Fashion Week kicks off heavy on the star power

Associated Press and Associated Press

NEW YORK – The fashion industry put on its most glamorous face at New York Fashion Week yesterday, presenting a star-studded overture to reluctant recessionistas.

Shoppers crammed into stores for Fashion’s Night Out, an event dreamed up by Vogue Editor Anna Wintour that featured celebrities, designers and glitterati mingling with customers.

At Bergdorf Goodman, elevators were clogged and the restaurant filled to capacity for a cook-off with designers including Cynthia Rowley and Peter Som, hosted by Padma Lakshmi of ‘Top Chef.’ The Olsen twins tended bar and Victoria Beckham posed for photos.

Justin Timberlake, Charlize Theron and Kate Hudson were among the stars dropping into stores around New York. Oscar de la Renta was singing to loyal customers. Wintour herself appeared at a Macy’s in – gasp – Queens.

There was some glamour on the runways, too, on the first day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which runs through Sept. 17. It was a departure from the tough look in stores for fall – and perhaps a signal that the fashion industry is trying a softer approach to tough economic times.