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Anna Wintour came up with such a genius idea, and it actually worked,” Hilfiger told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “I think it’s not just about the shopping that night, I think it’s the idea of getting out there _ exposing the fact that fashion can be fun. … It doesn’t have to be this serious thing that’s too expensive. Fashion and shopping doesn’t have to be anything but fun.”

Getting face-time with his customers is another of the event’s positive side, said Hilfiger, who held court Thursday night at Macy’s Manhattan flagship with singer Joss Stone: “To see them and hear directly from them is pretty cool.”

Last year’s extended hours and blitz of promotions and entertainment provided a measurable sales lift for merchants, said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which tracks cash as well as credit transactions. He estimated that sales nationwide at department stores and clothing chains were up 2 percent on Fashion’s Night Out last year, compared with the 2009 period that was limited to events in New York. Shoes and teen clothing fared the best, he added.

Hilfiger agreed that FNO’s economic impact has grown wildly in the last three years. “People ARE shopping,” he said at Macy’s. “It’s 100-fold compared to any other Thursday. We sell a lot of clothes.” Just as important, “it’s such a good time. People love to come out. … It brings out people from all walks of life.”

QVC marked its 25th anniversary at a pop-up location in Soho with a live broadcast. Fashion fans sipped wine and Pellegrino as they waited for Heidi Klum, Isaac Mizrahi, Melania and Donald Trump and others to walk the red carpet and sell their lines.

“Fashion’s Night Out is not for the faint of heart. You have to know how to party!” said Mizrahi.

QVC CEO Mike George said the event was “really about our customers. We don’t get to meet them very often.”

Kris Jenner, among the designers taking part in the QVC event, said she created her line with older women in mind who aren’t served well by mainstream fashion: “I wasn’t ready to give up on myself. We want to feel good, too.”

In Mexico City, which joined the global celebration for the first time, events included the opening of a four-day exhibit called “A tribute to Mexico,” in which 13 international designers, including Christian Cota of Mexico, Nicole Miller, Tommy Hilfiger and Tory Burch, created outfits for the hand-made Maria doll, a ragdoll with long braids adorned with colored ribbons, sold in tourist areas.

“Those designers have to develop collections, their time is limited, but they accepted to do this, and that is a great triumph for us,” Eva Hugues, editorial director of Vogue Mexico & Latin America, said.

Hugues also said she hoped Fashion’s Night Out would promote the work of Mexican designers. “Instead of wearing a cardigan by Tory Burch, I want to wear one by Macario Jimenez. We want it to be affordable for the public, that they can consume it,” Hugues said.

FNO events in Mexico City took place in malls and in the upscale Polanco neighborhood, which houses “Luxury Avenue,” where Tiffany planned to turn its flagship store into a type of Studio 54. On that same avenue, the Salvatore Ferragamo store planned a karaoke party with Latin Grammy winner band Belanova.

In New York, Kors said it was a “fabulous coincidence” that his Rockefeller Center store launch lined up with Fashion’s Night Out. His fans included Fashion Institute of Technology Jamie Vega, who bought a watch and had the designer sign her bag.

“This is so exciting to meet him in person,” she said. “I’m a fashion student after all.”

At Bergdorf Goodman, about 200 people gathered to watch designers including Mark Badgley, James Mischka, Reem Acra and John Barrett trot out their dogs for a fashion contest. Designs ranged from wedding dresses to bright pink feather collars and a fur-trimmed storm coat.

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