Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out: The Lowdown (plus my contribution)

What am I looking forward to on Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out? Jeez, where to start? At the Vogue bloggers’ preview last Wednesday morning, I chatted to Alex Shulman and what seemed like half the Vogue staff about their magnificent plans for September 8th.

This year there are 340 designers and stores (at last count) taking part and for the first time, Bond Street is being entirely closed to traffic for the event. The night is planned with absolute military precision with each Vogue staffer allocated strict time slots at each store. “I become like a member of the royal family, I literally have someone pushing me along the street!” laughed Shulman. She emphasised that the event isn’t only about cash in the tills (although much of the money raised will go to Kids Company, including all profits from sales of the official Rob Ryan-designed FNO T-shirt) but a genuine call to celebrate fashion and style in a way that everyone can enjoy.

Bond Street will be the hub of all the action with street entertainers, a Kids Company choir and information booths to keep things running smoothly (and if you’re a serious fashion geek, there’s also a Foursquare-style app). Although there are umpteen new collections and products launching on the night and discounts galore, the interactive events will surely pull the most crowds.

This FNO is big on pop-up photo studios and roving photographers where you get to pose and take home a photo that can be kept, tweeted or Facebooked in true 21st century style. Combining our love of street style, social media and competitions, these include Anya Hindmarch’s “How Do You Wear Yours’ photo studio (pose with your favourite Anya bag and you could win it), Dior’s ‘Miss Dior’ taxi photo booth, Hermes’ ‘silk styling extravaganza’ and Armani Exchange’s Mixmag photo competition. If you pose in Russell & Bromley’s pop-up studio, you can win a year’s supply of shoes, while Mulberry – always good for a fash bash – is doing FNO in both its Bond Street and Brompton Road stores with photo booths, fortune tellers and nail painting. I love a bit of Mystic Meg action so I’ll be there with gypsy bells on. River Island promises style advisors, photo booths, free cocktails and flash mob dancers at its Oxford Street store.

Social Media queen, ‘DKNY Pr Girl’ will come to life in the DKNY store, where you can shop her closet and tweet with her all evening, as well as have an in-store makeover and pose in a New York cab outside. Miu Miu is hosting a 40s styling event with bloggers – dress up in your best 40s gladrags and the most fabulous get photographed for the Miu Miu and bloggers’ sites. Meanwhile, Show Me Your Wardrobe‘s Jackie Dixon will be at Tommy Hilfiger snapping customers for her blog (may as well take advantage of the 25% discount and goody bags while you’re there, no?).

I must give a shout out to Liberty London Girl who will be stationed at Starbucks, Conduit Street to announce the winner of a FNO design competition with Central St Martins students. (Hint: there will be free cake.) Read more on her blog. Blogger-model-DJ Bip Ling will be providing the soundtrack to your shopping at the Bally store.

On the culture front, famed illustrator David Downton will be giving a presentation on his favourite couture shows over at the Fashion Illustration Gallery while Beyond Retro will host a presentation for fashion industry wannabes where top stylists share their ladder-climbing tips.

If you’re not going to be in the West End, consider heading to the V&A Reading Rooms where Vogue’s first male editor Geoffrey Aquilina Ross will be reading from his book, The Day of the Peacock: Style for Men 1963-1973. (*IMPORTANT: This event is free but you will need to book in advance*)

I can absolutely not miss Rupert Sanderson’s roller disco in Bruton Place, nor Tiffany’s Warhol-style 70s disco, complete with photo booths, body painting and 70s hairstyling stations – total fabulosity guaranteed! If you haven’t had your fifteen minutes of fame yet, head to Topshop for its ‘Fashion Moments’ where you can make your own ‘fashion moment’ video clip.

Some of the busiest FNO events will surely be the beauty ones – who doesn’t love a bit of free pampering? As always, the beauty brands with their mega budgets will be sloshing out goody bags, free samples and all manner of fun makeovers. Selfridges’ beauty hall will be rammed as expected with too many shenanigans to mention here. Amongst them, Nars will be recreating its NYFW AW11 looks but you have to book (020 7 318 3135).

At the Vogue breakfast, I was told that Chanel’s manicures with Sophy Robson always invite the loooongest queues so you might want to start pitching your tent now for her plot at Chanel where she’ll be daubing nails with the new denim blue palette.

If you simply can’t get near Sophy, Essie is offering manicures at Smythson to match the new season Smythson colours. (Bonus! You can also scoff cupcakes and get your handwriting analysed…but maybe not at the same time).

Finally, I’ve saved the best til last. Covent Garden, Carnaby Street, Knightsbridge and even regional Harvey Nichols stores will be joining in with the FNO jollies. I will most definitely be putting in an appearance at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge to play some bonkers fashion fairground games and see the final display of the Secret Tees project that I’ve put together with my dream team of creative whizz kids. The results of the one-off tees designed by the likes of David David, Bip Ling and Yang Du are being emailed over right now and will be residing in a blog post of their very own shortly.

Based on the success of last year, Harvey Nichols has again rounded up a who’s who of London fashion talent (JW Anderson, Jonathan Saunders, Louise Gray, Markus Lupfer…) to customise the official FNO tees and will also be hosting a number of mad makeovers (anyone for a lip transfer?) accompanied by cocktails and sweet treats.

And that, my friends, concludes this mammoth post on FNO. Of course, since I started writing this post a week ago, my inbox has become flooded with even more fabulous happenings so I might do a part 2 (alternatively, why not just read the live updates here?). Feel free to print out this handy guide and tweet me if you’re out and about – @disneyrollrgirl (official hashtag #FNO) – I’d love to know what you’re up to…