Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fashion At The Falls

The late 1970's and early 1980's was a period of growth and expansion of the shopping center industry (if that's the right word for it) here in South Florida. New malls were springing up and old ones being refurbished. The old open air concourse shopping center concept was giving way to the air conditioned enclosed mall, and the 163rd Street Shopping Center was enclosed with a fabric roof, becoming The Mall at 163rd Street.

A new mall opened in the Kendall area south of Miami running counter to the trend, but instead of a boring concrete walkway with scattered trees and shrubbery, or none at all, it incorporated a series of small ponds connected by little water falls with bridges from one side to the other and lots of lush greenery. The Falls was the name and it had lots of upscale boutiques and small eateries along with a couple of department store anchors.

I'd been photographing for several public relations firms that were handling new malls, and in several cases I managed to retain the client after an in-house employee took over the task of handling public relations. In other cases they'd leave for another mall and continue using me. It kept me busy! When The Falls first opened they frequently had outdoor fashion shows showing clothes from several of the shops. These would be used in mailing pieces full of ads from the shops, as well as being sent out to the area newspapers. This is a page from a mailing brochure.

In this case the public relations woman at The Falls eventually took over the same position at the much larger Dadeland Mall a few miles to the north and closer to where I live, and I started photographing there instead. These days, with the greatly increased traffic, there's no way it would make any sense for me to drive the twenty or so miles through rush hour traffic to either mall for a one or two hour fashion show. Oh, well...


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