Fashion's Night Out, charity in style

Fashionistas from New York to Tokyo gathered on Sept. 8 for a night of major retail therapy to celebrate the third annual Fashion's Night Out. This trendy atmosphere could also be felt in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica at the Santa Monica Place on 3rd and Broadway.

The two fashion shows being offered at the center of Santa Monica Place (evening show and night show) displayed a wide arrangement of different styles, colors, and textures.

"I feel that Fashion's Night Out brings attention to the market, and brings out the public that normally does not celebrate fashion," said Matthew Mathiasen an assistant manager at retail outlet Betsy Johnson located on Santa Monica Place. "It also brings people out towards a different cause. It is not just going out to buy something, it is to enjoy going out and buy(ing) something."

Casual styles were featured right before sunset displaying the latest fashion lines from retailers including Bloomingdale's, Kitson, and Nordstorm.

Participants in the night fashion show included big names such as Michael Kors, Max Azria's BCBG (Bon Chic Bon Genre), and Betsy Johnson displayed more sophisticated evening looks.

Lauren Gold, a manager at BCBG, described the part of their fall collection themed, "Femme Fatale" which included a line of animal prints and impassioned reds perfect for the "fiery, hot woman."

Lisa and Brittny Gastineau, a famous mother and daughter duo, hosted both fashion shows as well as featuring their jewelry line Gastineau Girls.

As the last fashion show came to an end, so did the night for many of the eager fashionistas who had attended the event and wanted to get their hands on some deals.

"I think that having retailers do events such as the ones offered in Fashion's Night Out is a great way of promoting the business because the customer would definitely want to come back again," said Natalia Garcia who is a fashion student at the Art Institute.

Garcia thinks Fashion's Night Out is "great, since it was all about making the customer feel appreciated."

Fashion's Night Out also offered a modest bump in donations to several charities.

The U.S. Fashion's Night Out was held three days before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks and many of the participating stores donated a portion of the proceeds to New York City's Sept. 11 Fund.

Stores like Ted Baker London and G-Star bestowed their patrons with champagne and cocktails after every purchase.

A dozen more retailers like Swarovski offered special promotions and gifts. Others like Benedetta and Carlton Hair even gave complimentary hand massages and bang trims for hair.

Fashion's Night Out had over 21 retail stores participating at Santa Monica Place and was a success in the eyes of its participants.