Update 6:00 p.m.
It was a homecoming of sorts when Neiman Marcus' national fashion director, Ken Downing, emceed a fashion show of the luxury store's spring emphases at the Walnut Creek store Thursday.
Downing has worked for Neiman Marcus for 21 years. Before that, he worked for I. Magnin in San Francisco, including visiting the high-fashion store's branch in Walnut Creek. (Macy's took over the I. Magnin brand.)
Downing said he loved the Walnut Creek of 2012 — "it's a sweet, sincere, authentic Main Street ... it's what you believe America is when you're traveling."
As to the Neiman Marcus that opened in March at Broadway Plaza, Downing said the store is "an interesting take on modernism in store design."
Then Downing emceed the show for about 120 people, showing the trend list that he prepared for women's fashion in the spring (first pink, then some sporty scuba looks, then yellow). Part of his role in visiting individual stores is to "give them (women) permission that it's OK to dress like this." He said, "I tell them it's perfectly OK," for instance, to pair a metallic shoe with a mixed print dress.