On a regular Thursday evening, you’ll find the fashion industry locking up and the bars getting busier. But once a year, at Fashion’s Night Out, it’s the clothes that get to stay out past curfew. Stores stay open until 11 p.m. and have a variety of attractions. Men and women dress up to go out for discounts, free cocktails, celebrity and fashion designer sightings and music.
On the streets of Soho, there was a young blonde woman clad in her fashionable black blazer, mini-skirt and tights on a business stoop changing out of her flats into peep toe wedges. Around the corner, there was another young woman with thick, curly black hair standing in line for the bathroom at Starbucks in a black and white blazer and black tights sporting an eccentric bracelet made of gold spikes and diamonds.
Over at Ted Baker London in the Meatpacking District, the store was turned into a bar and concert venue. As it began to fill – some for the liquor, some for the discounts, some for the music – the eclectic crowd mingled over the free cocktails with only a few venturing out to look at the clothes lined up for display. There was a short, lavender, princess-cut dress, a beige trench coat with a high neckline, teal, ruffled cocktail dresses, fur coats and black, knit sweaters all waiting for customers to pick them up for fall.
An older man in a black suit, white button-up shirt and deep red tie pushed up his glasses as he observed the crowd, possibly looking for a familiar face. An employee with her hair held in a ponytail wore a black blazer, grey skinny jeans and five-inch, muted gold heels shuffling merchandise to and fro as she made small talk with customers and friends.
Different languages could be heard throughout the room. Two young French women conversed in their foreign dialect holding free cocktails, one wearing lavender Converse and a simple striped pink and white t-shirt and the other wearing olive green Pumas and a floral blouse.
The wait staff stood behind the bar and walked around with black trays, identifiable in black slacks, white, long-sleeved button-ups with purple ties. The drinks were served at two, rectangular tables with black tablecloths lined with wine and martini glasses. There were mint leaves piled in wine glasses standing next to the alcohol and mixers in the rear.
The members of the pop-rock band, The Postelles, arrived an hour behind schedule and went to their places behind the microphones. The drummer sat in his jeans with a purple, plaid, long-sleeve button-up. The acoustic and bass guitarists strummed in jeans, plaid collared shirts and black blazers. The lead singer sang in a purple tunic with the sleeves rolled up while his guitar strap rocked a colorful, tribal design. All articles of clothing above the waist on the band were from Ted Baker London.
The crowd whipped out their smart phones, taking amateur photos, possibly to post on the walls of their Facebook or Twitter updates. As the audience members began shuffling side to side and swaying their hips, they abandoned the need to shop and listened to the music – even if just for five songs. The night transformed from being about fashion into a mixture of all the enticements the night was about.