By  on November 15, 2007

NEW YORK — When Jennifer Connelly, Kate Bosworth, Mary-Louise Parker, Valentino and Kate Moss, and practically every New York designer, step into the 69th Regiment Armory for 7th on Sale's opening gala tonight, they will be transported into the courtyard of a medieval castle replete with a bazaar.

But rather than lambs, goats and gruel, the merchandise on offer will comprise some top designer goods at discount prices.

For the event, the Armory will be turned into a rustic set with walls painted to resemble the castle, three-dimensional cones that pop out of the walls, a central tent made of burlap panels for the dinner portion of the gala, fake torches and seven boutique-like areas for women's daywear, eveningwear and resort; women's accessories; home; cashmere; men's wear; children's wear, and a gallery that will sell photographs.

"It started because we tried to tie it in with 'The Other Boleyn Girl,' with its Tudor and Elizabethan theme," said Alfredo Paredes, Polo's executive vice president of global creative services, Polo store development and Home Collection design, who was instrumental in creating 7th on Sale's look. "We thought, 'Let's do a castle court, do the tent in the middle and set the bazaar around it.'"

The 21,600-square-foot space will be accessed through a tunnel outfitted with fake stone walls and a ceiling with wooden beams. Its large doors, though, are the Armory's.

"Some of the Armory's features have a medieval inspiration, so it works," said Charles Fagan, Polo's executive vice president of global retail brand development, who worked on the merchandising.

Throughout the venue, there will be market baskets, barrels and floral arrangements, including the resort area, for which a special silk rose arbor was built. Each area will feature one captain, four merchandisers, six sales people and 10 runners to make sure the shopping experience will be smooth.

On Wednesday morning, Neiman Marcus' Ken Downing was putting the final touches on some of the displays, members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America were neatly folding cashmere sweaters and Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour was patrolling the activity.The space will open to the public for three days beginning Friday and the 5,000-square-foot tent will turn into a stock room.

Tonight's kickoff will mark the fifth time the CFDA and Vogue are organizing 7th on Sale. Previous events have raised in excess of $13 million for the fight against HIV and AIDS, and the goal for this year's edition is to raise more than $3.4 million.

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