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Third time's a charm. The hottest designers, celebrities and insiders gathered in New York and Los Angeles, where consumers enjoyed some major retail therapy for the third annual Fashion’s Night Out. Here, Footwear News makes the rounds alongside the fashion industry and its fans.
Midtown got a major dose of star power when fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker arrived at the Manolo Blahnik store on 54th Street. A line of about 150 fans waited outside the door, while brand President George Malkemus greeted consumers inside, right alongside SJP, who was signing autographs and showcasing her shoe collaboration (a reinvention of the Carolyne style). Malkemus said he had already seen 250 people and the night was just getting started. To add to the excitement, Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley also chatted with guests, while staying true to his signature style, dressed in a red robe.
Meanwhile on Madison Avenue, Ugg was hosting a cocktail party equipped with a DJ and a photo booth. Bally also had a similar scene, with champagne readily available for consumers.
Just down the street, at Stuart Weitzman, the designer was mingling with his new pals and guest collaborators Hayden Panettiere and Michelle Trachtenberg. “They’re creative and they have talent,” said Weitzman. “The Hayden bootie is [selling] out.” The designer also was excited to talk about his new store opening on Fifth Avenue this month. And when asked if he anticipated a crowd all night, he replied, “[Customers] don’t want to go home, they keep bringing out the food,” he said as he grabbed a cup of gelato.
Meanwhile, the Fratelli Rossetti store focused on what the brand does best: making shoes. In the window, a woman demonstrated how uppers are sewn, and inside, a man polished finished styles. The brand’s managing director, Diego Rossetti, said, “[Fashion’s Night Out] is a good way to show people how we do things. For us, it’s more important to explain who we are.”
Also on Madison Avenue, Natasha Bedingfield performed at the Ann Taylor store and model Jessica Stam partied at Roger Vivier. But Giuseppe Zanotti drew quite the crowd with Angela Simmons and June Ambrose (who was filming for a yet-to-be-named fashion reality show). Although Zanotti seemed most to be looking forward to mingling with Nicki Minaj. “I love her,” he said, in between signing photos for fans and even the arm of one guest. Minaj arrived about 10 minutes later, along with swarms of bodyguards and photographers.
But Zanotti’s crowd had some competition across the street, at Dolce & Gabbana, where pop stars Justin Bieber and Usher greeted crazed fans at the store. And a few doors down, the Reed Krakoff team was chatting with Katie Couric, who admitted to scoring a photo with the Biebs.
At the W hotel in Times Square, George Esquivel joined friend and fellow designer Juan Carlos Obando in a pop-up bazaar. Esquivel was selling gold laceups for women from his resort collection and made-for-the-event black laceups for men. “We’ve actually sold quite a few,” said the designer. “I am sometimes so far removed from the public, I don’t know if anyone is going to show up.” But those who did attend included singer Ciara and the Vogue fashion set, thanks to the event’s co-host, Ivan Shaw, director of photography for the magazine.
And at Payless on Lexington Avenue, Christian Siriano was decked out in Dior shoes and one of his own jackets. Siriano said he’s been busy doing fittings for his Saturday Fashion Week show, but he also emphasized the importance of being present at events like FNO. “A designer needs to be associated with their brand,” he said. “People are so fashion savvy these days that they need a little more to make them want to buy. Being accessible really helps push your product.”
Also on hand at Payless was a Isabel Toledo, with a Yahoo News camera crew clamoring catch her comments. Another recent Payless designer collaborator, Lela Rose, made an appearance later in the evening.
Rockport may not have a New York store, but it left its footprint by partnering with Dylan’s Candy Bar to create a 6-foot heel out of 650 pounds of candy, on display at the treat shop on Lexington Avenue. “Our strategy has been to become a more serious women’s player in the shoe business,” said Dani Tschuemperlin, SVP of product and brand management. “We want to invest in everything that raises our fashion competence, like FNO and stylist Annabel Tollman, (Rockport’s new style ambassador)."
For candy lovers, there were more shoe creations on display at the store, part of a contest with students of Rhode Island School of Design. “It’s fun,” said Dylan Lauren, about the shoe-candy connection. “It’s a nice collaboration of fashion, art and candy. Anytime you can promote young artists and designers is a cool thing.”
Meanwhile, in the Rockefeller Center area, a big crowd rocked out at Nine West’s Sixth Avenue location, where models sported boots for the brand’s “Runway Relief” breast-cancer initiative and posed for photos with fans. Celebrity guests included Nigel Barker and “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen.