Designers, celebrities woo shoppers around world

Thu Sep 8, 2011 7:17pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Department stores, designers and celebrities wooed economically battered shoppers around the world on Thursday during the third annual "Fashion's Night Out" event to encourage spending and raise money for charity.

"Fashion's Night Out," the brainchild of Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, was designed to jump-start an industry battered by the global recession. Shops were staying open late and offering drinks and entertainment to shoppers in Australia, Asia, Europe and 100 U.S. cities from New York to Los Angeles.

"What I love is to see youngsters," Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano told Reuters in Paris, where thousands thronged the fashion mecca of Avenue Montaigne, home to Dior and to flagships for other luxury brands such as Chanel and Gucci.

"All (these young people) will not become clients, but we need to seduce them today to have them tomorrow," he said.

With luxury retailers recovering nicely from the recession, some stores were using the initiative, which coincides with the first day of New York Fashion Week, to raise money for charity with limited-edition pieces.

Almost 100 designers are showing their collections for spring/summer 2012 at New York Fashion Week and dozens more are showing at other venues in the city to coincide with the semi-annual event. It is followed by fashion weeks in London, Paris and Milan.

Fashion devotees and cheering teenagers swarmed the narrow streets of Milan's fashion district for "Fashion's Night Out," many snapping up limited edition T-shirts and bags.

"This event puts us in touch with younger people," Versace Chief Executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris told Reuters. Versace recently announced a collection for retailer H&M.   Continued...

<p>Shoppers waiting at the front of the Jean-Paul Gaultier store during the Vogue Fashion's Night Out event in Paris September 8, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>