Andy Warhol said: “I like to be the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place. Being the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place is worth it because something interesting always happens.”
When Anna Wintour arrives at the Queens Center Shopping Mall this coming Thursday night for the kick-off of Fashion’s Night Out, will she be the right thing in the wrong place or vice versa? As an unapologetic fan of the iconic Vogue editrix, I like to think she will be the right thing in the right place, and am quite sure that something interesting is bound to happen. I can see La Wintour now, in full Margaret Mead mode, intrepidly exploring unfamiliar stores named Rave Girl, Sneakermania or Bling Bling. There she is refueling at Cinnabon. There she is counseling her daughter Bee against entering The Piercing Pagoda.
The Warholian fun is by no means confined to Queens. On Thursday, Sept. 10, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., more than 700 New York City stores will participate in this thoroughly worthy global-shopping freakout. The brainchild of Ms. Wintour herself, Fashion’s Night Out, FNO for short, is designed to get y’all enthused about shopping again. This is important. If you do not shop, then I will not have a job. Capiche?
When we retailers first learned about Anna’s FNO several months ago, we collectively winced and assumed contorted anxious postures worthy of the most avant-garde dance troupe. There is nothing quite like the prospect of a “shopping night” to strike terror into the hearts of we retailers, especially wee retailers like me. The sight of non-shoppers and looky-loos eating our fancy hors d’oeuvre while we rack up bar bills, additional operating costs, payroll, electricity, etc., makes me homicidal.
After weighing up the pros and cons, the team at Barneys signed on and flung ourselves into the challenge of creating a scintillating and life-changing event. Though I say it myself, we have done a bang-up job. If you swing by Barneys Madison Avenue between 60th and 61st streets on Thursday night, you can shop and mingle with the Olsens or the Toledos, Waris the turbanned jeweler, Alexander Wang, Narciso Rodriguez, Thom Browne, Lisa Perry and the spanking new Dior Homme designer, Kris Van Assche. Names, sweetie, names!
And, because it’s Barneys, there will be no shortage of crunchy eccentricity. My Jonny will be there with his trusty old potter’s wheel, throwing all kinds of vivacious vessels. A group called Wool and the Gang will be hosting a blanket knitting circle as if there were a war going on. Designer John Patrick will introduce Upper East Siders to his glamorous new urban composting project. Bon appétit!
I will be kibitzing in the shoe department, having a “shoe-versation,” if you will. At 9 o’clock sharp—this is the part that will have Anna and Bee screeching all the way back from Queens in their Blahniks—there will be a shoe draw, 16 free pairs for 16 lucky ladies!! (Or men with small feet, like a certain wee retailer.)
In order to avoid accusations of unrelenting Barneys pluggage in this space—which is to say, being the wrong thing in the right column—let me add that many must-attend events are taking place at other stores. For example, at Bergd … Oh, darn! I’ve run out of room!
See you tomorrow night!!!