THE world’s busiest shopping event has set Melbourne abuzz, cementing the city’s reputation as the nation’s fashion capital — although Sydney is set to repeat the festivities this week.

As the first global location to kick off the annual Vogue Fashion Night Out event last night, the city drew crowds of fashionistas who braved the chilly night air to cram into the high-end designer stores that cascade down Collins St.

Champagne flowed as fashion industry VIPs rubbed shoulders with celebrities and designers, taking in the live entertainment that kickstarted a buzzy night for Melbourne retailers.

There was something for everyone, including a “man cave” and gentlemen’s lounge complete with scotch and red wine tastings, complimentary wet shaves and exclusive runway shows hosted by GQ and David Jones.

The inaugural VFNO — a celebration and ode to all things shopping — heralded the start of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week’s opening weekend event, MSFW: Shop the City.

Vogue Australia’s editor-in-chief Edwina McCann said: “We are thrilled to be working with the City of Melbourne to bring Vogue Fashion’s Night Out to Melbourne shoppers for the first time. The support from the retailers was incredible as we really wanted and made our guests to feel like a Vogue VIP.”

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was thrilled to have the event come to town, and expressed hopes that formidable American Vogue editor Anna Wintour — a major tennis fan — may one day fly in for the Australian Open.

“Now that would be a real coup and it is certainly on my wish list,” Mr Doyle said.

Cash registers rang as the fashion set converged on stores like Bally, Chanel, Dior, Tiffany & Co, Emporium Melbourne, Bulgari, Prada, Coach, Michael Kors, Oroton, Harrolds, H & M, TopShop and David Jones.

Melbourne led the VFNO charge this year, with Sydney set to host its own Vogue Fashion Night Out Sydney on Thursday.

In its seventh year internationally, VFNO is set to be celebrated in 27 cities around the world, including Moscow, Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Florence, Milan, Paris, Osaka and London.

Olympus bought Vogue to life with a live cover shoot in Bourke Street Mall, with shoppers invited to have their image featured on a life-size, carnival-themed magazine cover.

The company’s Australian General Manager Joe Tizzone said: “We are thrilled to have Vogue Fashion’s Night Out brought to you by Olympus for the second year running in Sydney, and were excited to be a part of its inaugural extension into the Melbourne market.”

Mr Tizzone said the event had experienced “exponential growth” and connected with consumers in a way unlike any other event.

InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto was Vogue Fashion Night Out Melbourne’s official hotel partner.

Bassike’s Mary Lou Ryan and Deborah Sams renewed their collaboration with Vogue Australia, transforming their signature organic cotton jersey T-shirt into a black-and-gold official 2015 VFNO design, available at David Jones.

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