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Show and Tell: Vanessa Williams and Kelly Bensimon at Ann Taylor

If the fashion show Ann Taylor staged Thursday night is any indication, the affordable, working girl’s retailer is serious about its new attitude

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Ann Taylor RTW Spring 2010

Photo By George Chinsee

If the fashion show Ann Taylor staged Thursday night is any indication, the affordable, working girl’s retailer is serious about its new attitude and willing to put its money where its mouth is. Conceived as a big marketing push, the store’s first “see-now-wear-now” show, meaning almost everything on the runway is currently in-store, held at the New York Public Library’s Celeste Bartos Forum, was stacked top editors and publishers. “We wanted to take the excitement of the fashion shows that we love and bring it to the client immediately,” said Ann Taylor designer Lisa Axelson, who was charged with taking the clothes in a new direction (read hipper). Of course, nothing drums up buzz (and photos) like celebrities, so a gaggle of Ann Taylor-clad celebrities were wrangled to sit front row. Jennifer Esposito, Vanessa Williams, Mena Suvari, Gretchen Mol, Kelly Rutherford, Kelly Bensimon, Laila Ali, Katherine McPhee and Amanda Bynes came prepped with pro-Ann spiels, some which actually sounded sincere. “I was curious to see the new line and where it was going,” said Vanessa Williams, who had attended Carmen Marc Valvo’s show earlier in the week and pulled a few potential Emmy gowns. “When I saw the actual pieces they sent over, this dress fit. No alterations. And I saw the price tag. It’s affordable.” When asked if they were already Ann Taylor customers, most of the ladies hedged. “I love their accessories,” said McPhee. “I would definitely go in there now.”

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