You know you’ve had a good time in downtown Seattle when your parking tab at Pacific Place is $26.
We definitely started Fashion’s Night Out early. We were checking in on shops like Nancy Meyer well before anything you would have called “Night,” but we had serious ground to cover and we were determined to make all the requisite stops.
And here’s the thing: making those stops, especially early on, afforded us the opportunity to chat with shopkeepers, not just about #FNOSea but about, well, life in general. And the block party aspect of the event—the whole get-to-know-your-local-retailers thing—is integral to what Fashion’s Night Out is all about.
Of course, FNO is also about a good time. Wherever we went, as we ran into friends and acquaintances, the first round of questions concerned where we’d been, what they were doing there, and what they were pouring. At Mario’s, for instance, it was vodka cocktails, spiked with a photobooth.
But just as important as the booze was the activity, celebration, and/or parade of fashion; what FNO’ers really wanted to know was where the action was. They were looking not just to shop but to do or see or partake—at Alhambra that meant watching as models in fresh fall gear posed rather valiantly in the First Ave windows, while all manner of passersby got up on the glass to inspect them. At Baby and Co. it meant wrapping up in a scarf-tying demo. At Barneys it was a party vibe with a DJ and inventive snacks; at Nordstrom, the savvy department was flooded with friend groups getting in on some newfangled, editable, digital step and repeat situation.
While there was plenty of good stuff going on, it wasn’t necessarily easy to sense the critical mass of it, simply because it just isn’t possible to be everywhere at once. Trucking from, say, First and Union to Sixth and Pike, you were bound to miss moments of retail bliss, sartorial celebration, and fashion-on-the-loose here and there. Even with our early start and extra hours built in, it wasn’t easy to get to all the stops let alone take some time to stop, shop, and enjoy them. And send up a few Tweets about it.
“Are you seeing lots of people? Is everyone here?” That was another thing we asked each other—only that too was difficult to gauge. Same reason.
Only solution: Next year, every single downtown retailer and restaurant stays open til 9 and we really turn this thing inside out. Or, maybe by then science will have made some progress on the whole being-two-places-at-once thing.
Still, when we wound up at MistralKitchen at the end of the night (have you had the Thai popcorn there? insane) there certainly weren’t any regrets. Sure, it would be cool to be in New York for FNO where the event kicks off New York Fashion Week (and $26 buys you twenty minutes of parking), but walking down Westlake last night and looking up at the moon in our uncluttered, clear blue-black sky, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.