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By Laurie Brookins | September 1, 2012 | Style & Beauty
Christian Louboutin’s Horatio Street boutique
First stop is Christian Louboutin on Horatio Street. There’s an ongoing argument about whether Fashion’s Night Out accomplishes its original goal, to get people into stores and shopping vs. merely looking while enjoying the free Champagne. But make no mistake: women are here to buy. Salespeople wearing floral head wreaths—“It’s a gypsy theme,” one explains—hustle back and forth from the stockroom as women try on Louboutin’s sky-high styles. Sitting on the shelf behind the register are two of the three limited-edition items Louboutin has designed especially for FNO: the peep-toe Highness Dragon pump and a matching iPad case, both in chic black velvet and splashed with a lush dragon embroidery. Where’s the third? “It’s at our men’s store, one block over,” says a PR person.
Okay, so we have a quick minute to check out Louboutin’s just-opened men’s shoe store on Washington, yes? The store debuted exactly six days ago, so there is indeed a line out the door to check out the new space. In a combination that marries nicely, it’s a bit industrial, a bit Moroccan, and a bit like a glam tattoo parlor. And here we find the third item Louboutin designed for FNO, the slipper-style Henri Flat.
Tommy the Pomeranian and Linda Fargo at Berfdorf Goodman
We’ll always be grateful for the cab stand near The Standard, which helped us greatly in making a quick leap to Midtown, where Bergdorf Goodman was in full-on FNO overdrive. This is always a must-stop on this night, as you can count on a wealth of cool designer appearances. This year the retailer at 57th and Fifth is celebrating its 111th birthday, so the BG FNO festivities are indeed off the charts, and already hundreds of people are queuing up outside. Inside, feast on the bounty of must-haves designed especially for the retailer’s birthday: a one-of-a-kind croc bag by Tom Ford, a Gucci tote embossed with the store façade, Tod’s driving mocs and Brian Atwood Maniacs, both in the store’s iconic lilac—the list goes on. You could spend the entire night at Bergdorf’s on FNO and enjoy a dozen different experiences—but duty calls, and we press on.
Cyndi Lauper performing at Manolo Blahnik
“I heard they’re letting us in at 9 p.m., unless you have an invitation,” a shopper calls out from the line outside Manolo Blahnik on 54th Street. Glad to have an invite in our bag, we slip inside and see that the front of the store has been cleared out in anticipation of a performance by Cyndi Lauper, who’s set to debut her new musical, Kinky Boots (Harvey Fierstein wrote the book, Lauper the music and lyrics), at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on March 5. Those lucky to get into Blahnik heard a fab mini-concert. And proving she takes her work literally, Lauper was also sporting some of the night's best footwear, a pair of thigh-high crimson boots. Manolo wasn't on hand (George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik, was our host), but somewhere, we are sure the designer was smiling.
Hilary Rhoda at Salvatore Ferragamo
On Fifth Avenue, Ferragamo's "From Russia With Love" party (the country inspired the fall collection) is packed, and with good reason: Russian pop group Tesla Boy is playing on a stage toward the back, and they're fantastic. Bandleader Anton Sevidov is burying his head in his keyboard and everyone (including Hilary Rhoda and Anouck Lepere) is taking photos. Even better, upstairs in the shoe department there are empty chairs—for those of us who chose to wear four-inch heels to FNO—and waiters serving Champagne. We could bunk down here the rest of the night easily, but the hour grows late and there are so many stops ahead—or so we think.
Debra Messing and Michael Kors at Kors’ Madison Avenue boutique
A quick jog over to Madison to Michael Kors' latest NY boutique, and damn, we have missed the celebs and the karaoke! Plenty of shoppers remain to pick up MK's FNO items, each based on a style essential Kors is never without: his gold aviators. Tonight he's offering a custom pair, as well as a cosmetic case and T-shirt illustrated with his famed sunnies.
Oscar de la Renta and Sarah Jessica Parker at de la Renta’s Madison Avenue boutique
More singing! Oscar de la Renta brings in a fab Latin orchestra every year. At some point in the evening, he takes over as bandleader—he truly conducts a mean merengue. This year he also took up the mic. (Guantanamera, anyone?) And of course, Oscar got one of the best gets of the night when a favored client (Sarah Jessica Parker) turned up.
Italo Zucchelli, Dwyane Wade, Anna Wintour, Francisco Costa, and Tom Murry at Calvin Klein Madison Avenue
We’ve decided to slip into one last stop before FNO starts to wind down. The choice? Calvin Klein, where Dwyane Wade was on hand to sign his just-released memoir, A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball. Calvin Klein creative directors Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli greeted the night's other big get: Anna Wintour, who was wearing a look from Costa's resort collection and signing copies of September Vogue. As the party fizzled and talk turned to President Obama’s convention speech, Wintour had to dash. By 10 p.m., there was nary a fashionista in sight on Madison Avenue.
Every year we’re faced with a Fashion’s Night Out choice: try to hit as many fab spots as possible, or select one or two and settle in for the night. At this year's annual ode to all things fashion and retail, we opted for the former. But could we really hit 14 FNO events in one night? We didn't come close, but we sure had fun...