The Fashion Mall FNO 2011 Report

If you weren’t “in the know,” our very own Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing participated in the national event, Fashion’s Night Out, this past Thursday evening. Stores which participate register with the official, NYC-based organization and pay a fee to participate.   The Fashion Mall planned events from 6-11pm that evening, including free food samples, cash bar, vendor tables, fashion displays and several short fashion shows just outside Nordstrom (who wasn’t an official participator).  Their music was equally as up and boisterous as the emcee, drawing a fair crowd to the seating area. Helen Wells provided models for the narrated fashion shows.

Having never experienced Fashion’s Night Out here or in any city, I was curious to find out how the stores would promote themselves, the event and fashion in general. I decided to stop by two very different stores; Lucky Brand Jeans and BCBG Max Azria in the Fashion Mall.

I stopped in to Lucky Jeans first, at about 6:30. The first thing I noticed is that while the Nordstrom end of the mall was already quite crowded, this area of the mall was fairly dead. Lucky Jeans had a sandwich board outside of their store, and along with the mall flyer (which I found lying on tables throughout the mall), this seemed to be their only advertisement. In fact, one of the retail associates who worked the store that evening did not know about the event until she arrived to work. Both associates were extremely friendly, and suggested that the event might be advertised with the Herron school as well as IUPUI to boost attendance in the future.

Lucky Jeans had set up a snack area (moon pies, mmm), had a store wide 20% off sale and a rack of “sneak peek” fall items. They also had some items on display near the fashion show area at the other end of the mall. Their location in the mall was a little unfortunate, not being close enough to either Saks (which was hopping) or the fashion show area near Nordstrom ( also a hive of activity). Unless it picked up a lot after I left, I doubt their participation in FNO helped their sales much.

I was interested to see their fall preview, however: the palette being warm browns, raspberry/maroon and loden green. Animal print (leopard), faux ikat print and touches of fur were mixed in with corduroy and lightweight sweater knits.  I was interested to see the super skinny cut of the corduroy pants, as well.  Their store is set up in to maximize the amount of product in the smallish store, with jeans, t-s, belts and tops stacked and hung everywhere. That with the low lighting makes it feel a bit cave-like and it may make it harder to entice shoppers into the store.

BCBG was a totally different feel. I finally felt I was in a high fashion environment when I stepped into the store. Though they did not have a FNO sign outside the store, the bright, beautiful displays drew me in and they were fairly busy. BCBG had models wandering the store, and an offering of champagne. Aha. Though I felt incredibly underdressed, I felt like this was the upscale “feel” that I was craving for FNO.  Jeans I can buy anywhere, but here I could find some really beautifully designed pieces that could really make an impact on my wardrobe.   The store is fairly large, and the displays were laid out in a way to draw me through the store. The items had enough visual space so I felt everything had a lot of impact–they know their visual merchandising at BCBG.

BCBG did not have any special sales for FNO (having just had their big Labor Day sale), but they were launching a new perfume. They had already switched their inventory to fall offerings: greys, blues, more leopard print, fur and leather, jewel tone sweater knit sets and very pared down shapes.  Yummy. For not much more than a pair of Lucky Jeans I could have walked out with a savvy knit black dress with a leather feature.  That is how shopping should feel: you should feel like you just had an opportunity to indulge in something very special.

Images courtesy of Marc McCoy

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