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At Juicy’s Midtown store, Hamish Bowles belted out Noel Coward show tunes during two performances. Gela Nash-Taylor joined in, but her business partner, Pam Skaist-Levy, was M.I.A., due to a broken foot from surfing. Earlier in the evening unsuspecting shoppers were blitzed by 40 dancers who descended on the store to do the Charleston and then promptly left.
Before his gig at Nine West, Third Eye Blind’s Stephen Jenkins revealed his own retail pursuit: He aims to open The True Meaning, a holiday pop-up shop that will benefit those in extreme poverty. Consumers will pay for water pumps and other necessities many are lacking, but they will not take any of the merchandise home. “People complain about consumerism, but shopping has all kinds of aspects, such as generosity and socializing. We are kind of taking that notion and are judo flipping it to give people the pleasure and fun of shopping but are helping others move out of extreme poverty.”
The event turned the Meatpacking District into one huge street party, which went on almost until midnight. Consumers walked out of Jeffrey toting the store’s oversize shopping bags, but anyone peering in would have found it filled with nothing more than a watercolor done for free by the artist Bruno Grizzo as a promotion for the store.
Von Furstenberg, who played a big role in the shopping event, was unsure at first of whether the crowds were buying. In between doing aerobics for the crowd in the store with the celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson, she said, “I don’t know how much business we’ll do. But it’s building excitement.” Later, after seeing the day’s takes, she concluded business was “huge.”
“I think it accomplished what it set out to do — get people into the stores again,” said consultant Robert Burke, who made the rounds. “The residual effect regarding sales will be felt for the next two months. People saw things they want to buy. I’ve heard certain [stores] had some very strong sales, but I wouldn’t say that I saw a lot of shopping bags.”