Mayor Bloomberg’s speech at this morning’s designer-packed Fashion’s Night Out press conference at City Hall was peppered with style-related jokes and, dare we say, it sounded like he’d been boning up on his fall fashion! At least regarding flared pants: “The men and women standing up here are the fashion-world stars,” he began. “If they say that boot-cut pants are back in style, then boot-cut pants are back in style. If they say capes are en vogue, then capes are en vogue.” He paused for effect and surveyed his own outfit. “And if they say a simple navy suit is the epitome of sophistication, then who are we to argue with that?”
Bloomberg did (sort of adorably) butcher Prabal Gurung’s name — twice — when he mentioned the CFDA’s latest efforts to fund young talent, but never mind that! The press conference felt like a big, warm-and-fuzzy Fashion Week pep rally, complete with an all-star cheerleading squad featuring Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Mary-Kate Olsen, Tommy Hilfiger, Alexander Wang, Carolina Herrera, Tory Burch, Jack McCollough, Lazaro Hernandez, and many other designers who crowded behind the lectern. And with good reason: From the sound of things, if you thought last year’s Fashion’s Night Out was a circus, it’s a freakin’ county fair compared to what this year’s extravaganza will be. Nearly 1,000 stores have already signed up to participate (last year it was 800), and festivities will include a “public” fashion show at Lincoln Center on September 7 (as previously announced, it will include more than 150 models and room for 1,500 public spectators, making it the largest fashion show in New York City history).
In case anyone had forgotten just how crazy Fashion’s Night Out got last year, Marc Jacobs stepped up to the lectern to jog some memories. “My office is two blocks away from our Mercer Street shop, and I had promised to go over to the Mercer Street shop [on Fashion’s Night Out] — it took me about two hours to get two blocks, because I was stopped every two minutes by people out on the street,” he recalled. This was a good thing, because he likes to see customers doing things the old-fashioned way: “It felt like what I think fashion and shopping is all about, which is a social ritual that people enjoy. It’s the exchange between the customers and the salespeople,” he said. “Being the Luddite that I am, I was really happy to see people not in front of their computer screen and adding to their cart, but actually getting out and being on the streets of the city.”
Tickets for the giant public fashion show start at $25 and will be available at the Lincoln Center box office starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 19 (proceeds from ticket sales benefit the NYC AIDS fund). “But if you can’t get a ticket, don’t fret!” Bloomberg said, noting that CBS.com will be broadcasting the show live online. CBS will also air an hour-long special on “the making of Fashion’s Night Out” on Tuesday, September 14.
Back to Bloomberg’s fashion quips, because we can’t get enough of them: In talking about the genesis of Fashion’s Night Out, he joked that he hadn’t had much choice in the matter. “When [Wintour and Diane Von Furstenberg] came to me and said, ‘You’re going to do this”—I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid, so I certainly listened to them. And it turned out to be an even better idea than any of us thought it was going to be.”
He also got all philosophical about the cultural meaning of fashion when he addressed Fashion Week’s move to Lincoln Center: “Fashion Week moving to Lincoln Center is really the nexus between the visual arts and the performing arts. The visual arts in clothing and what it looks like; the performing arts in how you wear it, what it does to you, what people think about it, and how it influences your behavior. And what better place to have Fashion Week than in Lincoln Center, which is the performing-arts capital of the world?” At this moment, Wintour, who silently clutched her sunglasses while standing near Bloomberg throughout the announcements, actually beamed.