While in New York last month, I attended a Philosophy blogger preview that did a great job of pulling me into their holiday theme, providing a memorable yet casual event experience. The entire area was decorated like Christmas, complete with a tree, ornaments, festive music, cupcakes, candy canes, cider and hot chocolate. First, each blogger took a quick quiz that clarified our interests and experience with the brand and then we were introduced to a ton of delicious smelling products. During the presentation, we were able to choose which items we were most interested in, and finally, we walked out with bright red bags full of the items we wanted to try and write about! Peppermint Bark Lip Gloss I love you! Thank you notes and follow ups came soon after.
While a press event has a different focus than those for the general public, I have also attended many fashion events where somehow sticking a bunch of people in a bar or hotel with music blasting and a few models walking around is apparently considered sufficient to entertain (and drive press coverage). Excuse me while I yawn into my hosted new vodka brand plus mixer cocktail!
After attending a few too many of these recently, I started to think a bit more about the elements that ensure a successful event.
Growing up, birthday parties were a big deal. Just inviting friends over for cake, a movie and a sleep over was unacceptable. There HAD to be a theme (something requiring dressing up, most often), corresponding thematic gift bags, defined party colors and activities that tied-in with the event. For my eighth birthday, I did a "dress as your favorite celebrity/famous person," theme. This was Beverly Hills in the eighties after all, and I was over the moon to be able to spray dye my hair red, put on a pair of fingerless lace gloves, polka dot heels and be Tiffany (check the PR Couture Facebook Page for the photo!). It was like, totally awesome to the max and as a result of this early childhood party planning, I seem to have inherited a predilection toward not exactly event planning (attention to detail is not my natural habitat) but what co-workers refer to as my "out of the box" (gag me with a spoon!) event concepts.
Looking back, what I learned from from those birthday parties (thanks Mom!) was right-on when it comes to throwing an event people want to attend, and can be distilled into these three guiding principles:
3 Rules for a Successful Fashion Event:
- Give your guests a reason to show up
- Give them something to do while they are there
- Give them something great to take home
Below are twenty-five fun, possibly sort of silly ideas to invigorate your brain to think big and beyond the usual when it comes to your next fashion-related event. I think the main take-away is to do something on-brand yet out of the ordinary, something that gets your guests interacting with your product and with one another.
- Choreography ends in Flash Mob (pick a song, teach some moves, hand out matching accessories, go out on the town and perform)
- Competitive stiletto climbing wall (much more fun than standing around while your feet hurt, yes?)
- Photo Booth extravaganza (get a ton of different photo booths, a multitude of props, and tell your attendees to go to town! Post the results to Facebook, create a collage of the results and use it as your the back drop for your next look book)
- Makeover Mondays (remember Glamour Shots? Recreate it, on a Monday!)
- Mystery Scavenger Hunt (hide clues and information about your brand and set the crowd loose!)
- Host your event at the Children's Museum (preferably one with one of those shadow rooms!)
- Make mine your own (take a signature piece from your collection and let your attendees decorate it or modify it and don't forget to take pictures!)
- Gypsy Caravan (host the event in house boats or decorated wagons, lights, candles, and guitar? Inspiration? Watch Chocolat)
- Make your own then dance all night Masked Ball (rent Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette for inspiration)
- Afternoon Champagne picnic plus croquet (all that pomp and circumstance will be hilarious)
- Assign your VIP guests to dress as various literary characters and send them a piece from your line to help the outfit along (Elizabeth Bennet, anyone?)
- Cherry picking, apple picking, frolicking out on the farm (make honey sticks, stage photo opps out in the gorgeous air, enjoy a locavore-style lunch)
- Beach Bonfire plus S'mores (don't forget the umbrellas or sun screen!)
- We are the royalty (treat your guests like kings and queens! Complete with crowns and places of honor)
- Eskimo Lodge (dress up your venue in white, bring in a snow machine, ice skating out front? Don't forget the fair-trade hot chocolate!)
- Panning for "gold" (it was fun back in fifth grade, it will still be fun now, especially if guests can keep whatever they find)
- Candy making (allow your guests to create and name a candy flavor after themselves)
- Splatter! (ever see that scene in The Princess Diaries were they pop paint-filled balloons on a canvas - yeah, something like that)
- Bike Tour (take an elite group on a bike tour of all the places that inspired the current collection)
- Breakfast for Dinner (turn something on it's head, have a pancake bar!)
- Lion Witch and the Wardrobe theme (anybody for Turkish Delight?)
- Alter Egos (you provide the costumes, guests bring the fun!)
- Romantic Comedy - decorate different rooms in the themes of iconic rom-coms, complete with actors and give guests the opportunity to act out their favorite scenes
- Roller Skating (give a lesson on how to do a few tricks, give out awards, host a roller shop!)
- Blind-folds! (blind fold your guests and ask them to describe or draw what they are feeling - pieces of your collection of course!)
What makes you want to attend a fashion event? What kinds of events are immediately deleted from your inbox?
Describe a really great event you have attended, or add in your own creative event ideas in the comments!