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“We work in a kitchen, cooking everyday, so it’s nice to meet with customers to see how the food tastes,” said Elie Tahari after presenting his collection earlier on Thursday and making the rounds for the night at Saks. “But my most challenging thing today had to be getting my eight-year-old son, Jeremey, dressed for his first day of school. That took a lot of energy for sure.”
“It’s like White Nights in Paris — the energy on the streets,” said Brian Reyes, who just arrived at Barneys from Bergdorf’s. His collection shows on Tuesday, but “we planned it into the calendar. Anything to make people excited about fashion, so I am happy to do it.” After Barneys, he was headed back to the studio for more work.
“Generally these nights are opportunities to engage with customers,” said jewelry designer Jamie Wolf at Barneys, who wasn’t looking to necessarily make big sales. “It creates good energy.”
“It’s funny because normally when you go to events there are some people you know, but here, it’s all customers,” said model Doutzen Kroes, who, along with Angela Lindvall, was helping sell ecologically friendly wares on the eighth floor.
“Look, it’s fabulous,” said Howard Sokol at a busy Barneys. “Its a great thing. The spirit of it is great. I’m overwhelmed by all the designers who are here, on every floor.” His proposal: “There should be a national shopping day.”
Manolo Blahnik was mobbed by fans at Barneys who thrust scraps of paper at him for him to sign and made him pose for pictures. “I met a girl whose birthday was today and traveled from miles away for this,” he said. “It was a beautiful thing.”
A line of fans waited to get signed books from Isabel and Ruben Toledo. “It’s great for people to enjoy tonight without even the pressure of buying,” said Isabel. “On the way here I saw all the stores full of people. This is the real beginning of fashion week.”
In Barneys’ men’s store, decidedly more subdued than the women’s side, Thom Browne mingled with his customers before heading downtown to Black Fleece and his own store. “I never get to see my customers, so this is nice,” he said. “I just met a gentleman, a banker, who said he’s been buying my things for years.”
“I had a slight meltdown leaving the venue today knowing how much more we still have to do before the show tomorrow and preparing for all of the festivities tonight,” said Cynthia Rowley.
Raquel Zimmerman, modeling fashions available in the pop-up boutique, said, “I want to work,” and started catwalking down an imaginary runway to entertain the crowd.
Diego Della Valle is showing off his cobbling skills at Tod’s Madison Avenue flagship. “I am the best shoe shiner in the world,” said Della Valle, chairman and president of Tod’s. “The most professional.”
Literally hundreds of people lined up on Greene Street in SoHo to see hip-hop artist Kid Cudi play from his new album for BAPE.
Michelle Monaghan felt the vibe at Calvin Klein in a sequined mini and hoped the energy will continue through fashion week, which could mean “a very long week of shopping,” said the starlet.
“It’s nice being on the streets,” said Bonnie Morrison. “It’s nice seeing people shopping. Nothing’s worse than when you’re the only person in an empty store.”
“I’m shopping everywhere I go,” said David Lipman. “The leopard leggings are for me.”
On Perry Street in The Village, following a multilabel runway show from Teen Vogue and some Barbie giveaways, Taylor Momsen of “Gossip Girl” took the stage with her rock band The Pretty Reckless. The actress, dressed in an oversize white shirt and black lingerie, played guitar and belted out four punky tunes in a surprisingly big, husky voice. “Gotta say thank you to Anna Wintour for putting this together. Fashion’s Night Out. Totally,” she purred. “I want to see you guys move!”
At DVF: “We got the Tracey Anderson DVDs,” said Tully O’Neill, 26, who does promotions for L’Oréal. “She’ll sign then for you.” She and a friend also bought FNO T-shirts. All told, they spent $89.90.
Tommy Hilfiger was hosting a round of musicians at all of his downtown stores. “This was a brilliant idea and I can tell you its actually working,” he said. “It was packed at Macy’s. People are out. People are shopping. They’re excited. I didn’t know how well this would work, but it’s exceeded our expectations. We should do it every year.”
Jason Wu at Kirna Zabête: “I just met a fashion student from Washington, D.C. She bought my (Fashion’s Night out) shirt! What did I buy? I bought Narciso’s book. But mine wasn’t signed. I’ll have to ask him later.”
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