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Princeton Celebrates Merchants In Palmer Square Fashion Week

Candace Braun

Princeton is fashion savvy, and it's time everyone knew.

That's what Palmer Square believes, which is why they are bringing the New York Runway to the heart of downtown Princeton, with a week of in-store events to celebrate fashion.

Palmer Square Fashion Week will culminate in a two-day fashion show this weekend, with a runway of models wearing Palmer Square merchants' fashions. The show will be held on the Palmer Square Green, rain or shine, under a 60-foot tent that can hold approximately 150 people.

The event, which is being organized by Princeton fashion designer Chantal Palmer of Victoria Kit Kat Productions, will feature independent Princeton merchants such as Honey West, Lace Silhouettes, Zoe, Ici Fashion for Children, and Dandelion.

"The goal of the fashion show is to brand Palmer Square as an upscale fashion center," said Anita Fresolone, director of Palmer Square Marketing, noting that this is one of the first times they have showcased all their tenants at one time.

The idea to hold the fashion show resulted from Ms. Palmer's success with a fashion show held at Palmer Square's Writers Block last October.

"There was such an overwhelming response to the show that David Newtown [vice president, Palmer Square Management] decided to expand on it," said Ms. Palmer, noting that while one chain store is involved in the week's events, the focus of Fashion Week is to promote the numerous independent clothing stores that Palmer Square has to offer both residents and visitors.

"It's really about promoting the merchants in town and putting Princeton on the map," she added.

A resident of the area for seven years, Ms. Palmer first opened her own fashion business three years ago, after spending much of her life living in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Ms. Palmer said she observes how many Princeton residents live here and work in the city, but do most of their shopping in the Big Apple, where she used to live.

"They have cutting edge boutiques here. People need to know we have the best of the best," she said.

The fashion shows, which will be held on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, are being co-sponsored by Princeton Porsche, Princeton BMW, and Princeton Mini, who, along with showcasing some of their cars throughout the weekend, will also showcase a clothing line on Friday night called "Branded."

Ms. Palmer has recruited local models to wear the clothing lines, some as young as four years old. Many students from area schools will take part in the show, including those from Johnson Park, Community Park, Princeton High School, The Hun School, Montgomery High School, and even Princeton University.

"We finally got them to cross Nassau Street," said Ms. Palmer of the University students, noting that many of the models will be gracing the runway for the first time, with the exception of a few, which include a professional runway model from Italy.

Many of the models were obtained through word of mouth, and some who had no interest in modeling but a large interest in fashion have offered to help out in other ways, said Ms. Palmer.

"The kids are a lot of fun. They take it very seriously," she said.

Palmer Square is hoping the fashion show will appeal to men in the community as well, as eight male models will be sporting fashions from Honey West and Zoe.

"We want to encourage people to set up shop in Princeton...and to encourage merchants in town because they're doing such a great job," said Ms. Palmer.

Friday's runway will showcase clothing lines from Honest West, Lace Silhouettes Lingerie, and Zoe, beginning at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, Talbots Kids, Ici Fashion for Children, Ici Monde, Dandelion, Au Courant Opticians, Aerosoles, and Cotton Company will be on the catwalk, beginning at 1 p.m.

Other events to be held throughout the week include a Kate Spade Eyewear Trunk Show at Au Courant Opticians on October 7; wardrobe parties at Chico's, featuring its fall catalog collection; "Love that Lilly" event featuring designs from Lilly Pulitzer throughout the weekend at Cotton Company; "Diesel Day" on October 5 at Ici Fashion for Children, Ici Monde, and Ici Bebe; "The Perfect Fit" bra fitting event throughout the weekend at Lace Silhouettes Lingerie; free personalization of stationary at The Papery; and cocktail specials at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room.

For more information on these or other events, visit www.palmersquare.com.


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