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Fashion Week takes Queens Center Mall by storm

Queens Center Mall rolled out the red carpet for style Friday when 17 stores did everything from offer style tips for fall wardrobes to serving customers wine and chocolate in honor of the annual Fashion’s Night Out, a shopping event created by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and celebrated throughout the city — and world.

“Our retailers are pulling out all the stops so they can participate in Fashion’s Night Out in style,” said Jeffrey Owen, the senior property manager of the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst. “This is the third year we’re doing this, and we’re excited. This brings additional customers to our center who wouldn’t normally think of Queens as a fashion center.”

Last year Queens Center hosted Wintour and Mayor Michael Bloomberg for Fashion’s Night Out, one of a number of events occurring during the city’s biannual Fashion Week. This year was more low-key than last, although plenty of people poured into the mall to see what was being featured during a night that feted fashion above all else.

“I love coming to the mall in general, and it’s even better when you can come during Fashion Week and get all these discounts and everything that the stores offer,” said Mya Johnson, 21, of Astoria. “It’s nice to see everyone out and having fun and getting a chance to forget about how much the economy sucks right now.”

During the evening’s festivities, which ran from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, style expert Daisy Lewellyn gave shoppers fashion tips on how to update fall wardrobes, Swarovski handed out wine and chocolate, the Body Shop provided free makeovers and Banana Republic took 25 percent off all purchases. Shoppers could also enter to win a $500 gift certificate from the mall.

“I’m showing people that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good wardrobe,” said Lewellyn, who also signed copies of her book, “Never Pay Retail Again,” at Macy’s. “One thing can be paired with a lot of items. I’m showing people how you can go from a day to night look wearing the same skirt.”

Gerard Guichard, the assistant store manager at Macy’s, agreed with Owen that the evening attracts many customers to the mall — a bright spot in a still sagging economy.

“It’s a great event that drives customer and staff excitement,” Guichard said.

Jessica Pierre-Louis, an employee at Swarovski, said shoppers who normally would bypass her store come in during Fashion’s Night Out.

“People won’t come in here because they think it’s too expensive, even though it’s not, but when they see we’re giving things out, they want to come in and explore,” Pierre-Louis said. “I love it.”

Queens Center Mall is not the only place in the borough to celebrate Fashion Week. Residents will be able to meet designers, models and makeup artists at a “Meet the Designers” event this Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Manhattan View Holiday Inn at 39-05 29th St. in Long Island City. Tickets for the event are $40.

On Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at NY Designs at 45-50 30th St. in Long Island City, there will be a runway show featuring outfits by Queens designers. Tickets are $40.

For more information and other events, visit queensfashionweek.com.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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