NEW YORK As designers and fashion houses prepare for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the move of the tents to Lincoln Center's campus, they're also gearing up for the second run of Fashion's Night Out, the shopping initiative started last year by Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and NYC & Company as a way to boost consumer confidence and retail sales. Described by Vogue editor Anna Wintour as “the block party to end all block parties,” the citywide festival will return on Friday, September 10, once again bringing a slew of contests, performances, free food and drink, and celebrity appearances to stores in all five boroughs. Organizers have already announced the participation of nearly 1,000 stores, a take of almost $500,000 to be donated to the New York City AIDS Fund, and a televised special to air on CBS on Tuesday, September 14.
Perhaps one of the biggest developments is that unlike last year, Fashion's Night Out in other countries will not coincide with the celebrations in New York (and across the United States) on September 10. Instead the program will have a staggered schedule, running from September 7 to 16, with each of the 16 nations involved assigned to a particular day. France will start the festivities on September 7, followed by Great Britain and Korea on September 8, Australia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain on September 9, India, Russia, and the U.S. on September 10, China, Japan, and Taiwan on September 11, and Greece and Turkey on September 16.
To kick it all off in New York, Vogue is hosting a public fashion show on September 7. Produced by the magazine and SPEC Entertainment, the open-air runway presentation will exhibit fall fashions on 200 models in Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza, the square that sits between the David H. Koch Theater, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Metropolitan Opera House. The sold-out event for an audience of 1,500 is a ticketed affair; prices started at $25, and premium front-row seats reportedly cost $400.
On September 10, much of the attention will be focused on Manhattan, with department stores providing some of the most buzzed-about activities. Barney's New York will have Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and the duo behind Proenza Schouler judge a karaoke contest, and David Neville and Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone will compete in a Ping-Pong tournament. Bloomingdale's will also have karaoke and table tennis, plus a cooking demonstration with Masaharu Morimoto, casino night courtesy of Harrah's Atlantic City, and tango lessons. Bergdorf Goodman has karaoke and its share of big names too, and will even woo pet lovers by putting designers' dogs on the catwalk. Animals are also a part of Henri Bendel's offerings, as the stars of the Fabulous Beekman Boys will stage a pop-up general store replete with livestock in the Midtown shop.
Elsewhere, block parties abound. Macy's is taking over the pedestrian plaza adjacent to its Herald Square flagship to mark the 25th anniversary of Tommy Hilfiger, while ASOS.com is sponsoring Teen Vogue's West Village fete hosted by 90210's Shanae Grimes. Others providing outdoor revelry include Tory Burch, Helmut Lang, and Rag & Bone with Philip Lim.