Paris, Berlin bid to host world's biggest fashion show

Paris, Berlin and some 50 cities across France hope to stage the world's biggest fashion show next week, with up to 10,000 men and women modelling their own style on giant open-air catwalks.

Held at the height of Paris fashion week which kicks off on Tuesday, the event organised by Paris' Galeries Lafayette department store is bidding for a spot in the Guinness Book of Records.

Would-be models aged 16 and over were asked to post pictures of their look on the store's website, with 700 finalists chosen from among 3,600 people to take part in the flagship catwalk show on Thursday on Boulevard Haussmann in central Paris.

Smaller events, to be held Thursday in Berlin and Saturday in 54 sister stores across France, have drawn over 10,000 registrations. Put end-to-end the catwalks measure some two kilometres (1.2 miles).

Currently, the Guinness fashion show record is for 250 people to tread the catwalk at the same time in 10 different locations.

"There will be men, women - people of all ages. We want to play on diversity," said Anne-Marie Gaultier, marketing director at Galeries Lafayette.

"We are not looking for the next Elite model - we want people to express their vision of fashion," she said, stressing that today's designers "draw their inspiration from the street."

The shows will be split into six themes: Fashion, Neo-Preppy, Rock, Glamour, Bohemian Chic and Street Sport, with models showcasing their own clothes - but made up by a team of professionals.

Ready-to-wear labels that have used non-professional models in the past include the Italian group Benetton, while the Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto regularly does so for his men's collections.

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