PARIS (AP) — Break out your stilettos — and your wallet. Retailers all over the world are gearing up for the fourth annual Fashion's Night Out, a celebrity-studded night designed to draw shoppers into stores for a night of celebrity spotting, music, giveaways, food and drinks, and, of course, shopping.
The first events were kicking off in Paris Thursday, where revelers will be treated to spectacles and performances in flagship fashion stores — this year including a parade of scantily clad cheerleaders in Chloe, and a daring acrobatics show in Kenzo.
The event — launched in 2009 in New York by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour — has proven so popular that it's now a fixture in some 19 countries, over three weeks involving tens of thousands of shoppers.
In New York, Kim Kardashian will be signing $123 gift sets of her perfume True Reflection at Lord & Taylor, while Nicole Richie and Jennifer Hudson promote their new clothing lines at QVC. Cyndi Lauper will perform at Manolo Blahnik to promote her new musical, "Kinky Boots."
Stores across the U.S. are also holding events, though they're less star-studded. In Chicago, Saks Fifth Avenue will offer free cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and music; in Atlanta, Lenox Square Mall is giving out gift bags, will hold a fashion show at Banana Republic and offer makeup touch ups at Aveda. In Dallas, fashion shows were planned at Galleria Dallas and NorthPark Center, where the Neiman Marcus will show "The September Issue," provide snacks and a contest for a $2,500 gift card.
The event coincides with the final night of the Democratic National Convention. A Vogue spokeswoman said that Wintour is a supporter of President Barack Obama and noted that shoppers had five hours of events — plenty of time to get home to watch Obama speak if they wish. She said the event was planned a year in advance with thousands of retailers.
NBG Productions analyst Brian Sozzi said Fashion's Night Out started inconspicuously but has gained traction over the years.
"It gets customers into stores in a non-peak hour after work and it gets them energized," he said. "It's a win-win for retailers who are piggy backing on Fashion's Night Out's own marketing so it's not a big investment for them."
On Twitter, Fashion's Night Out's hashtag, (hash)FNO, was one of the top trending keywords. Laura Ashley tweeted about goodie bags while designer shoe label Christian Louboutin shared a special Fashion's Night Out Spotify playlist.
AP Retail Writer Mae Anderson contributed to this report.