UPPER EAST SIDE — Thousands of shoppers flocked to Fifth Avenue for Fashion's Night Out Friday night as fancy couture shops loosened up a bit for one of the most celebrated shopping nights of the year.
Stores like Coach, Tiffany's, Bergdorf Goodman and other high-end shops became less exclusive as they turned into discos, carnivals and open-bar clubs for shoppers of all backgrounds and budgets.
"It's the best night in New York," Lauren Spinella, 18, said as she took in the aura of Tiffany's, which had been tranformed into a disco nightclub for partying fashionistas.
Spinella had come to the store to see the diamonds with her friends, Jenny Kucab, 19, and Kathryn Varone, 18, in honor of their favorite movie, "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Surrounded by a disco ball, flashing lights and '70s-styled models, the three were having the time of their lives.
"We're here because...why not?" Spinella added.
"It's really cool- you don't get to see this too often," Maya Shallcross, 15, added, as she waited outside the store on Fifth Avenue to get a free makeover from the truck "Fashion First Aid." The mobile salon gave free hairstyles, too, which attracted a slew of young shoppers who had been visiting Bergdorf Goodman, Coach and other high-end stores in the area.
The packed area was filled with free entertainment, and shoppers "oohed and ahhed" as they took pictures of DJs, servers in bunny outfits giving away champagne and live window presentations, which involved costumed models acting out various dances or scenes.
Over at Madison Avenue's alice + olivia, shoppers had similiar praises for the Fashion's Night Out extravaganzas as they enjoyed the high-end couture in a carnival atmosphere, as the store brimmed with bright balloons and bags of popcorn.
"It's a really great opportunity for New Yorkers to experience high-end fashion firsthand," Barnard College student Nellie Gayle, 18, said.
"It's a fun way for fashion to open its doors, even for people who don't have a lot of money."
Even experienced shoppers found the night refreshing and exciting.
"I haven't been shopping at these places much lately, and now I'm excited to do it again," Natalie Rivera, 44, said as she munched on popcorn with carnival music in the background.