Fashion’s Night Out Expands to More Cities in Italy, Brazil, More

Although some of us can’t be bothered with massive crowds roaming the streets in search of free food and fashion swag (my feet hurt just thinking about it), there’s no denying that people love them some Fashion’s Night Out. Last year‘s global shopping event was crazy-successful; visitor numbers rose by 92 percent from 2010 in London, and there were many other cities that shared similar increases. Because of this, FNO has decided to go bigger and better in 2012 by launching the retail push party in a handful of more cities.  

According to WWD, FNO will hit 19 markets across the globe and many countries have signed up to host it in multiple cities: "In Italy, there will be events in Milan, Rome, and Florence; Germany will host nights in Berlin and in Düsseldorf; and in Russia, Moscow and St Petersburg will have their own nights." Brazil, Greece, and Mexico are getting in on the multi-city action this year, too.

Global event dates: September 6 is US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia, Mexico, Korea and Australia; September 7 is China, Germany (again), India and Russia; September 8 is Taiwan and Japan; September 10 and 12 is Brazil; September 13 is Italy (again), Portugal, Turkey, Mexico and The Netherlands; September 18 is Italy (again); September 20 and 25 is Greece. 

And lest you forget, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2012 is September 6 through 13 in New York, September 14 through 18 in London, and shows start on September 19 in Milan. 

Kate Middleton’s Cousin Katrina Darling on Her ‘Playboy’ Debut & Burlesque Tonight

So the summer is over according to everybody except my really smart smartphone which swears I have another couple of weeks till fall. To add to the confusion, Fashion Week is upon us and it’s celebrating spring 2013. Tonight, down at Demi Monde, Katrina Darling – the second cousin of Kate Middleton – will perform her burlesque routine. Darling will join my favorite double entendre DJ Miss Guy and the princely but not really truly royalty DJ Prince Terrence for a soiree. The event is to celebrate her cover of Playboy, although "Playboy is not a sponsor of this event.”  I’m completely confused but feel comfy as the always enlightening Lyle Derek, Patrick Duffy, and Kimyon Huggins will surely fill in my blanks. Katrina was a burlesque queen before she fell into this Middleton muddle and is enjoying the luck.

Burlesque troupe Lady Circus will also provide some flesh for fantasy. Now the whole shebang will take place down at the aptly-addressed 90 "Broad" Street. There is also a celebration of Elle Macpherson’s new lingerie line "Intimates" and rock goddess Theo Kagin’s new makeup line “Armour Beauty.”

I caught up with Katrina Darling and asked her all about it

So you are coming back to the USA for a show at Demi Monde… what did you learn from your previous NYC burlesque experience, and how will it affect this performance?
With every performance, the venues and the audiences are different, so I’m always adapting and tweaking things to fit. I know that this time around the audience will be at a safer distance as I’m using fire in my performance.

Did you get to meet NYC’s burlesque queens?
Not whilst in New York, however the guys from The Slipper Room did two shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow a couple of years back, and I saw Julie Atlas Muze, Ms. Tickle, and many more. They’re two of my favorite performers; I’m more into the bawdy, provocative, modern burlesque than the mainstream stuff.

This cousin Kate thing… is it her problem, your problem, or anybody’s problem. Has anyone "talked" to you?
I don’t think it’s anybody’s problem! I’m a distant relative. I’ve been performing since I was 18. I’m not going to stop expressing myself through my art because some British journo showed up on my parent’s doorstep and decided to “out” me because I did  a “God Save the Queen” act (I’m not the first girl to do a royalty-themed act). You deal the hand life throws at you and mine seems to be unfolding with some happy coincidences. That’s all. Katrina Darling

What attracted you to this ancient art form, and where do you want to take it? With your new notoriety, has it become your entire world?
Well, as a child I was a show-off, and as a teen I dispelled my angst by performing in music bands. But as a young adult I stumbled across burlesque and toyed with my sexuality. I grew up in a small town and come from humble means; the gift of being able to express myself was a form of escapism for me. Being able to create a fantasy world is what I’ve been doing since I’ve had an imagination. I prefer a modern take on burlesque; for me, if the art form is to last it needs to evolve past nostalgia and into the present. As an entertainer, I love to parody the present pop culture and explore new skill sets. Ten minutes on stage isn’t too long, so you gotta make them remember it. As for the future, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Playboycalled, and you said yes. Why did you do it? Was the money the primary factor or does it define you as your own person and, of course, drive your brand?
I’ve spent a lot of time admiring beautiful women and great minds. For me, it’s a privilege to be accepted into an institution and be a part of that history, alongside beautiful women and great minds. I had an amazing time working with everyone on set shooting the cover spread, and I’m proud of what was created.

What have you gained and what have you lost?
Reaffirmation that I am always going to be very decidedly myself, my mind, and my hair.

Your act includes “God Save the Queen.” Tell me about what you are saying with this royal reference.
When I created this act I was hanging out with a lot of the older punks in my area. They were pretty split on their ideals, but when discussing monarchy I was pretty much on the fence, listening to both sides of the argument. I guess, in my naivety, I thought the problem was I couldn’t relate since I came from such a different world. Which then led to me parodying this in my act. 

Speaking of queens, you have large – how shall I put it? – broad appeal in the gay community. Tell me about that.
Well, someone asked me the other day if I thought it was weird for me to go on stage with my tittles out, having men gawk. I said "it’s not just straight men that come to shows; it’s straight women, lesbians, gays, trans, queens, blacks, white, Asians, Indians, young, old, rich, and those who don’t have two £1’s to rub together." And I’m humbled by everyone who takes time out of their life to watch me perform.

Your gigs are timed with NYC Fashion Week. Will you attend some shows? What appeals to you?
I am very excited for Fashion Week and I’m scheduling in as much as I can, including Marc Jacobs and The Blonds. However, as this is my first Fashion Week, I am more than open to show suggestions. I just want to absorb it and have a great time!

If Kate called you on the cell.. what would you say to her?
"Fancy a cuppa?" – tea, that is.

Katrina Darling

Alexa Chung at Moschino, Karlie Kloss at Juicy Couture: 6 FNO Events You Need to Know

Lest you forget, Fashion’s Night Out 2012 is next Thursday, September 6. To ensure that you’re not absurdly overwhelmed with options to the point that you resort to falling asleep in fetal position—with phone in hand!—at 9pm that night, I’ve rounded up the top six NYC events worth breaking out of hermit mode for. From Alexa Chung at Moschino to Havaianas and Opening Ceremony at Ace Hotel, dust off your comfiest of kicks and get to planning.

1. Moschino (401 W. 14th St): We hear that perpetual It girl (and burgeoning fashion designer) Alexa Chung is set to host and deejay Moschino’s FNO soirée at their Meatpacking store. Expect lots of Peter Pan collars and festive Belvedere libations. 6 to 9pm.

2. Ace Hotel (20 W. 29th St): In honor of Havaianas‘ 50th anniversary and Opening Ceremony‘s 10th anniversary, the two iconic brands are teaming up for a massive bash at—where else?—Ace Hotel. Ever the innovators, OC is sprucing up Havaianas’ original flip-flop style with limited edition pins. 100% of the proceeds will benefit Broome Street Academy. 6 to 8pm.

3. Juicy Couture (650 Fifth Ave): Instead of social media stalking one of the world’s top models in the privacy of your home, swing by Juicy Couture’s flagship to view "a carefully curated exhibit of Karlie Kloss’ Instagram photos," which will also serve as the backdrop for a digital photo booth. We’re told that customers who make a JC purchase from 6 to 7pm can have their photo taken with Kloss by Vogue‘s director of photography Ivan Shaw, so don’t lag. 6 to 9pm.

4. Balenciaga (542 W. 22nd St): Are you a crazy cat lady who loves Balenciaga? If so, this is the event for you. Swing by the French fashion house’s flagship to see Vogue creative director Grace Coddington‘s fiery hair in the flesh while you fawn over a capsule collection inspired by her cat, Pumpkin. 6 to 9pm.

5. Bergdorf Goodman (754 Fifth Ave): When in doubt during FNO, hit up Bergdorfs. The legendary department store always features free swag, sweet celebrity appearances and overall action worth your while. This year is particularly cool because BG is celebrating its 111th anniversary, so it’s sure to be chock-full with bells and whistles. In addition to a performance by The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, there will be astrologers on hand to either make or break your night, as well as appearances by designers Thakoon Panichgul, Michael Bastian, Rachel Zoe and Lela Rose. 6 to 9pm.

6. Swarovski (499 Broadway): The luxury jeweler has tapped none other than artist and activist Yoko Ono to design two limited-edition crystal key cuts, which will be released exclusively at their SWAROVSKI CRYSTALLIZED™ store and online. Apparently, the $350 "Key to Open the Universe" piece unlocks "the door to the forest with its secrets, to the sky with its peacefulness, to the universe with its infinity, to a future with a promise for a better life," so you might want to pick one of those up. 6 to 9pm.

Honorable mentions: If live music is what you’re looking for, hit up M.A.C. Cosmetics (506 Broadway) to catch Azealia Banks or Manolo Blahnik (31 W. 54th St) for…wait for it…Cyndi Lauper

Photo via Fashion’s Night Out

Azealia Banks Gets Her Own MAC Lipstick

There’s many metrics of when you’ve finally "made it" and one of them is when you get your own MAC lipstick. So congratulations, Azealia Banks: the Harlem-born rapper is the face of the limited edition Yung Rapunxel, a trendy matte plum lipstick.

Yung Rapunxel is available September 6 to 20 at MAC stores on on maccosmetics.com. How convenient that Azealia Banks is also performing at the MAC store in SoHo for Fashion’s Night Out!

She joins other MAC girls like Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga who’ve gotten their own limited edition lipsticks. Damn, MAC is putting out lippies faster than we can wear them.

Photo Tour: Inside Nicola Formichetti’s Spectacular Concept Store

Just like any project that Nicola Formichetti’s name is attached to, his highly anticipated New York concept store has everyone talking. With the help of Gaga/Clemenceau Architects, 50 Walker Street has transformed into a mirrored prism filled with all of the Lady Gaga stylist and Thierry Mugler creative director’s favorite things. Naturally, his favorite things are unlike anyone else’s, from imaginative installations to his new virtual gaming venture with CCP that’s sure to become the next tech tool for fashion. See highlights from my chat with both Formichetti and his muse, Zombie Boy – as well as a bonus video – after the jump.

image Formichetti explains the concept behind the store’s theme: “I wanted to find a medium that relates to all the work that I do. Mirrors fit because they reflect and multiply things – as does my work.”

image The shop also hosts covetable pieces from Formichetti’s Thierry Mugler FW11 footwear collection, which we highlighted here.

image With BOFFO providing him with full creative freedom, Formichetti also used the shop as a platform for up-and-coming designers like Asher Levine. “I’m a hero for the underdog,” he explains. “It’s always nice to share your success with other people.” Above are a few of Levine’s creations. image A collection of Lady Gaga’s costumes. “Whether it’s one of Gaga’s looks or a $20 t-shirt I’m selling at this store, they’re all equally important to me,” Formichetti explains.”

image Delectable vintage Versace.

image Above center: $650 Swarovski-encrusted panda ring sold exclusive at the shop.

image “I’m more of a circus performer,” Formichetti’s muse, Zombie Boy, explains. When I asked which fashion designer he’d like to work with next, he provided a rather loyal response: “I like working with Nicola, so I’ll just continue doing that.”

A series of videos looped on LCD screens at the shop entrance. Watch Formichetti swaying in colored sand below.

Porsche Design Hosts High-End Party for FNO in LA

Last night in Los Angeles, the usual FNO frenzy ensued as stores big and small vied for consumers’ attention all over West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, using all manner of hype. But a dark undercurrent of doubt was heavy in the air at several events, as retailers struggled to convince cash-strapped potential buyers to do more than drink free wine and to actually purchase pricey designer duds. But things are different for the super rich, and so was the scene at Beverly Hills’ Porsche Design retail location just off of Rodeo Drive.

Porsche CEO Juergen Gessler (pictured) even flew in from Germany for the occasion, and he was bullish on his brand (the car company owns a small percentage of Porsche Design) despite still generally gloomy economic conditions for the retail sector in America.

“We’re doing well,” he said as guests drank wine and surveyed the selection of sunglasses, luggage, and jeans at the small store. Guests were invited to check out the orange Porsche Design “P’1820 Scarf,” which was limited to 200 pieces around the world.

The German company’s only L.A.-adjacent location (an Orange County outpost also exists) is somewhat insulated from the recession in that their Beverly Hills store caters to wealthy locals and European tourists who frequent the area. Putting retail outlets in the heart of the world’s top shopping destinations is a strategy that seems to be working out for the burgeoning brand, with high profit margins (some of their sunglasses go for around $400 and jeans sell in the $400 to $600 range). A new Soho location is set to open up on West Broadway this fall, proving to be just the latest example of PD’s ascendant spirit, with stores ringing in profits everywhere from Dubai to Shanghai. There are almost 30 Porsche Design Stores in China alone, one of the biggest markets for the luxury brand.

In North America, Porsche Design is still growing. “We have Miami, Boston, San Francisco and more but we are excited about other cities such as Chicago,” said Gessler. “We had 7 stores in 2004. Now we have over 100.”

So what’s the secret of the design group’s success?

“What’s happening in the market is that you have to show you personality by wearing something with status,” he said. According to the CEO, in a recession, status is everything. “We’re driven by the customer.”

Luckily for Gessler, it seems his typical customer has money to burn…or at least they want to convey as much in 2011.

Porsche Design hosts another FNO-related event at their Dusseldorf location tonight and then Saturday in New Delhi.

Miss Piggy & More at Opening Ceremony’s Funtastic Fashion’s Night Out Carnival

Although an exhausting first day of NYFW made me want to curl up in the fetal position and weep, I broke away from my sanctuary at the Renaissance Times Square to explore our recommended Fashion’s Night Out offerings. One standout event was Opening Ceremony’s Argentina-themed carnival at the Ace Hotel. From Belvedere vodka-spiked snow cones to a live Miss Piggy performance, OC founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon (above, welcoming the guest of honor) hosted an evening of inventive nostalgia that kept everyone partying until the wee hours of the night.

Word spread fast when OC dreamed up a spectacular French flea market for FNO last year, so it’s no surprise that the entry line for this year’s event was already massive by 6pm. And good luck getting in if you arrived after 8pm, when the real-deal Miss Piggy unveiled the new Muppets x Opening Ceremony collection. Attendees were simply having too much fun to leave their spots inside the capacity-filled room. You can’t really blame them for sticking around when guests like Spike Jonze were casually taking in some carnival games, and designer Delfina Delettrez was on hand to read your aura read at her mystical booth. See below for some pictorial highlights.

image The Rodarte booth served up cotton candy, limited edition t-shirts, and a magician performing sleight-of-hand tricks.

image Mini zapato keychains in the OC Ace Hotel gift shop. image A Tumblr photobooth station provided instant snap keepsakes for the night. Photos were also uploaded in real time on Opening Ceremony’s newly launched Tumblr site.

image The festivities continued outside of the hotel with Muppet-themed carnival games…

image …and brand market booths. This Jansport backpack is just my size.

image The guest of honor, Miss Piggy, basking in her glorious return to the stage.

The Top 4 Fashion’s Night Out Events to Catch in Both New York & Los Angeles

By now you’ve seen your share of Fashion’s Night Out event round-ups, but let’s be honest – do you really think you’ll have the time and energy to hit up every single goings-on? If you’re like us, then you’ve already learned from FNO’s first and second years that planting yourself at a handful of solid events is all you really need do to fully enjoy the full experience. Plus, September 8 is on a Thursday, not Friday, so it might be wise to take it slightly easy. With that in mind, read on for our list of best-bet FNO events in New York and Los Angeles so you can streamline your party plan.

New York

Who: Opening Ceremony What: Our favorite conceptual retailer is hosting El Mercado de Carnaval de Opening Ceremony – a carnival market inspired by Argentina. The event will feature live performers in designer dudes from the likes of Suno and Proenza Schouler, a Delfina Delettrez mystical booth, a PS1 bag raffle (really!), and a Miss Piggy photo booth. Flyer above and more info here. Where: Ace Hotel – 20 West 29th Street When: 6-10pm

Who: Alexander Wang What: The cool-kid label is hosting a good ol’ talent show, with performers showcasing their talent in front of a live audience. Winners will be selected by Alex Wang and surprise celebrity judges and will be awarded with prizes from the brand’s collection. There will also be a window installation by artist Saulo Madrid with Alkemie Atelier, providing a unique interactive experience for audiences both inside and outside of the store. Where: Alexander Wang Boutique – 103 Grand Street When: 7:30pm-?

Who: DKNY What: Shoppers who spend $250 or more will receive a free DVD of the brilliant documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, along with a limited edition tote bag. Ever the social media supporters, the brand has also partnered with mobile application Pose to broadcast fan snaps on DKNY’s Facebook page. More info. Where: DKNY Boutique – 655 Madison Avenue When: 6pm-?

Who: Realm Boutique What: Get styled by event hosts Chelsea Leyland, Lissy Trullie, The Man Repeller, May Kwok, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Susie Bubble as you shop Realm’s covetable threads. By the way, Blake Lively stopped by the boutique’s event last year, so who knows who else might roll through. Where: Realm Boutique – 98 Green Street When: 6-11pm

Next: The Best of LA Los Angeles

Who: 3.1 Phillip Lim What: Enjoy a live performance by NYC-based band Cults as you sip on tequila and grub on bites from Vietnamese eatery, Xoia. You can also dig into some serious remorse-free shopping, as all proceeds benefit Silverlake Conservatory of Music. Where: 3.1 Phillip Lim Boutique – 631 North Robertson Blvd. When: 7-10pm

Who: Smashbox Studios and Ron Herman What: The event will feature a pop-up Smashbox photo studio with fashion photographer Diana Koenigsberg offering complimentary photo sessions for shoppers. J Brand is debuting exclusive FNO jean and eyewear label Oliver Peoples is presenting three exclusive frames for the evening. Where: Ron Herman at Fred Segal – 8100 Melrose Avenue When: 6-11pm

Who: Opening Ceremony What: Just like it’s NYC counterpart, the West Coast version of Opening Ceremony is also hosting a night of Argentine flair, complete with fresh empanadas, Solsticio wine, and exclusive FNO merch by Keds, Olympia Le-Tan, Jansport, Pamela Love, and more. OCLA is also partnering with LA shop RTH to create custom leather bracelets stamped with your initials. More info. Where: OCLA – 451 N. La Cienega Blvd. When: 6-9pm

Who: Westfield Century City What: We all know the Westfield shopping center chain knows how to get down, so we’re not surprised that the Century City outpost is hosting a jam-packed FNO this year. The night will be hosted by none other than LL Cool J and will feature live music, food, drinks, makeup and blowdry bars, mini manicures, a fashion show, and a bevy of surprise celebrity appearances. Even the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, is said to be stopping by. Where: Westfield Century City – 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. When: 6-10pm

The Best Beauty Events of Fashion’s Night Out

On September 8, Fashion’s Night Out will once again transform New York into one giant block party celebrating commerce. The lineup of events has just been released on a new and improved site that allows you to navigate and plan for what could easily turn into an overwhelming haul. I’ve cherry-picked a few of the top beauty events to check out, from fun giveaways to stellar appearances by luminaries of the beauty industry. Locations and events are still being added, so make sure to double back for updates.

All Chanel Stores will be giving complementary mini-manicures with the line’s exclusive FNO Nail Colour Collection.

The NARS store on Bleecker Street will host Mr. Nars himself to introduce two products that have been exclusively created for FNO.

Maybelline will set up shop at Ganesvoort Plaza on Little West 12th Street and 9th Avenue, giving away tubes of cult-classic favorite Great Lash mascara, as well as offering mini-makeovers.

New York City’s ultimate beauty resource, Ricky’s is celebrating 20 years by serving cocktails at their 87th Street store and doing free blow outs and makeovers with a Ricky’s purchase.

Sephora’s 119 Fifth Ave. location will have DDF’s creator, Dr. Howard Sobel, in store to do consultations. From 6-11pm.

Nail polish staple Essie will team up with Teen Vogue on Bleeker Street and West 11th Street from 6-10pm to do nails with celebrity manicurist Elle Gerstein, who will give her take on tips, tricks, and trends.