The streets were jam packed on Friday, Sept 10 as New Yorkers hit the town to celebrate Fashion's Night Out, a worldwide shopping event created by Vogue editrix and icon Anna Wintour. The champagne flowed at retailers throughout the city as throngs of people poured in and out of stores to partake in the collective celebration which included not only shopping, but manicures, photo booths, cupcakes, and an array of other treats provided by retailers for their guests. Keeping things upbeat and offering party hoppers a soundtrack to the evening were several performers who highlighted the symbiotic relationship between fashion and music.
Many of the stores hired DJ's who blasted the music so loud it could be heard by passersby, luring them into the store to have a look around. In the Meatpacking District, Hugo Boss blared R&B prior to a performance by Robin Thicke while next door at Stella McCartney, a barber shop quintet made its way out on to the sidewalk to entertain those waking through or waiting in line to get inside. Adding to the chaotic symphony of mish-mashed noises were food trucks who had their radios turned up at full volume.
Meanwhile in SoHo, Grammy nominated sensation Janelle Monae wowed the crowd performing in 360 degree oversized loft windows at Ralph Lauren. Jessica Alba spoke for everyone in attendance, exclaiming, "I love Janelle. I think she's fabulous."
Karen Elson, model-turned singer and wife of Jack White, shared songs from her album The Ghost Who Walks at Balenciaga on 22nd. Uptown at the Plaza, Corrine Bailey Ray sang for an intimate crowd in honor of Douglas Hannant. Just a few blocks away at Bloomingdales, Alexa Ray Joel gave shoppers a double dose of lyrical stylings from her upcoming album All I Can Do , as fans gathered around her platform on the 3rd floor for sound check and then again about an hour later for her scheduled performance.
One of the biggest and most popular fetes of the night was over at Macy's, which counts itself not only as the largest department store in the world but also served as the kick off location for Anna Wintour's travels around Manhattan to visit certain stores. Tommy Hilfiger held a tailgate party outside in Herald Square with a special performance by Train whose lead singer Pat Monahan shouted to fans "I wish I could do this every day," before kicking off their set with "Soul Sister."
Inside Macy's, soul singer Joss Stone performed in the shoe department before heading over to play a packed house at Nine West on 5th avenue. Joss has teamed up with the shoe retailer to design boots for their Vintage America Collection. Her song "Back in Style" is on their web site and she is also offering free downloads to those who purchase one of her creations. "Music and fashion are both art. If you mush them both together then you come up with something quite wonderful," she told me before going on stage. "I like creations and everything that's been created in an artistic way and isn't in a box that's very organized. I like to be creative, which is why I like Fashion Week."
Other highlights of the night included a set by Metric at Juicy Couture on 5th Avenue. Playing as a two-piece they amazed already over-excited attendees by doing a cover of The Strokes "The End Has No End." Up-and-coming indie rockers Bear Hands performed on a lucite stage set up in front of the Prometheus statue at Rockefeller Center as guests watch runway shows and had their picture taken VIP-style on a red carpet.
Musicians who weren't involved in a live performance didn't shy away from the festivities. Mary J. Blige checked out the scene at Bergdorf Goodman, Pharrell Williams hit Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, Mick Rock took pics at John Varvatos, P. Diddy posed for crowds at Macy's as J. Lo greeted screaming fans in 6-inch gold platform Louboutins. Gwen Stefani was all smiles at Sephora after spending the beginning of her evening selling her fragrance out of a truck in the Meatpacking District (yes, really!).
Kanye West perhaps nailed the enegy and emotions of evening on the mark when after being mobbed by hordes of people in SoHo, he Tweeted "Just shut Soho down... shit is crazy 2nt!!! This is the best night of my life uuuum so far ...I know the city getting ready!!!"
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