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Fashionistas Flock to Shecky's Girls Night Out

Shecky’s Girls Night Out is a five hour shopping event of up and coming designer names from across the country, with complimentary cocktails and mini makeovers all included in the admission price. Mixing alcohol with shopping — a girl could get used to this.

Email icon  Drl250@nyu.edu

An estrogen-charged crowd huddles at the entranceway of the historic neo-Romanesque Puck Building in downtown Manhattan. Within eyesight, there are masses of women rummaging through designer winter hats, fingering sterling silver jewelry and browsing through light cashmere sweaters. Salon stylists straighten unruly hair, brittle nails become ruby polished, and palates are quenched by a select wine or brew. A pair of creamy taupe leather cowboy boots gets multiple stare downs, and the line wrapping around the Chanel table calls out “free samples.”

This is not the beginning of a dream sequence and is far from your typical mall. It’s Shecky’s Girls Night Out, a five-hour shopping event of up-and-coming designer names from across the country, with complimentary cocktails and mini makeovers all included in the admission price.

Girls’ night out usually calls for a casual dinner, a round of martinis and maybe some clubbing or a flick. But in a metropolis of fashionistas, a girls’ night out can be taken to a whole new level. At Shecky’s Girls Night Out on Oct. 26-28, trendsetters paid $35 to “Fall into Fashion” and partake in a massive sample sale. Mixing alcohol with shopping — a girl could get used to this.

Shecky’s Web site reviews local venues, while the product line consists of New York City lifestyle guides, like Shecky’s Best in NYC. The company is most known for hosting events and parties, in New York City as well as Los Angeles. Girls Night Out is held twice a year in Los Angeles in the spring and fall. Currently, Shecky’s is expanding its parties and events into Chicago, Austin, Atlanta and San Francisco.

“We know how to bring in the crowd,” said Shecky’s events manager, Sara Motejl, in pre-event warning mode, “because we have a following at Shecky’s. People in New York are pretty aware of us, and news of our planned events definitely spreads through word of mouth.” Or e-mail, as most shoppers claimed, “I was evited.” Girls Night Out drew roughly 6,000 people over the three-night event and expects upcoming “nights” in Los Angeles to draw just as big crowds.

There are plenty of handmade designer dresses, eccentric precious-stoned necklaces and spa pedicures to go around. “There’s discounts on up-and-coming designers, but there is no flea market kind of feel,” Motejl said. “We try to make it much more like a party, where each designer has a separate table for their merchandise.”

Sign up for a Chanel consultation, and you get a free lip gloss and body lotion, go on a hunt for a new buttery soft leather handbag, look for a warm wool scarf or seek out a Crunch Gym Membership. This event is all encompassing.

The décor for the Shecky’s event is simple, with tables dressed in snowy white cloths piled with trendy designer frocks and accessories. More than 100 designers participated in the event, including CheckerKat, Trends, Yumi Chen Designs, Sherry Wolf Accessories, Elissa Bloom, FromH.com, Dare 2 Diamond, String Bean, Conchi New York, Yukiko Sato and Page Sargisson. In the Spiegel section, one of the Girls Night Out advertisers, everything was 20 percent off, and young girls clutched finds, like a short, funky green dress, which fits like a glove.

Running the table for the designer Priorities (www.prioritiesnyc.com) was one of Martha Stewart’s apprentices, Howie Greenspan, who said his product line of T-shirts, tanks, sweaters and jackets sold in Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Intermixx are must haves. “This flannel bedazzled shirt is hot for this fall,” Greenspan said, “and so are our cashmere sweaters.”

Priorities charged roughly 50 percent or more off at the Shecky’s event. “This cashmere is usually $240 in stores, but we are selling it for $75,” Greenspan said. At press time, Greenspan was no longer an apprentice. “As far as Martha goes, last week I was told I don’t fit in. But it’s not like I quit my day job.”

Crowds of hungry-for-discount-designer-goods shoppers huddle around displays of chic leather belts, ribbon-band watches, dangling semiprecious-stoned earrings and glittering rhinestone handbags. There are racks of dresses, blouses, suede coats and handmade threads that are seemingly to every shoppers delight.

“Are we supposed to be drinking at this event or what?” says one shopper as a tray of alcoholic beverages held by a Shecky’s staff member sweeps past her shoulder. “What a drag. I drove here,” says a young woman in response.

For some, it was as much a chance for some socializing as shopping. “We used to go to school together, so this was an excuse to see each other and to hopefully buy something,” said Sheera Jacobs, 22, from Long Island, who was at Shecky’s along with two friends. “Plus, I love the discounts, the designers, the drinks. It’s fun.”

Jacobs and friends file in line for the chocolate fondue, where shoppers dunk strawberries, brownie bits and marshmallows, care of Dip Bar and Lounge on 416 Third Ave. Snacks and drinks, from Finlandia vodkas to Amstel light, are all included in the admission price.

But some shoppers felt that the prices were steep and discount prices would still leave a noticeable hole in their pockets. “I want a bag, but everything is so expensive,” said Alicia Lopez, who lives in New York City. She bought was an $8 book called Shecky’s Erotic NY. Lopez was sweating over a shirt that would cost her $166, but felt the same piece would be sold at Forever 21 for about $30. She was not having it.

Shecky’s claims all items were anywhere from 25 to 75 percent off the actual retail price.

With every shopper, there’s always a critic. “We’re not very happy with the goodie bag. It’s full of paper and advertisements,” said Jessica Maithez, 23, who there with her two friends. “It’s totally not worth a hundred dollars, so that sucks.” With a famed goodie bag supposedly worth $100, some shoppers were led to believe they were getting a deal and were disappointed when they saw what was really inside.

The goodie bags included items such as mini Virgin Vines Wines, Skin Milk, Zone and Atkins Bars, Aussie and Rene Fuerter hair products, Sophia Kinsella’s paperback book called The Undomestic Goddess, Shecky’s guides and more.

Girls’ Night Out even has a VIP pass, which guarantees front of the line privileges — all for a one time registration fee of $150, says Elizabeth Sherle, account executive for Shecky’s.

If looking for the perfect frosty pink lip gloss is your thing, Shecky’s is hosting a Beauty Night Out on Jan. 19, where women self-pamper with mini-spa services, makeup consultations, cocktails and beauty deals. The next Girls Night Out is being held March 7-9, and an additional event will be held in late June.

Sipping some wine, just off from work, a shopping party could be a rewarding end of your day. But sometimes even fashionistas experience shopper’s overload. “I needed a break,” said Gmerice Thompson, batting her silver-lined eyes as she slumped into a pink plastic chair. “There’s so much going on here. I don’t want to miss a thing.”