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POUNDING THE PAVEMENT: Bloggers, fashion lovers and plain old eccentrics paraded down a red carpet in front of the Paris Opera late Thursday as Galeries Lafayette kicked off its fall “Fashion Capitals” campaign with an hour-long extravaganza featuring 689 models for a day.


Paul Delaoutre, chief executive officer of department stores at Galeries Lafayette and BHV, said some 200,000 people voted for the winning looks on the French department store’s Web site. “We are trying to make fashion come alive and involve people who are passionate about fashion, so it’s kind of symbolic to stage this event on the street,” he said, surveying a giant LED screen blocking the road. Some 50 hairstylists and 90 makeup artists helped prep the amateur models, five of whom were selected by a jury of fashion editors to be featured in the December issue of Glamour magazine.


Galeries Lafayette set a record for the world’s largest fashion show last year with the first edition of the event, but it has since lost its crown to U.S. retailer Express. It will bid to set a new record — for the greatest number of participants in a fashion show in several locations over 24 hours — by staging similar displays Saturday at stores across France, which are expected to draw more than 5,000 participants in total.


“It’s healthy competition, there is no problem,” Delaoutre said of the Express challenge. Despite these protestations, Galeries Lafayette promptly set about establishing an additional Guinness World Record for the longest line of brides, with its Paris finale featuring 64 women in wedding dresses.

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