FASHION SHOW
South Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road
Clark County, Nevada


The third major shopping mall in -or around- Nevada's "Sin City" was built by a joint venture of El Segundo, California's Ernest W. Hahn, Incorporated and Vegas' Summa Corporation (an entity comprising the business interests of the late Howard Hughes).

A 34 acre plot, situated 2.8 miles southwest of downtown Las Vegas, was developed as FASHION SHOW (a.k.a. FASHION SHOW MALL). The site, along the northern stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard ("The Strip"), was located in an unincorporated section of Clark County known as Paradise.

Comprised of 2 retail levels, the 822,700 square foot complex was built atop a subterranean parking deck. Its interior was done in a desert motif, using flora and fauna indigenous to the American Southwest. The Main Entrance featured a broad, 2-level ramp which doubled as a catwalk for fashion shows.

Anchoring FASHION SHOW were a 2-level (130,400 square foot), Los Angeles-based Bullock's, 2-level (102,000 square foot) Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, 2-level (107,400 square foot) Phoenix-based Goldwaters, 2-level (120,000 square foot) Phoenix-based Diamond's and 2-level (64,000 square foot), New York City-based Saks Fifth Avenue.

Among the 134 inline stores were Florsheim Shoes, Units apparel, See's Candies, Waldenbooks, Toys International, Orange Julius and Haagen-Daz.

The mall's grand opening took place February 14, 1981. As one might expect, the inauguration of the 74 million dollar retail hub included a high profile fashion show. This was attended by such luminaries as Adolpho and Michael Vollbracht, Bill Blass, Mary McFadden, Pauline Trigere and Bob Mackie.

The major retail facilities in Greater Las Vegas had been THE BOULVARD (1968) {1.7 miles east, in Clark County} and MEADOWS MALL (1978) {3.2 miles northwest, in Las Vegas}. Eventually there would also be FORUM SHOPS AT CAESARS (1994), a shopping arcade added to the Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino {.5 mile south, in Clark County} and GALLERIA AT SUNSET (1996) {8 miles southeast, in Henderson}.

The original anchor store line up at FASHION SHOW was first altered in the fall of 1986, when 18 Diamond's stores were rebranded under a newly-created, Phoenix-based division of Dillard's.

Goldwaters became a Los Angeles-based May Company California in February 1989. This heading changed again in January 1993, when the store was rebranded as a So-Cal-based Robinsons-May. Bullock's became the mall's third anchor conversion in 1996, when the store was rebranded as a Macy's.

The May Department Stores-Federated Stores merger of August 2005 resulted in further conversions of FASHION SHOW Robinsons-May and Macy's stores. The Goldwaters / May Company / Robinsons-May was designated as Macy's Fashion Show, while the Bullock's / Macy's became Macy's Las Vegas. This transition was completed on September 9, 2006.

Companies owning the mall also evolved over the years. The shopping center interests of Ernest W. Hahn, Incorporated had been acquired by Toronto-based Trizec in May 1980. By the late 1980s, the amalgamated company was known as the TrizecHahn Corporation. The Summa entity assumed the heading of the Howard Hughes Corporation in 1994.

Maryland's Rouse Company merged with the Howard Hughes Corporation in May 1996...involving a 75 percent share of FASHION SHOW. TrizecHahn, owning the remaining 25 percent, sold out to Rouse in April 1999. Finally, in November 2004, Chicago-based General Growth Properties acquired the real estate holdings of the Rouse Company, which included FASHION SHOW.

With a 100-percent share of the shopping center established, the Rouse Company embarked on a major expansion of the property in 1999. A 14.2 acre tract directly west of the existing structure was acquired.

Ground was broken for the "Bigger Than Life" reconstruction project. Designed by the Los Angeles-based Altoon & Porter firm, it was to add over 1 million leasable square feet to FASHION SHOW and more than double its size. The first structure to be completed, a multilevel parking garage, was built at the southwest corner of the newly-enlarged 48.2 acre mall site.

The project would include the construction of 4 new anchor stores; a 2-level (200,000 square foot) Dillard's, 2-level (100,000 square foot) Bloomingdale's Home (the first in the nation), 2-level (166,000 square foot) Saks Fifth Avenue and 3-level (200,000 square foot) Nordstrom (the first in Nevada).

These would connect into a 2-level expansion wing, built several feet higher than the circa-1981 mall. Like the original structure to the east, it would cover an underground parking deck. 

The original complex, and an eastward expansion, would become Lower Level East and Upper Level East. The new western section would be known as Lower Level West and Upper Level West. The 2 sections of the expanded mall would be linked by a set of escalators located south of the Robinsons-May store.

During the mall's remodeling, 3 existing anchors were expanded; Neiman Marcus to 160,000 square feet, Macy's to 207,000 square feet and Robinsons-May to 201,000 square feet. A second multilevel parking garage would also be built at the northwest corner of the site.

The primary feature of the remodeled retail hub would be a 128 foot high structure along the mall's Strip-facing facade. Known as The Cloud, its underside would become a giant projection surface during evening operating hours.

At the center of the westward expansion would be The Great Hall, a large court area and venue for daily fashion shows. Moreover, a third level in the eastward enlargement would house a 17-bay Food Court.

Phase One of the 1 billion dollar renovation was officially dedicated November 1, 2002. 4 new anchor stores commenced operation on that day. Dillard's and Saks Fifth Avenue moved from smaller quarters in the original mall. Bloomingdale's Home and Nordstrom joined the retail roster.

Lord & Taylor, originally signed to assume the old Diamond's / Dillard's spot, cancelled their FASHION SHOW plans in 2003. The store structure would sit vacant for over 6 years. The original Saks, now vacant, was demolished between December 2002 and January 2003. This made way for the new East Wing expansion and The Cloud.

This Phase Two segment of the addition was dedicated in October 2003. FASHION SHOW now encompassed 1,888,100 leasable square feet and housed 250 stores and services.

More recent changes at the shopping center involve the shuttering of Macy's Fashion Show, in January 2008, and the opening of a Los Angeles-based Forever 21 Superstore, in the old Dillard's, on July 24, 2010. The Macy's Fashion Show store re-opened, as a Macy's Men's, on February 28, 2013. The Bloomingdale's Home store was shuttered in April 2013. It re-opened, as a Dick's Sporting Goods, on October 30, 2015.

At the same time, a reconfiguration of the mall's Strip-facing facade was nearing completion. It rebuilt 22,000 square feet of store space on the Lower Level Plaza (beneath The Cloud) into several new establishments. The first of these, Kona Grill, Strip Burger, Luke's Lobster and Davidoff Cigar Bar, were in operation by November 2015. 

Sources:

"Fashion Show Mall" article on Wikipedia
Comment posts by Randy
The Los Angeles Times
Florence-Sheffield-Tuscumbia-Muscle Shoals Times Daily
The Las Vegas Sun

web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.thefashionshow.com (Fashion Show Mall website on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)
web.archive.org/web/20020322170857/oxygen.citadon.com/fashionshow (Rouse Company website on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)
www.thefashionshow.com
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)