"Fashion's Night Out" to Encourage Singing, Sipping, and Shopping While Shows Focus on Clothes

By Anna Sekula September 8, 2009, 3:30 PM EDT

Although there will be many shows at the tents and off-site, this season looks to be on par with February's lineup of minimal backdrops and scaled-back sets.

Photo: Alison Whittington for BizBash

The event calendar this week, the first full week of September (and the unofficial start of the fall season), is already stuffed with premieres, big cocktail receptions, and large-scale public promotions. Among the events is Fashion Week, which starts Thursday and looks to be as subdued as the February outing was, as well as the Fashion's Night Out frenzy on Thursday, September 10.

The latter, an initiative announced less than four months ago, has taken off in a big way, with reports putting the total number of participating retailers in the city at 800. Meanwhile, shops in England, France, Spain, Japan, China, and Russia are also joining in the fray with similar outings. Beyond extended hours, discounts, and free flutes of champagne, each store has a different strategy to draw shoppers and, hopefully, boost spending and confidence. For instance, BCBG Max Azria has partnered with The Daily to recreate its spring 2010 show inside its Fifth Avenue store. And Teen Vogue is closing Bleecker Street to put on a block party that will include a runway presentation and a performance by Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen's band. Trainer Tracy Anderson is hosting a public fitness class at Diane von Furstenberg's flagship, while the private shindig at Oscar de la Renta will have the designer serenading a group of clients and friends.

Relative to the activities planned for Fashion's Night Out, the mood for the shows this season seems more cautious, with a focus on a careful selection of clothes to present to buyers and editors. Like Marc Jacobs last season, designers such as Zac Posen are paring down the guest lists and keeping things fairly simple. “We were in such a large-brand building model, doing these large shows with very little means and budget, and creating that dream,” Posen told WWD. “Now it's really about focusing back to the craft and form and function.”

Nevertheless, there are plenty of shows planned at large venues this coming week, including Marc Jacobs back at the 69th Regiment Armory, G-Star in the Hammerstein Ballroom, Y-3 at the Park Avenue Armory, and Cesar Galindo at M2 Ultra Lounge. Elsewhere, clothing lines such as L.A.M.B., Proenza Schouler, Vena Cava, and Erin Fetherston will present at Milk Studios as a result of M.A.C.'s partnership with the west Chelsea venue, and David Manning and Al Silvestri's Style360 series will return to the Metropolitan Pavilion with new sponsors and the first iteration of Gen Art's Fresh Faces in Fashion event produced by newly merged organization R.M.G.A.

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