What does one wear to a model search? For Houston teens, it seems that basic is better. The place was packed with pretty young things in basic jeans and T-shirts when Delia’s staged a model search in August at its newest store in the Houston Galleria mall. About 150 hopeful applicants with friends or parents in tow lined up at the store to enter the "Supermodel of the World" national contest sponsored by Delia’s and Ford Models.

As part of the contest, each teen donned a pair of Delia’s jeans and posed for two Polaroid photos to accompany her entry form.

Hosting the lively scene were Bobette, who won the Supermodel title in 2000, and Neal Hamil, an executive vice president of Ford. The promotion was designed to generate buzz and add value to the brand, said a spokeswoman for the teen retailer, but a few sales didn’t hurt, either.

"One girl looked really great in the jeans, and Bobette said, ‘Those jeans look like they were made for you,’" Hamil recalled. "And her mother kind of rolled her eyes and said, ‘Well, I’m buying them.’"

The national model search, advertised in Delia’s stores, on its Web site and in its catalog, garnered about 5,000 entries.

Hamil said the Lone Star state is one of the country’s best breeding places for models. "Texas is always producing great girls. I think Texans are tall, and in Houston particularly, the humid climate makes for great skin. It sounds ridiculous but I think there is something to it because your skin stays so moist.’’

At 4,224 square feet, the Houston store is Delia’s largest and represents a new prototype design. It features an open and airy layout with a central seating area where shoppers can hang out and compare styles, an acrylic mobile chandelier, free-form clear acrylic tables, flat-screen monitors and adjustable day-and-evening lighting in the dressing rooms.

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