>> The audience at tonight's Fashion's Night Out fashion show wasn't limited to the 1,500 ticket-holders — crowds gathered behind police barricades across the street from the Lincoln Center Plaza for a glimpse of New York City's largest fashion show. Those who were lucky enough to nab tickets to the show were treated to a concentric-circled runway setup, with rows no more than two deep. Not only that, but among the audience was a large smattering of designers — Tory Burch, Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, Jenna Lyons, Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Phillip Lim, Vera Wang, Francisco Costa, and Donna Karan among them; models — Lauren Hutton, Bar Rafaeli, Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann; and other industry figures, including Anna Wintour, with favorites Blake Lively and Roger Federer next to her, and Si Newhouse himself. Bee Shaffer arrived 45 minutes early to the event, holding hands with boyfriend Jake Hurwitz.
Anna Wintour's fears that the show, scheduled to start at 7:30 pm, would begin late were unmerited — it started on the dot with Alicia Keys's "Empire State of Mind" playing on the loudspeaker as spotlights searched the audience and the fountain in the center of the setup rose and then fell.
As the audience looked for Gisele Bundchen, set to open the show's 171 looks, a Fashion's Night Out doubledecker bus pulled up next to the Plaza, carrying Bundchen, Angela Lindvall, Karolina Kurkova, Coco Rocha, Lily Donaldson, Lara Stone, Jourdan Dunn, Caroline Trentini, Sasha Pivovarova, Adriana Lima, Chanel Iman, and Karlie Kloss, each dressed in a Fashion's Night Out tee paired with a long ballgown skirt and heels. The twelve models dismounted the bus one by one, forming a line in front of the Plaza steps as the rest of the 150 model cast filled in behind them.
Gisele leading the way, the twelve openers made their way around the fountain, soon followed by groups of models clipping by showcasing "Fifties Flair," "Tartan Twist," "Rock Chic," "Go Global," and "Jazz-Age Cool." Each group wormed their way around the circular runway, the models coming in quick succession, highly choreographed and sometimes stopping and turning. A few were suffering from their heels by the end — Rose Cordero and Heidi Mount among them — and those in the "Weekend Wrap-Up" group, all swathed in capes and jackets, had sweat rolling from their temples after all the parading, thanks to the humid Indian Summer air.
Pharrell Williams popped up on the center fountain to close the extravaganza in a surprise performance, and Gisele and the rest of the openers paraded and danced back to the bus, this time in full-on designer gowns, with Naomi Campbell in the finale spot. As Pharrell joined them, he encouraged the audience — ticketed and not — to shop New York, because after all, that was the whole point of this 15-minute shindig. So will it work?