By  on November 20, 2007

DALLAS — NorthPark Center's runway shows are coming back next year.

"It certainly has a positive impact on sales, but we don't do this because of next week," said Alex Bolen, chief executive officer at Oscar de la Renta, which opened a unit here in December. "We want to make sure everyone in Dallas knows what we're about."

The first Fashion in the Park was in March and the second four-day event this month drew guests from as far as California and Florida.

Participating retailers were: Barneys New York, Bebe, Billy Reid, CH Carolina Herrera, Custo Barcelona, Diesel, Dillard's, Giorgio Armani, Macy's, MaxMara, MNG by Mango, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Oscar de la Renta, Saltaire and Valentino. Nordstrom and Dillard's held a second event in addition to their runway shows, with Nordstrom focusing on cosmetics and Dillard's presenting the book "Vogue Living" and editor Hamish Bowles.

The mall is committed to doing spring and fall shows next year, said NorthPark marketing director Christine Szalay.

Most shows featured fall or resort merchandise that was in stores or would be soon. An exception was Barneys, which presented Anne Klein's spring collection and hosted designer Isabel Toledo and her husband, Ruben. Every show, with ticket prices from $25 to $100, benefited a charity.

Neiman Marcus, Samsung and NorthPark sponsored an invitation-only gala with a $300 ticket price to benefit Dallas' Nasher Sculpture Center. Instead of a runway show, guests sampled a cocktail buffet in the tent's lounge where a tableau of models displayed resort and early spring looks by Tory Burch. Then they moved into the runway area of the tent to see Eve perform with a DJ and dancers. Burch was the first audience member out of her seat and dancing.

"This sort of thing always helps [business]," said Karen Katz, executive vice president of Neiman Marcus Group.

NorthPark puts up about half the $1.3 million operating budget for the shows, which is supplemented by ticket sales, sponsors and stores.

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