Fashion’s Night OutHalloween comes early for fashionistas
Fashion’s Night Out took to the streets of New York on Sept. 6th and hit other major cities around the world too. Stores stayed open for extended hours using loud music, celebrity cameos, free alcohol and treats, as well as material incentive to convince shoppers to purchase new fall fashions to support research in finding a cure for AIDS. In theory, Fashion’s Night Out’s purpose should be in its title. The fashions are supposedly the primary focus of this event. However anyone who experiences the crowds and the craze of it all can agree that it seems to be more of a Trick or Treat experience, where non-shoppers race in and out of the stores, seeing who can accumulate the most free stuff before the clock strikes midnight.
While downing free drinks in each store they pop into, the intoxicated crowd was on the hunt for the celebrities that were promised to them by the event’s promoters. My friends and I walked to Macy’s Herald Square in the hopes of meeting Keeping Up With The Kardashians star Scott Disick. The store, like each one we had been in before it, was packed. The staff looked exhausted, and seemed annoyed when I repeatedly asked, “WHERE IS SCOTT DISICK?” One worker even snottily replied, “I don’t care where he at!” That comment was noted, and should have been reported to management. Once we did find Scott, he had his back to the crowd, refusing our cries for attention. At that moment I realized that the celebrities didn’t care about the cause, that they didn’t want to be there, they had to be!
The hide and seek celebrity phenomena continued throughout the night. We ran into Andre Leon Talley, former editor of Vogue magazine, who sat perched on the second story of the 5th Avenue Dolce and Gabanna. He refused to address his constituents, and snarled at the lowly crowd for trying to talk to him. WILL-I-AM of the Blackeyed Peas was jamming with the staff of the Swarovski Crystal store, prompting a line outside to get in, almost as if it were an exclusive club. Stacey London from TLC’s What Not to Wear also seemed to be short on time, and couldn’t even meet and greet the ten people waiting to see her, as she had to dart off to another mysterious appointment.
Fashion’s Night Out seems to be more about consumption than about the fashions themselves, but that is a difficult concept to grasp for those who weren’t there. For the outsiders, or just those strolling the packed city streets, it appeared as if everyone dressed in their Jeffery Campbell Litas, high-waisted cheeky shorts, statement collars and even (gasp) formal attire, actually cared about the fashions presented by the stores. Inside the shops however, it was a different story. The seemingly fashionable drunkenly bypassed the clothing and headed to wait in line for more drinks and fanfare, only breaking to take an instagram selfie to inform their followers on all forms of social media how much fun they want everyone to think they’re having.
This year many of the stores also had social media centered programs, as participants entered photobooths to create mementos of an overhyped evening. Not only would the vain and overstudded fashionista get to look at how extravagantly she dressed for decades to come, but all of her Facebook friends can also bask in the glorious image she waited in line to take! Fashion’s Night Out advertisements encouraged participants to tag #FNO on Instagram and Tumblr in order to keep all of the thousands of postings in one place, so others can drool over the experiences of others from behind their lonely computers.
Festivities dragged on for the rest of the night, and the staff of the stores seemed less than enthusiastic about handing out free drinks to minors all evening. They begrudgingly handed out their chocolate decadence and always seemed to be absent when one was just genuinely thirsty. Workers pushed food carts around small stores, snapping “I’ll get to you when I’m ready!” if anyone dare ask for a drink before she made her rounds.
Fashion’s Night Out proved to be more of a social charade, reminiscent of Halloween. City slickers wearing their finest costume, hitting up the stores with the best free goods, and shunning those who only offer an umbrella with a $65 purchase or more. Consumption of said free goods stole the spotlight from fashion, as did the social media display for showing off purposes only. Celebrity hide and seek was also an interesting component to the evening, getting one’s hopes up for a star-studded sighting, only to be crestfallen that the object of their affection would rather clean out litter boxes than be in the presence of such overdressed peasants.