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Star Turns

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The fashion industry works at lightning speed to produce affordable versions of the enviable garments worn by the rich and famous, and Dawn Michelet, owner of The Red Carpet (3425 Magazine St., 281-4610), has made it her mission to bring those celebrity-inspired looks -- from jeans to special occasion dresses -- to the local market. In fact, Michelet and her staff pride themselves on stocking everything you need for a paparazzi-worthy entrance.

"I wanted a store that was going to be fun and that would have designers that you'd see on the E! channel, but at affordable prices," says Michelet, who opened The Red Carpet in 2004 but has been in the women's clothing retail business for more than a decade. "You can come here with your hair done and by the time you leave, you can have a dress, foundations, shoes, earrings and pantyhose -- everything from your nose to your toes. All you need for your date."

Locals know the Magazine Street boutique by its red door and its eye-catching, outdoor display of mannequins outfitted in the latest arrivals. Turnover of the merchandise is brisk, and there's always something new. Currently, the store is stocked with a selection of cool summer frocks -- vintage looks; beachy sundresses; mod "spywear" shifts; sexy, glam numbers and more -- for every occasion, day or night. Given that the store also carries T-shirts, jeans, jackets, jewelry, purses, shoes, belts, headbands, sunglasses and other items, a trip to The Red Carpet can quickly become a full-blown splurge. The good news is that it doesn't have to break the bank.

"We carry dresses that are $58 and others that are $5,000," says Michelet. "And we don't care if you spend $38 on a sale item or $3,800 on a ball gown. When you come here, you get full service." With a diversity of labels -- Pucci, ABS, Seven, Kay Unger, Lulu Guinness, Jovani, Alicia Hill, Kippy, Kenneth Cole, Chinese Laundry, Kathy Vanzeeland, Pierre Dumas, Bijou and Lazaro -- and sizes from 00 to 4X, The Red Carpet caters to women of all ages with a single goal in mind: When a customer enters the store, she should be treated like a VIP, and when she emerges with a new purchase, she should feel like the star attraction.

The store is open seven days a week.

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