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NorthPark Runway Shows a Hit

It was a concept whose time had come.

DALLAS — It was a concept whose time had come.

Fashion at the Park, NorthPark Center’s inaugural runway event here, sold more than 7,000 tickets at prices ranging from $25 to $150, for 16 shows featuring spring looks at almost every price point. A repeat is planned for fall, with tentative dates of Nov. 1 to 4.

In addition to ticket holders, the shows were streamed into the mall on flat-screen TVs, highlighting the merchandise from NorthPark’s anchors — Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Dillard’s — and key specialty stores, including Oscar de la Renta and CH Carolina Herrera.

The event from Wednesday to Saturday kicked off with a Salvatore Ferragamo show and cocktail party for 500. Ferragamo’s event sold out three weeks ahead of time at $150 a ticket, said Dana Gers, senior vice president of marketing.

“It gives us tremendous exposure, and it’s great for our stores,” said Nancy A. Nasher, who owns and operates the mall with her husband, David J. Haemisegger. “Everything you see in the shows you can go right out to the store and buy, and that’s unique.”

NorthPark Center annual revenue is expected to hit the $1 billion mark by the end of 2007, a year earlier than expected, said Christine Szalay, marketing director.

The commentary of Barneys creative director Simon Doonan entertained a full house at Barneys’ show, featuring Vionnet, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Doo-Ri and others. Doonan delighted in describing absurd scenarios for wearing the clothes.

“White is perfect for a keg party at Nancy Nasher’s because when you’re staggering home you won’t get hit by a car,” he quipped.

In an interview, Doonan was serious about the concept of Fashion at the Park.

“It’s about time we fashion people made more hoopla when the clothes are actually in the stores,” he asserted. “More and more you will see this kind of effort where malls and retailers work together to get consumers to buy the clothes. Hello! Isn’t that the point?”

Before each show, ticket holders sipped Champagne and vodka in the hospitality tent as a DJ spun club music and women gathered for free makeup touch-ups at the Lancôme booth.

Neiman’s closed Fashion at the Park Saturday night with a benefit dinner and a Marchesa show for 250.

Other retailers presenting runway shows were: Billy Reid, Custo Barcelona, MNG by Mango, Ted Baker, Diesel, Intermix, Lily Pulitzer and Vilebrequin.