Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fashion's Night Out at Lord & Taylor

This past Thursday, the 10th of September was the day of a glorious event called Fashion's Night Out. Hundreds of department stores and boutiques participated in said event, attracting thousands, if not millions of people. Main points of attraction were celebrity appearances and free giveaways of awesome stuff to some lucky schmucks. My choice fell on Lord & Taylor department store that promised loads of gifts, drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

As I entered the store, I was faced with a long line for shiny keys that might or might not have been a match for just under 20 different boxes holding prizes. Everyone was entitled to a key, but only people who RSVP'd could get a special edition Fashion's Night Out t-shirt made especially for this event. These tees were also sold for about $30, and most of the proceeds were said to go to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
While standing in line to get my key, I saw a few models, whose names I can't recall, posing for pictures in the HP salon, where a new Vivienne Tam HP netbook, dubbed the Digital Clutch, was the star of the show. I was able to get my hands on the said accessory later on, but I can't say that I was impressed with the specs of the thing, although aesthetically it was quite pleasing.
The line moved quick, coupled with complimentary champagne and Godiva chocolates, and as soon as I got my key, I got on a shorter line for the first prize box that was holding VH1 Save the Music Diva concert tickets. My key was not a match, so I went off to look for three more boxes on this floor. Suddenly, I heard a terrible screech that was trying to produce something that sounded like Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." It turned out that there was a karaoke contest on this floor, so to save my ears, I quickly browsed through the remaining three boxes holding 4 tickets to a New York Yankees game, a mink headpiece from Ben Kahn (eww), and a handbag wardrobe from Radley London, and went up to the second floor empty-handed.

The second floor of L&T was hands down the hottest spot in this building. Why? Because a few fine men featured in a little thing called NYC Firefighter's Calendar were there! Mmmuscly men. They were signing calendars and having chit-chats with the female population ranging from about 5 years old to women in their 70's. One lady from the latter group exclaimed, "My daughter called me and said they were here and that they were so hot, I just had to come down here to see it for myself!" I, however, was not able to get in the action because I did not make a $50 purchase that enabled me to get a free calendar. Boohoo. But I'm pretty sure one of the hotter guys winked at me after I unconsciously starred at him for a bit too long.

Next to the husky heroes, I found three more boxes, but once again, my key did not match any of the locks. So no 4G iPod™ shuffle and 2 tickets to see "Rock of Ages," a pair of shoes per month for 1 year from AK Anne Klein Shoes, or a pair of shoes per month for one year from Born for me. Discouraged, I moved towards a martini bar, which cheered me up within moments. A handsome waiter suggested I try one of the cute mini pastries he had on his tray, and oh my god, it was delicious! After trying some bruschetta and quiches on other floors, I gotta say that the catering company deserves a round of applause for the food and service.

While sipping on my drink, I noticed a long line leading to a table with a couple of women dressed in black surrounding someone else. Confused, I asked one of the employees what that was about. She informed me that Joyce Azria, the Creative Director of BCBGeneration, was there signing t-shirts and giving style tips. I was offered to fill out a raffle ticket for a chance to win a trip for two to Los Angeles to spend a day at BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP with Joyce Azria. I did so but did not get in line. Instead, I went over to check out new BCBG leather jackets located conveniently right beside Mrs. Azria. I did not get my t-shirt signed but I did get to say “hi” to her. Good enough for me.
Also on this floor, there was a Stud Your Ugg event, where you could get a complimentary crystal appliqué transferred on your Uggs with any UGG purchase. Miss Sixty sponsored an airbrush tattoo event, and if your feet felt tired, you could get a foot massage, compliments of Ellen Tracy and Elie Tahari.
The socialite society seemed to prefer the third floor. Patrick McMullan, an A-list celebrity photographer and Vogue’s editor Lauren Santo Domingo were the attraction of the floor. McMullan’s book was being given as a gift with purchase and he was there to sign it, while Santo Domingo gave style tips to women and men. I did not stay long on this floor. Long-legged, modelesque girls kind of intimidated me. My key did not unlock any gifts, which included a deluxe Patrick McMullan signed book collection, tickets to the Badgley Mischka Runway Show at Fashion Week and an Anne Klein NY $1000 wardrobe.
Fourth floor was not much fun, for me at least. A celebrity yoga instructor did some moves and the writer of Michelle Style signed free-with-purchase copies of her book. Prizes included a $1000 value of Calvin Klein Sportswear wardrobe, which someone had already won by the time I got there, and a free 1-hour one-on-one private yoga session with the said yoga instructor, Kristin McGee.
Next up, a little fashion show. Jeff Mahshie put together cute, trendy outfits that were pleasing to the eye and look comfortable as well. None of that runway nonsense that would get you either laughed at or arrested if seen in public. Every piece could be found stocked at Lord & Taylor; in fact, I might go back to buy a beautiful tan wool jacket I saw on one of the models. In addition to champagne, I believe sushi was served. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, the plates were empty. I also could not find a box holding a $500 shopping spree at L&T, but later was informed that the box was removed after someone had opened it and claimed her prize.
Floors six and seven were a snooze fest. Floor six, being a coat department, had a $1000 worth of ladies’ coat wardrobe giveaway. The children’s department on the seventh floor was giving away a copy of Julianne Moore’s book for kids Freckle face Strawberry.
The lingerie department promised to have an “informal modeling” of the newest stock. I did not see anyone walking around in their undergarments when I was there. Maybe I just missed it? But I did see the promised eyebrow-shaping booth, which gave complimentary makeovers with a $50 purchase of CK lingerie. Hanky Panky monogrammed panties for free with a $60 purchase. Giveaways included a pair of pajamas per month for 1 year (did not specify a brand) and a $1000 Oasis Day Spa gift certificate.
Entering the ninth floor felt like entering another time. Probably because it was the 80’s music fest. Sales associates were rocking out to Blondie’s “Call Me,” and I was enjoying a sip of delicious champagne, courtesy of Only Nine. The box with a prize had been opened by someone who won an hour with a personal stylist and $500 to spend.
The Men’s department on the tenth, and final floor greeted me with more drinks and music by Z100’s DJ. I bought a shirt for a present, but it was not enough to get a free iPod shuffle, which Nautica was giving away with a $150 purchase. I had only been able to find one box out of the three, holding 2 field-level tickets to the Yankees vs. Toronto game, which meant that someone had already gotten their hands on a $500 Wardrobe from Tommy Bahama and 2 tickets to the Giants vs. Oakland game.
I then went back to the second floor to get another martini and noticed that Joyce Azria was still there and the line had not diminished. She was supposed to leave at 8 p.m. but it was now 9 o’clock and she kept signing t-shirts and talking with the guests. I was surprised by the lack of snobbishness, and it made me feel all fuzzy inside.
After killing my last martini, I headed towards the exit, tipsy and relaxed. This was a true party and I am happy I made the right choice of coming to my favorite department store to celebrate, and did not give into Saks’ temptation and promises of big celebrities. Booze, snacks, music, massages and a lot of giveaways are a great addition to fashion. They set the bar high and I cannot wait to see what they come up with next year.

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