Walking up to Madison Avenue from First Avenue, the scene was relatively calm. I passed a number of stores that were open late in light of Fashion’s Night Out, but none appeared to have much traffic.
As soon as I hit Madison and then Fifth Avenue, however, it was a veritable mosh pit of people.
Dressed in cocktail dresses and high-high heels, most of the women in my midst could barely walk in their over-done ensembles – let alone shop.
While Fashion’s Night Out may have been conceived as a fun event to boost the fashion industry, this year seemed to be even more of circus than last year.
Months of planning have gone into many of the major department store and boutique’s events and few of the happenings seemed geared towards shopping (karaoke, ping pong…umm…why?).
The mass block party was all about boozing-up and entertaining guests with celebrity appearances.
I wasn’t even able to make my way into Bergdorf Goodman because there was such a sea of people pushing and shoving to get in. Over at Dolce & Gabbana I, along with a few hundred other people, were shoved back by security as we tried to make our way to get a peek at Naomi Campbell.
At Donna Karan, swarms of people were blocking the sidewalk to ogle dancers shimmying in the windows, while traffic stopped as Lacrosse players showered (yes showered), in the windows at Gant.
Is FNO effective? From the looks of it "yes" when it comes to generating buzz and excitement (then again, that’s not very hard when you’re offering folks free booze), but I’d have to say "no" when it comes to actually boosting the bottom line of the participating stores.
Many shops have spent countless dollars promoting and planning their events, and I could count on one hand those that I actually saw shopping.
The smartest stores were those that came out with limited edition pieces for the night, like Chanel with their nail polish collection, or Fempsey & Carroll, who asked Simon Doonan to design a stationery collection. Or even the Cookie Monster T-shirt designed by Band of Outsiders that was sold, along with a cookie, at Opening Ceremony.