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Cathy Horyn: Fashion's Night Out Has Lost Its Purpose

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/19/2011 3:38 pm Updated: 10/19/2011 5:12 am

Well least this time we don't feel so bad for the victim.

Cathy Horyn has issued another takedown, this time of Fashion's Night Out. The New York Times fashion critic penned a blog post entitled "It’s a Street Party (or Fashion’s Night Out)," commenting on the big fashion event's irrelevance:

F.N.O. was a good idea when it began, back in the depths of the recession when stores were virtually empty. But now it’s become a party, an institutionalized kickoff to Fashion Week, and though it apparently raises money for some causes, I have to believe that the costs of security, crowd control and entertainment, not to mention the traffic headaches, outweigh the actual benefits.

Horyn argues that Fashion's Night Out's original intention -- to boost consumer spending and excitement about shopping during the depth of the Recession -- simply no longer applies. The financial outlook for many major stores is quite good, from luxury shops like Barneys and Saks to mass retailers like The Limited.

We've seen it with our own eyes: Fashion's Night Out is truly a spectacle that require tons of coordination, which likely costs lots of money, as Horyn argues. And it's also true that the ailing retailers no longer need a boost from Anna Wintour and her band of merry shoppers.

But Fashion's Night Out, we think, has come to serve another purpose, namely the one that Horyn assigns it: it's a street party. It's the fashion industry's street party, an accessible Fashion Week for designer-hungry consumers and celeb-starved voyeurs. Fashion's Night Out gets them inside stores they wouldn't go into otherwise and it gives designers a reason to connect with the fans they would never otherwise meet.

So maybe Cathy won't show up for the big event. Fine by us -- one less body to push past in the mad rush to see Alexander Wang at his store's talent show. Count us in.

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