12th Street transformed to a catwalk

    With lights, cameras and plenty of action, annual fashion celebration had its designs on busy downtown block.

    A block of 12th Street in downtown Philadelphia was transformed into a catwalk Tuesday evening as Phasion Phest brightened the stretch in the shadow of the Convention Center.

    The tunnel cutting through the center was closed off and cars were prohibited from their usual path from Chinatown to the Reading Terminal Market. Instead, lighting rigs, about 40 designers and retailers and hundreds of spectators took over the street.

    Now in its 17th year, Phasion Phest has used outdoor locations in the past, mostly at Penn’s Landing with the picturesque background of the Delaware River. For this year’s edition, the 12th Street tunnel featured a fake prison backdrop, reflecting the show’s theme of “Dressed To Kill.”

    Producer Sharon Philips Waxman, who has used 12th Street for the show before, says it lends a gritty, urban feel.

    “It’s an interesting space, architecturally; it’s urban, it’s on the street. We don’t put up a runway, the street is the runway. The chairs are set up on the street so people will be closer to the clothes,” she said.

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