I attended Jacksonville's very first (and now annual) Fashion's Night Out at the St. John's Town Center, which also happens to be where I work. In addition to that, the first H&M opened in Jacksonville yesterday in the Avenues Mall. That's correct, before this there was not an H&M anywhere in the Jacksonville area. (??) The closest location was formerly in Orlando, FL. Alas, now the massive Swedish retailer has provided Jacksonvillians with the sheer joy of paying twelve dollars for a cheaply made and yet surprisingly fashion forward skirt. Unfortunately, the H&M location is at a separate mall about ten minutes from the location where FNO was being held (and where I was getting off work.) Therefore, I shall divulge opinions regarding the addition of the store after further investigation, as my one stop shop was more reminiscent of a very distracted and yet speedy NASCAR driver as I was trying to make it back to FNO in a hurry.
Fashion's Night Out was really a big success for Jacksonville, in my opinion. Our store did not participate in the runway show that was held (to the dismay of many a show go-er) because there wasn't really time to plan the show by the time we found out and we were in the middle of some structural staffing changes at the store that were taking up a lot of time and energy. But, next year, you better believe we'll be rocking that runway like nobody's business. However, I feel that there were some standout stars and, at the risk of being critical, some retailers that could have used some help. The pity is, some of the weaker presentations at the show could have easily been bolstered with the product available in their inventory, paired with a legitimately progressive and more specific point of view with the styling. Appropriately, the most well received retailer at the show was not a clothing, accessories, or shoe venue. Sweet by Holly, the venture cupcake market begun by Food Network's Cupcake Wars star Hollis Wilder, was received by show goers with the most excitement as she walked the runway and one of her shop associates rained freshly made cupcakes (in boxes of course) down upon those of us in the front row. Thanks Sweet By Holly for ending the show with a smile! Who doesn't love cupcakes?
Jax FNO Superstars:
- BCBG Max Azria- Super elegant presentation suited to the retailer. There was some over the top styling where I felt like they could've gone more understated. But, the gown that ended their presentation was stunning.
- Private Gallery- I knew I was either going to love it or hate it. I have to admit, I loved it. For me, I felt like it could've easily turned into a bad mash up of French Connection, but it was truly good styling and probably the strongest collective presentation of the night. They decided to go for a streamlined boho look and it paid off in spades.
- Johnston Murphy- Well, that was unexpected. Johnston Murphy came out with three really strong looks, especially in menswear. JM blew the other menswear presenters out of the water. It was sophisticated and relevant, and the only menswear retailer of the night that didn't throw a really predictable suit on their model and call it a day sans accessorizing. It totally reinvigorated my search for the perfect leather satchel.