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“I think there’s a real sense on a global basis that everybody does want to help and support Japan after everything that has happened here. I think out of adversity, a lot of creativity comes so I was very moved by the spirit and the fact that they were not producing clothes that were gloomy, that were dark. But it was much more reflective of optimism and positive thinking. [There was] a lot of color and interesting fabrics and textures,” she said.
While FNO was designed to boost store traffic and sales, some visitors expressed a certain level of surprise at the state of retail — even before the event took place on Saturday. “I’ve found it much more alive than what I had thought. I went to the store. I have seen that people are shopping, are doing things.…I see a lot of movement,” said Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia.
Derek Lam, creative director of Tod’s, speaking on Saturday, voiced a similar view of optimism.
“Everybody told me that the vibe has changed for the positive in the last few months,” he said.
Alt, editor in chief of Vogue Paris, said her nighttime arrival in the city seemed a bit dimmer than she had remembered it from her last visit eight years ago, but she was no less impressed with Tokyo’s vibe.
“It’s a city where I feel comfortable. Even if you feel super jet-lagged and you can’t understand a word and you can’t walk around by yourself.…I still feel really comfortable. It’s really strange,” she said.
The weekend was chock-full of activities in all the major shopping areas of Tokyo. Here’s a recap of some of the highlights from Saturday:
• Jennifer Hudson, Kors and Wintour signed tote bags at Kors’ packed store on Omotesando Avenue. Later Saturday night, Hudson belted out a short set including “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” at a Kors party held at the U.S. ambassador’s residence.
• Tod’s creative director Derek Lam gave a series of talks about the fall-winter collection, employing a mother-daughter theme to commemorate Wintour’s visit with Shaffer.
• For Prada, Dello Russo styled an army of mannequins featuring vinyl umbrellas, towering fur hats and cartoon eyes. They greeted shoppers outside the store.
• For the second time in a week, Cavalli mingled with fans at his newly opened Aoyama boutique, before heading straight to the airport and concluding his first official visit to Japan.
• At Burberry, British band The Crookes played two sets for an excited group of assembled customers, and creative director Bailey chatted and posed for photos with fans and even signed the linings of a few trenchcoats. “The enthusiasm and the passion is so inspiring here, you know, and sometimes I wish we had a bit more of that in Europe,” he said. “[The Japanese] actually enjoy fashion and they enjoy an event, and they’re so appreciative of everything that it’s actually a real thrill to be a part of it. The energy is unbelievable.”
• Louis Vuitton cut the ribbon on an exhibition of Miles Aldrich’s photographs of Ai Tominaga called “Kyoto Mon Amour.” Men’s wear designer Kim Jones was on hand to greet Wintour and Newhouse.
• In its small Omotesando boutique, Hermès employed models to carry out demos on the versatility of scarves.
• Kevin Carrigan, global creative director of ck Calvin Klein, spent the evening with the company’s president and chief executive officer, Tom Murry, at the brand’s pop-up store, which was opened exclusively for Fashion’s Night Out. For the occasion, Carrigan designed a line of nature-inspired, exclusive holiday products. The pop-up was also selling Christmas ornaments, with proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross’ earthquake relief efforts. Carrigan said he was the first Calvin Klein executive to visit Japan after the earthquake, arriving in Tokyo just three weeks after the devastating event. “You really, really felt the sadness, but yet…they’re so resilient, the Japanese, and [they have] so much courage,” he said.
• Thom Browne mingled with customers at 10 Corso Como, which was selling a series of plaid shirts Browne designed in conjunction with Rei Kawakubo. “Doing anything with Rei is an honor. She is an icon,” he said.
• Van Assche, Newhouse, Alt, Nicola Formichetti, Tominaga and Vogue Turkey editor in chief Seda Domanic made an appearance at a private party on the fourth floor of the Dior store, where the group signed and raffled off three T-shirts for charity. “Japan has always been really kind to me, to my label, to Dior Homme…and it’s only natural that I would be here,” Van Assche said in a short speech at the event. “Japan has done so much for fashion, it’s payback time. Fashion should do something for Japan.” Alt said: Everybody’s smiling and it’s great. I wish I could speak Japanese to understand every comment.”
• Loewe’s Stuart Vevers, who was DJing in the brand’s store on Omotesando Avenue, takes a prize for embarking on long-distance air travel to be a part of FNO. Just last week, he was in Japan for an event before flying to Madrid for five days and then returning to Tokyo. “You can’t keep me away from here too long,” he said.