Alix Jurick, Ivanka’s go-to-woman (handling everything from PR matters to personal styling), and am off to the next soiréee.
8:30 PM – Cigarette No. 2 waiting outside Barney’s, bursting at the seams with mentionable fashionables and, as inevitably follows, fashionable wannabes.
8:40 PM – Get a “Glamour Cupcake” from the Glamour Magazine cupcake truck (dinner is served!), then push my way through the big glass doors of Barneys into total chaos.
8:45 PM – Shoot straight up to the 7th floor Co-op and am greeted by Hanne Gaby Odiele dancing to electro music in her FNO t-shirt. Stylish and some rather not-so-stylish shoppers push past me to get closer to the man of the hour, Mr. Alexander Wang.
All Photos by Gabrielle Swan. Model Hanne Gaby Odiele and friend out in support of FNO.
9:00 PM – After getting my dance on with Wang, I head downstairs to shoes. Who do I run into? Manika Yujuico, Filipino Socialite (works at Marchesa). She shares her mild shoe obsession … watch out Imelda Marcos!
Top: Designer Alexander Wang visibly having a good time on the dance floor. Bottom: Manika Yujuico and friend say “cheese.”
9:05 PM – Enter into a game of hide and seek with one, Manolo Blahnik. I wanted to snap a shot of him with his delicate patent leather creation and he did not. You can see where this is going …
Manolo Blahnik hides behind one of his designs.
9:08 PM – Continue snapping pictures of Manolo Blahnik posing with fans. Manage to take a picture of a fabulous pair of friends, only to learn it is AESA Jewellery designer Randi Mates.
Top: Manolo Blahnik with guest. Bottom: Randi Mates and friend pose for the camera.
9:15 PM – Book signing with Amanda Brooks, whose new book, I [heart] Your Style, featuring foreward by the talented Diane von Furstenberg, President of the CFDA. I then wander over for a quick chat with Isabel Toledo. We have a funny little conversation about how no one who has worn one of her wedding dresses has ever been divorced. “Pretty good track record!” she boasts.
Top: Amanda Brooks surrounded by the fruits of her labour. Bottom: Isabel Toledo and husband Ruben Toledo enjoying the party.
9:30 PM – Back on the main floor in search of more champagne, I run into my friend jeweler and sometimes actor, Waris Ahluwalia. When asked about his take on FNO he makes an astute observation of the night:
Waris Ahluwalia and stylish friend.
“I think the question on everyone’s mind is, ‘Is anyone really shopping?’ I don’t have the answer to that yet but I do know it [FNO] is a great morale booster. The city is alive and bursting. It actually just felt like a normal night in Rome. People walking around from one block party to another, like one piazza to another. New York City needs more of this kind of love.”
9:45 PM – Still in search of champagne, I head up to floor 3, Men’s department. Menswear designer and artistic director for Dior Homme, Kris Van Assche, is being chatted up by one of my favourites, Michael Macko, Fashion Director of Details Magazine. I squeeze in and snap some photos, afterwards we chat about the success of the night’s events.
Kris Van Assche and Michael Macko looking somber for the camera.
10:00 PM – Am defeated; and must give up on the champagne and decide to pack it in. See some fabulous looking shoppers and snap a quick picture. Out of the corner of my eye I see Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein’s Creative Director, leaving the party. A fan/possible journalist ,steals him aside and gets an autograph on her FNO t-shirt, managing to squeeze in a quick interview. May or may not be eavesdropping…
Top: Exuberant Partygoers. Bottom: Francisco Costa greeted by a fan.
10:30 PM – Head downtown to SoHo. Make new friends with some kids from MTV and end up at the hipster block party of the night/week: the Opening Ceremony Street Party. VW-esque vans line the street covered in Christmas lights; atmosphere is deeper cool-infused with Vampire Weekend working the DJ booth and David Chang’s Momofuku on catering patrol. How hipster chic it all is …
The hipster masses at the Opening Ceremony party.
11:00 PM – Feeling claustrophobic, decide to head down to Balthazar for oysters and wine. The Mulleavy sisters of the handmade Rodarte line are there having a bite with a large group that looks to be their production team. Late night prepping for their show next week me thinks.
Sometime after 2:00 AM – Time to call it a night. Big day tomorrow… Dossier Journal Party at the Tribeca Grand. Stay tuned….