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Store-Hopping Through Soho: Madewell, John Varvatos, Jack Spade

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Madewell previewed their Alexa Chung for Madewell collection last night, and from the grabby hands of her biggest fans, it's clear this stuff won't last long.

On the second floor of the shop before the public event began, a group of stylish "cool kids" sprawled out on seating by the dressing room, while what seemed to mostly be Madewell staff mingled in the tiny walkways of the second floor's open-square setup. Giving up on peeking through the crowd for our favorite Brit, we started shopping her new collection, only to turn around and see Alexa Chung herself, wearing a skirt and doodle tee from her own line, explaining all of the different items to a friend.

Shortly thereafter, the giddy girls who had waited outside to get a Facebook profile photo with Alexa shuffled in and formed an adorable fan cluster around her. "She's like, so pretty, but I could totally imagine actually being her friend," we overheard one say, and couldn't help but agree. When the Brit retreated to the DJ booth to find both solace and her boyfriend Alex Turner, the swarm of camera-snapping young girls got dangerously close to a table of up-for-grabs pineapple rum drinks. (Side note: Just like last year, the fact that nobody was checking IDs makes the night an underage drinking free-for-all.)

Over at John Varvatos, getting past the tightly guarded door yielded the opportunity to have your photo taken by photographer Mick Rock, who, as we came to find out, likes to leave the toilet seat up in public places. But hey, when you're an incredibly famous rock photographer who has shot everyone from David Bowie to Kate Moss, that stuff likely falls by the wayside. The random crowd milled about drinking and not posing for photos, probably because they were only granted when you presented a John Varvatos purchase made that night. A men's store requiring a purchase—what's a girl to do? Those leather jackets are cute, but not worth us buying one for a quick snap from anyone, let alone a legend.

For many still milling around in Soho after 9:30, the night ended at Jack Spade, where the place had turned into a raucous bar that just happened to have bags on the wall. Ping-pong players bounced the ball back and forth in the center of the store, and the overcrowded though highly enjoyable hangout felt like a neighborly dive bar. Surrounded by stylish men's bags, vintage knick-knacks on display and newspaper clipping tacked to the wall, we found ourselves hoping the place throws shindigs more often, or just lets us hang out in-store on nights other than those organized by Anna Wintour.
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