For five nights this week, Crystal Couture will take over the 12th floor of a Crystal City office building — bringing dozens of boutiques and a wraparound runway that will go almost nonstop from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
"A lot of people are intimidated by going to fashion shows. But this is a really fun, laid-back means at which you can get out there and shop and hang out with your friends," said Angela Fox, chief executive of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, or BID. "You don't need to come dressed to the nines. It's very open and accommodating."
That's two key qualities of the what the BID bills as the Washington region's "hottest fashion show and high-end trunk sale."
Now in its fifth year, Crystal Couture continues the BID's tradition of showcasing vacant space. This year, the event will be at 251 18th St. S. and take advantage of 30,000 square feet of office space and 360-degree views of the surrounding area.
"We're always looking for interesting ways to promote Crystal City — the location, the access, the Metro, our creativity, and the potential for retail," Fox said.
Crystal Couture for its first two years was held in the Century Center, which now houses Buffalo Wild Wings and other tenants. The last two years it was held in an old food court in the Crystal City Shops, space that's now called "the landing" — a public gathering spot surrounded by a mix of retail outlets.
The event will showcase about 80 businesses over five nights; the 46 booths on the floor will be full on any given night. Many are offering special discounts, and free makeup and hair makeovers will be offered nightly.
The BID is expecting about 4,000 people to attend the event this week.
"A lot of times with a fashion event, people come and wait, and there's one runway," Fox said. "This runway is nonstop. We literally start the runway from the time the event opens. There may be two or three minutes between shows. It literally keeps going, and because this year is much longer than years before — it's much longer than any runway you've ever seen — it might not even stop that long."
Crystal City benefits from the fashion show simply from the buzz it gets, Fox said: "People walk away from Crystal City having another wonderful experience, seeing things they haven't seen before. They tell their friends. Some people call themselves Crystal Couture fanatics."
She added: "When they come to an event like this and have a blast, what more can we ask for?"
For more information, visit the Crystal City Business Improvement District's website.