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Neiman Marcus at Southpark: Glamour reigns at gala

September 14, 2006

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    September 14, 2006
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    Opera Carolina News

Neiman Marcus at Southpark: Glamour reigns at gala

Style Editor

On Thursday night, fans of Neiman Marcus raised glasses of champagne, pinot grigio and sparkling water to toast the arrival of Charlotte's latest luxury retailer during a pre-opening black tie gala.

More than 800 people in the finest finery filled the two floors of SouthPark mall's newest and swankiest anchor for one of the most anticipated parties of the year.

The event was invitation-only. The proceeds from the $200 tickets will benefit the Charlotte Symphony, Levine Children's Hospital, Opera Carolina and Speedway Children's Charities.

Terri DeBoo of Charlotte says the opening marks the end of seven years of anticipation. The former Chicago resident cites the store's carefully selected merchandise and unique visual presentation as the appeal. "It's the lifestyle you want if you don't have it," she says.

And of the gala, she says: "The people who can afford it get to be seen, dress in pretty clothes and get to be treated special and it's all for the cause of charity."

Models substituted for mannequins. They posed atop display cases in the cosmetics and fragrance department and throughout the store.

Some of the food party-goers snacked on had a New South twist: sweet potato pancakes with collards, blue crab deviled eggs and cranberry ham biscuits, all signature dishes by Something Classic, one of the Q.C.'s most popular caterers.

Bands played in different departments. The Kim Carper Quartet provided a jazz background among Manolo Blahniks and Christian Louboutin shoes. Upstairs, U-Phonik rocked those browsing the racks of Tory Burch and Catherine Malandrino clothing in contemporary sportswear.

"The purses by Marc Jacobs and Gucci gave me the shakes, but the clothes left me speechless," said Maria Owen of Charlotte, dressed in a blue Collette Dinnigan gown from Capitol, after a trip through the women's department upstairs.

Her husband, Jeff Owen, was wearing an Armani tuxedo with a herringbone check tie from Taylor Richards & Conger.

Friends Ladan Arooji, Laleh Farhani and Mary Ellen Ezarsky, all of Charlotte, bee-lined for the Chanel accessories boutique.

"Next we're going to the shoes," says Ezarsky, who has shopped the catalog and online for years.

"The arrival of Neiman Marcus means no more trips to D.C., Atlanta and Chicago," says Farhani. "Now we can shop at home."