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Astoria style hits the runway at Cavo

"Fashion, Astoria Style," an intensely local albeit Manhattan-esque fashion extravaganza showcasing clothing from three Astoria boutiques, unfolded like a scene from "Sex and the City" last week at neighborhood hotspot Cavo.

Draped swaths of fabric surrounding ornate circular chandeliers gave the cavernous interior of Cavo a decidedly Mediterranean flair. This lavish tableau, coupled with hanging iron lanterns and hypnotic music, transported attendees at the fashion show to an exotic locale where style reigns supreme.

A largely female audience of more than 400 guests packed the space surrounding the petal-strewn L-shaped runway, eager to catch a glimpse of the summer 2008 collections from Astoria boutiques KrisTEES, Candy Plum and Lilyth.

Kristie Foster, owner of KrisTEES, a boutique specializing in European-influenced "basics with a twist" on 23rd Avenue in Astoria, organized "Fashion, Astoria Style" to promote the neighborhood's burgeoning fashion scene.

"I wanted to have the show in Astoria to let the public know that there is more going on in Astoria creatively, to create something of a stage presence and to bring the spotlight on Astoria," she said.

She chose Cavo as the setting because the establishment, which opened in 1999 as a 1,500-square-foot lounge, has evolved over the years into a more than 10,000-square-foot modern shrine to Greek cuisine — complete with outdoor seating — evocative of the neighborhood's changing landscape.

After Foster welcomed guests and thanked the local sponsors June 4, including Fatty's Cafe, Inside Astoria and New York Life, models strode down the runway in breezy boho fashions from Candy Plum. These included a turquoise tunic accessorized with oodles of silver bangles and necklaces; a tie-dyed slip dress adorned with flowers; and a flurry of paisley halter dresses in both knee and ankle-skimming lengths.

Next up were the sensual Brazilian-designed fashions of Lilyth that would not look out of place in Rio. A model cut an imposing presence in a striking and perfectly tailored white suit held together with a glittering brooch, while another beauty bedazzled in a crisscrossed skin-baring bathing suit joined by a metal brooch, which was demurely paired with a sarong.

Funky fashion-forward pompadours graced the catwalkers who modeled KrisTEES' trendy yet relaxed outfits. Looks included a black screen print tunic with side shirring paired with painted-on black leatherette leggings and an olive deconstructed, hand-braided rope top with black linen shorts modeled by Foster.

As the crowd filed out of Cavo, they seemed pleased with the fashion spectacle they had just witnessed.

"I loved that it was local designers and people coming out to support them," said Christine Pulaski, 25, of Woodside. "I think that Astoria is a great up-and-coming, trendy place. It was great to see everyone come together and publicize themselves and get everyone excited about it."

Richmond Hill resident Janice Chau, 24, said she appreciated that the clothing was like a ready-to-wear collection and that an average person could wear the fashions.

"It was a surprise," she said. "It was a neighborhood fashion show. People don't think of Astoria as a fashion icon."

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