Strutting Their Stuff: 'Boulevard Fashion' at Parque Arauco

Weekly shows at Parque Arauco normally begin with a selection of Coty's underwear; the leggy models boldly strut the runway, clad in lacy bras and thongs. Most wrap a transparent sarong around themselves to diffuse the light on their buttocks, creating a cunningly flattering effect.

Santiago Chile Boulevard Fashion
Photo by Kyle Weaver

Not that they need to do this, though. The female models are mostly tall and toned, and their male counterparts bulge with well-oiled muscles. Most of the male models have slightly spiked up hair above Cheshire cat grins. Though smiling on the runway is frowned upon by high fashion, it suited the more casual venue of Parque Arauco well.
Santiago Chile Boulevard Fashion
Photo by Kyle Weaver

As far as malls go, Parque Arauco in Las Condes is an attractive one and comparable to any in Los Angeles, Hong Kong or Granada. Large outdoor patios are lined with various eateries, fountains and trees.

In reality the restaurants are all over-priced, below-average chains (steer clear from Asian Bistro and Tony Romas in the main plaza), and despite the huge selection of clothes inside the mall, few seem worth buying.

Parque Arauco's redeeming feature, though, is in its "Boulevard Fashion." From December to February the free show runs every Tuesday at 9 pm, when different clothing vendors from Parque Arauco showcase their current and upcoming collections.

Each show has a different theme, such as "Great Designs" on February 3 and "Shapes and Colors" the following week. Past themes have included "Christmas," "Glam Color" and "'80s Chic."

"Great Designs" presented clothes from labels NGX and Everlast, who both strongly featured super-tight leggings. Though leggings are fabulous on their own, when combined with even more shiny fabric, chunky furry boots and simply enormous earmuffs, they become more humorous than trendy.

Santiago Chile Boulevard Fashion
Photo by Kyle Weaver

"Shapes and Colors," a more pleasing show to watch, opened the night with its usual punch by Coty's as French knickers abounded. Colors were especially flaunted: turquoise and ruby-red corsets in silky materials made an appearance, while brown was also a popular color among the one pieces. Coty's most flattering ensemble had to be the sexy black corset and bra set.

Santiago Chile Boulevard Fashion
Photo by Kyle Weaver

The lads were on next, modeling Reebok with tight tank tops and tees and showing off perfect pecs. The Reebok girls wore lycra sport tops and denim cut-offs for a casual sporty look.

Foster appeared next, and was a bit disappointing. Patterned T-shirts worn by the men with "Save Vinyl" and "Avengers" slogans gave the impression of trying too hard to be "trendy." This patterned theme was continued with girls who wore white tops strewn with gold and silver leaves, though the fabrics were too stretchy and shiny and the cuts were often too tight.

Laura Ashley produced some surprisingly wearable clothes. This label is often associated with the smocked dresses and puffy sleeves of the '80s, but tonight there was not a puff in sight. The red-and-white polka dot top paired with a flattering high-waist navy skirt was a highlight of the show.

Also delightful were Laura Ashley's two funky yet smart brown dresses, one with buttons and a small collar and the other in baby-doll style with a scoop neck.

Santiago Chile Boulevard Fashion
Photo by Kyle Weaver

The fashions at Boulevard Fashion are therefore a mixed bag: some are vile, others buyable. The show looks very professional no matter the clothes, and creates quite a buzz in the mall as passers-by stop to crowd around the catwalk.

Female model Soledad Guardiola from Argentina said she enjoyed doing the show because "it is fun and easy."

That element of fun is exactly why "Boulevard Fashion" works. It is no high fashion event, nor does it pretend to be. However, it injects glamour and fizz into an otherwise insipid mall once a week.

And while the clothes are not always hot, the thongs, lacy bras and attractive models are guaranteed to make the runway sizzle.

Boulevard Fashion

Every Tuesday until February 24, 2009, at 9 pm

Free

Parque Arauco

Presidente Kennedy 5413, Las Condes

Metro: Escuela Militar; Bus: 409, 411

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