Fashion’s Night Out, despite sounding grammatically incorrect when spoken, is a hugely successful idea. There’s amazing talent and food and some decent freebies, but for the most part it encourages pretty people to dress up, buy stuff, and stop traffic. We heard reports that SoHo was like a parking lot last night; a guy skateboarding with a ghettoblaster (no doubt part of the evening’s festivities) was going faster than my friend’s taxi on Spring. My station for the evening, the West Village, had backups of its own, but more on that later.
For all its achievements, however, FNO is a lot like New Year’s Eve. Another awkward possessive, yes, but it’s also invariably a let-down. A night where you walk around in uncomfortable shoes from place to place, wait in line for hours of your life you’ll never get back while taller people are let in right in front of you, and all to get into some crowded room where the cocktails are watery and you just can’t seem to get served a glass of champagne.
That was my experience last night, anyway. We started our evening at Christian Louboutin. The line was around the corner but only had about 20 people ahead of us. Through the glass windows, behind towers of shoes and towering wigs wearing shoes, we could see people lounging on a large ottoman while drinking something yellow. A waiter with a tray of red and white paper cones filled with unknown food would occasionally pass.
It seemed low-key enough, until Johnny showed up.
All of a sudden, it became clear to me that the other people on line were either 16 or 45–average fan age for the fabulous gay ice skater Johnny Weir. The star graciously stopped for photos with all of them, then rudely cut the line. After about half an hour inside, the Olympian exited, showing off his gold Louboutins and taking more photos with middle-aged groupies, who somehow were “on the list” and cut us, too.
Ninety-minutes into our wait time, we were at the head of the line, but seriously considering defecting for someplace where we had to pay for our cocktails but would at least be guaranteed to receive them. Finally, the doorman looked at us and asked, “Are you on the list?”
“No,” I said. He raised his eyebrows and seemed to think for a moment, but then opened the door wider and let us in anyway.
Once inside, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. There were empty couches everywhere, but they didn’t seem like they were furniture. We grabbed a couple of the yellow drinks, which tasted like pineapple Vitamin water, quickly downed them and grabbed another. Some women were holding champagne glasses but we couldn’t locate the source. The red and white cone lady came by, and I got one–inside was popcorn, and it wasn’t even truffled! We left.
Next stop was West 11th Street and Bleecker, where Teen Vogue was hosting a street fair. Arizona teas was making mocktail smoothies, Vans were on sale, and, the coolest thing by far, Essie sponsored a nail salon. We tried to get manicures but, at 8:30, the outdoor salon was fully committed for the evening.
We tried to get some dinner at L’Artusi on West 10th, but they, too, had an hour wait, and we were done with lines. On our way to someplace less Fashion Weeky, we passed a few stores on 10th that didn’t have lines at all.
Castor & Pollux had puppies, lots of them, who followed us around as we snacked on the complimentary salami while looking at the store’s eclectic selection of dresses and belts. They also had a mystery casserole, which might have had leeks or potatoes in it, and some creamy red stuff to slather on it with a wooden spoon. It was yummy, but as no one would serve us the champagne everyone was drinking, we left there, too.
Next door, at Madame Matovu, we hit the jackpot. As soon as we walked in, the lovely proprietor, Rosemary Wettenhall, offered us some bubbly, while she gushed at how exciting it was to see so many new faces in her treasure chest of a vintage shop. We gushed, too, over the gold-sequined YSL jacket, the enormous clip-on rhinestone earrings, the turquoise feather fascinator. Rosemary even walked around with a crystal tray loaded with individually wrapped Belgian chocolates. Now, that’s the kind of service we expect on a Night Out.