TAMPA — Fashion shows, red carpet photos and store promotions await shoppers at International Plaza's second annual Fashion Night Out on Thursday.
Fashion Night Out was created four years ago in New York by Vogue editor Anna Wintour to celebrate fashion and get recession-weary shoppers back into the stores. Last year's party took place in 18 countries and included more than 4,500 events across the United States.
About 10,000 people attended International Plaza's inaugural Fashion Night Out, which coincided with the mall's 10th-year anniversary. The mostly female crowd enjoyed free treats and makeovers and got a look at the new fall lines.
Even larger crowds are expected this year as word about the event has spread, said mall marketing director Nina Mahoney.
"The women really have a good time. They love getting dressed up,'' she said. "It's all about fashion is fun.''
A few stores at other malls are also taking part in FNO, such as Saks Fifth Avenue at WestShore Plaza and DKM Accessories in South Tampa.
This year's FNO at International Plaza will feature a Mad Men Lounge in the Grand Court with '60s-style furniture from Crate & Barrel and Capital Grille waiters serving non-alcoholic "mad-tinis' and "mad-hattens.'' Dillard's department store will host fashion shows at 6 and 7:15 p.m. A Tampa Bay Times chocolate bar and lounge in the Food Court will have make-your-own boxes of chocolate to benefit the Florida Orchestra.
Come dressed to impress because the paparazzi, along with Marilyn Monroe, Katy Perry and Joan Rivers celebrity look-alikes, will greet people on the 200-foot red carpet at the Bay Street entrance to the Food Court. Local radio personalities wearing gowns by Dillard's will interview arriving guests.
The free party runs from 6 to 9 p.m. throughout the mall, Tampa Bay's hub for FNO events.
Bars and restaurants in International Plaza's Bay Street will have FNO specials, from $5 Cosmopolitans and Diva martinis at Bar Louie to prix fixed menus at Brio Tuscan Grille and the Capital Grille. New this year will be an FNO After Party at Ocean Prime from 9 p.m. to midnight with live music, food and drink specials and free Hypnotini cocktails made exclusively for the event.
More than 70 stores will have FNO discounts, promotions and giveaways. Ann Taylor will offer 25 percent off purchases. The Guess store will have a DJ, refreshments, desserts and a free gift with every purchase. Henri Bendel will sell FNO T-shirts customized with Swarovski crystals for $25.
Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen is scheduled to give opening remarks at 5:45 p.m. near the red carpet. Florida Orchestra musicians will perform throughout the plaza, and a strolling saxophone player will perform on Bay Street.
Three lucky shoppers will go home with top prize of the night: $500 shopping sprees good for anything in the mall.
Susan Thurston can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 225-3110.