By Anna Sekula Posted September 9, 2008, 1:00 PM EDT
Fashion Rocks, Condé Nast's annual fashion show and concert, returned to Radio City Music Hall for its taping Friday night. The show itself, which airs tonight on CBS, involved a revolving stage, a lot of feathers for Rihanna, and some Motown tribute performances from Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, and Mary J. Blige. Adding to the hoopla, Condé Nast held a pre-party on Thursday night and a packed after-party immediately following the Friday night taping.
The official pre-party at Mansion, produced by Kingdom Entertainment Group and overseen by Condé Nast Media Group special projects director Coleen Keating, was sponsored by the department store Kohl's—a clear contrast to the high-priced fare usually showcased in the publishing company's magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. Starting at 8 p.m., the party at the west Chelsea club drew some 800 guests—including Natasha Bedingfield and Hanson brothers Isaac, Taylor, and Zac—with a live performance by the Pussycat Dolls. For decor, Kingdom Entertainment re-created the department store's new ad campaign with vignettes featuring models with vintage instruments. The production team placed enlarged versions of these ads against the wall facing the stage.
Following the Friday-night taping, Condé Nast held an after-party at the Rainbow Room. Produced by EventQuest, the party needed to fit more than 1,000 guests into the space, highlight sponsors, and allow security teams to shepherd in the celebrities. Taking over all four areas of the Cipriani Group-operated Rockefeller Center venue, the production crew removed all the existing furniture and brought in a stack of lounge seating. (In total, couches and ottomans sat approximately 200 people.) In the V.I.P. section the seating was predominantly white; elsewhere it was chocolate brown.
For Michelob, one of the night’s sponsors, EventQuest created a glowing bar to showcase the Anheuser-Busch-owned brewery’s line of Ultra beers. Using the bottle as the design motif and white as the main color, the production firm designed a Plexiglas shelf and display case. For Citi, one of the bigger sponsors of Fashion Rocks, the after-party presence was more interactive, with three touch-screen monitors allowing guests to bid in an online eBay auction for items like a signed tennis racquet or concert tickets.
Perhaps the biggest logistical challenge was the security. In addition to a red carpet on Fifth Avenue that ran across 50th Street, there was a separate entrance, check-in, and security team for the performers and celebrities from the show.