Fashion’s Night Out transformed Barneys New York into a ten-floor circus, and designers were the star attraction.
The crowd had huge squeals for Alexander Wang, who spent a half hour on the 7th floor teaching visitors to “walk like a model.” The attraction was improbably popular among awkward preteen girls. They were short and wore braces and they couldn’t wait to walk. Mr. Wang wrapped them in a coat as if offering his benediction, and mussed too-neat hair before setting them a-strut. Enthusiastic cheers greeted the few guys and older ladies who braved the runway.
Mr. Wang was accompanied by three models, who bopped blithely with one another as the crowd mobbed him for photos.
Mr. Wang and his models slipped out by 7:30—off to Opening Ceremony, he told us.
Downstairs, the Proenza Schouler designers were autographing their new wallets. “To the love of our lives, Julie,” wrote Lazaro Hernandez on a wallet for Barneys Fashion Director Julie Gilhart.
“We wouldn’t be doing this right now if it wasn’t for this lady,” he added.
Jack McCollough said that the wallets had been moving pretty well—the picked-over table had been full when they arrived.
“It’s like a glorified lemonade stand,” he said.
Of course, the models in attendance also proved popular. Coco Rocha seemed convincingly fun as she posed for photos with shoppers. (“Star together in your very own flipbook!”) Loose and goofy, she hammed it up for the cameras with an inflatable guitar. Raquel Zimmerman and Sessilee Lopez put in a surprise appearance—big hugs all around—but then left with a stylist friend to go find Vogue Fashion Director Tonne Goodman.
But were visitors more interested in celebrity designers, or in Barneys’ actual wares? Shoes seemed to be holding visitors’ interest better than most other merchandise—but not better than complimentary food and drink. The prosecco ran out an hour and a half into the evening, and the line for free Fred’s pizza on the 9th floor only grew more impressive as the night wore on. The clothing drive donation barrels tended to become trash cans for cocktail napkins. Oops.