Sunday, September 12, 2010

Deep thoughts about Fashion's Night Out in Georgetown

I was pleased to find myself on the “VIP” list for all the Fashion’s Night Out. The atmosphere was fun, the crowds were out, and I managed to keep my ankles intact in my heels on the brick sidewalks.

It was nice to see everyone out in Georgetown on a beautiful night, doing their thing—whether it be eating, shopping, or a little of each.  But I had a few beefs with  the event.

The deals: Being open until 11 p.m. isn’t a deal. If all it says on the map next to your store is “come see us at Fashion’s Night Out!” I’m not going to get that excited.

The “deals”: Free gift with a purchase of $150? A percentage off if you spend $300? I couldn’t even start to look at the racks in some of the stores.  My list of places to visit shortened pretty quickly.

The perks: My dietary-restricted date for the night couldn’t enjoy any of the stores with free wine, so we were in search of champagne. The offerings were quite modest in most places, and those with more generous servings were packed so tightly it wasn’t worth waiting in line. Was anyone really shopping, or were they waiting in line for one piece of sushi and a glass of champy at Intermix?  The thumbs-down of the night goes to Betsey Johnson, which had advertised a garden party on their back patio with wine and Baked and Wired cupcakes. We were greeted by a very cheerful associate when we entered the store, but she chirped, “Oh, and your Betsey Johnson purchase is your ticket to the party out back.”

Well, that’s not what the map says.  But, I wasn’t going to argue. We noshed elsewhere. Betsey Johnson, I love you, but I could not even touch anything on the sale rack.

The timing: We scrambled up and down M Street to visit all our desired stops before heading up to the fashion show around 9. I would have liked more time to browse. 5-11 next time, Georgetown?  Pretty please?

The fashion show: The show was held for a limited crowd at TD Bank on Wisconsin Avenue. By the time the show started, Wisconsin that high up (around Q, or on “Book Hill” as it was marketed….never heard that one before) was already pretty quiet. The show was held to benefit a great cause (no really, the organization is called Cause), and the fashion was nice.  But the emceeing involved a lot of unnecessary explanation of outfits, and some seating would have been nice.  Basically, I did a lot of awkward standing around at the back of the runway during the entire show. So if you see any videos….there I will be.

TD Bank, however, gets the evening’s big thumbs-up for nosh, with substantial appetizers and sweet “mocktails” made by the restaurant that, in the words of Erik Wemple, causes NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST (Mie N Yu.).  

Why did we hide all the cute clothing from the masses at this “exclusive” fashion show?  I didn’t see any names there.  It wasn’t the hot gossip site for the evening. I would have loved an elevated runway and a sleek show to mimic the polished acts at New York’s fashion week.  If you want to play with the big kids, you gotta do it right.

Final word: a solid B.  It’s Georgetown’s first attempt, and it was without a doubt successful. I definitely had a blast. But Georgetown isn’t a place that needs to attract shoppers with money, and I still feel like an outsider in the Georgetown fashion community.

Whatever.  Being frugal pays in the end.


Miranda said...

Thanks for the review, for a second I thought about going. I LOVE Zara and some of the chain stores in Georgetown, I've never been overly excited by the boutiques. It would definitely be fun if my girlfriends were more into fashion to gather them up and do a little want to be Sex in the City night.
What is exciting is seeing D.C. as a whole taking more of an active role in the fashion world - at least we are trying.
I agree if they say there is going to be a "party" or free drinks or appetizers they should deliver.

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