Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Date With Fashion

Whilst it may seem like old news now, the success of the Vogue Fashion’s Night Out in September is still a noteworthy event in my eyes, especially as we head into a Christmas period that by all reports looks to be bleak for retailers. 

The brain child of Anna Wintour, it was first launched three years ago to jump start the fashion industry post GFC. Across Australia, Asia, Europe and the US, stores stay open late, offering retailment to tempt shoppers out to enjoy a favourite pastime.

Sydney-siders were lucky enough to have the opportunity to head to the Pearls, Pimms and Polo party at Paspaley where there were guest appearances from polo players and actresses. Bally hosted a Swiss soiree with chocolate desserts, punch, cognac and DJs on decks. Mixology was the order for Westfield Pitt Street with Schweppes and Gordons on the cocktails, whilst Hermes provided shoppers with tuition in turning their gorgeous silk scarves into turbans.


In London’s Liberty Scarf Hall, guests were styled in swathes of silk and posed in front of the Vogue cover. These were then posted on Facebook so they could tag their photo and share with friends. They enjoyed cocktails from the Mahiki Coconut rum shack, danced with Lulu Kennedy & Co and indulged in free Hourglass mascara makeovers.

We’re starting to see more retailers participate in cultural events that allow them to express their brand identity and bring customers in store in innovative ways rather than by slapping red & white sales posters up over their windows. L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Look.Stop.Shop program is one example. Another is London’s Fashion Weekend hosted by the British Fashion Council and sponsored this year by Vodafone. It averages 16,000-20,000 visitors – predominately girls having a day out or mums and daughters. With a spend of almost £1 million or £60 per person any fashion retailer would be right mad to not get involved.

In 2009 I was handed a flyer on a street in Manhattan for the Lucky Magazine Boutique Crawl down the city’s famous Bleecker St. My GF and I sipped complimentary champagne in store and chomped down on cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, made famous by Carrie Bradshaw. We queued up for insane discounts in Marc Jacobs (I still get mad props for a clutch I picked up that night for a steal) and climbed up to peruse the wares in the Cynthia Rowley van.

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There’s so much talk of High Street strips suffering at the expense of online and big shopping malls. I can vouch that there’s nothing nicer than being outdoors on a balmy evening, ambling up main street with gelato in one hand, shopping bags in the other, popping in and out of your favourite boutiques, girlfriends in tow, feeling special about being part of an exclusive, out of the ordinary event. 

If any retailers are tempted, drop me a line!