Andrew Whitty reviews this year’s Fashion’s Night Out event, and tells us what was hot, and where was not.
Thursday 7 September 2012 saw the fashion crowd descend on central London for the annual ‘Fashion’s night out’ event. In conjunction with Vogue, retailers in the capital remained open later than usual and provided entertainment and free refreshments to a crowd of thousands ready to see what was on offer for autumn. Not just a soiree held in the capital, cities across the globe – including New York and Tokyo- held their own festivities to lure shoppers from the comfort of their homes and boost the ailing economy. In London, Bond Street, Mount Street, Covent Garden and the shopping centre of Westfield White City were transformed into a late night hub of activity and celebration.
So So Gay started our night at Joseph on Bond Street where fashion designer Henry Holland was on hand to assist consumers with any questions they may have, as well as pose for photographs and basically be his usual entertaining self. Dressed in an outfit from his own House of Holland collection the Northern star really stood out from the crowd. A live DJ provided the tunes as interestingly dressed boys and girls perused the rails of designer garments and weighed up the pros and cons of splashing the cash on the must have pieces of the season. We caught up with Vincenzo – an intern at the House of Holland workshop- who was in high spirits. ‘The store has been so busy and Henry’s having a great time. He hasn’t left the till point yet.’ One down side to the party happening in this particular store was the queue for drinks. Where as other places, had hired staff to bring that much needed glass of bubbly to you, we found ourselves in line for almost twenty minutes. Shopping is thirsty work don’t you know?
Over at Burberry on Bond Street a different sort of crowd partied. Gone were the extreme dressers in favour of a slightly more indie look. Skinny jeans, fitted shirts and a mop of hair on top of your head were all you needed to fit in here. Burberry –in previous years- has been the party to be seen at. This year however, things seemed different. Gone were the paparazzi outside and gone was the intimidating security. This gave the store a much more relaxed feel. We found it strange that the event was actually happening in this store at all, especially with Burberry’s brand new flagship residency at 121 Regent Street a miniscule five minute walk away. Still the fashionistas at the Bond Street store seemed to be having a good time.
Next stop Ermenegildo Zegna. Try saying that after your fifth drink. Once again, a different fashion crowd here. Obviously, with its higher price point and tailoring heritage, you weren’t going to find the latest recruits from London College of Fashion. Business men mingled amidst the exquisite wool suits and cashmere jumpers as their gorgeous wives sipped champagne and compared jewellery. Not so much a party atmosphere as an intimate gathering of the brand’s key customers and potential big spenders. After finishing our glass and also admiring the bling on display it was off to Mount Street.
By the time of our arrival at Marc Jacobs things were beginning to wind down. The store was quieter than the Bond Street boutiques and the atmosphere unusual. This was not helped by staff wearing tees featuring the phrase ‘Don’t just come for the free drinks’. Everyone seemed on edge as if they were afraid to touch anything. Sans drink we left Kenzo on Bruton Street. It was quieter here than anywhere else due to Kenzo being not quite the super-brand it used to be. Still, entertainment was provided along with cocktails. The beautiful collection was easily viewable with less people blocking the rails. Upon leaving Kenzo we stumbled across many boutiques still with queues outside, one girl in tears at being refused entry to Mulberry.
One thing the organizers of ‘Fashion’s Night Out’ need to remember is that this is an event for everyone. We think it’s great that the retailers provide so much and create a fantastic party atmosphere once a year for their fans. However, with lengthy queues for both entry and drinks, shoppers can be left feeling deflated and slightly frustrated. Compared with previous year’s events 2012’s was a little disappointing. Hopefully, September 2013 will be a good one with something for everybody not just those on ‘the list’.