By Emily Rapp Black
Fashion Week El Paseo – March 18-25, 2017
The 12th annual Fashion Week El Paseo is not only the “see and be seen” social occasion for the fashion conscious of any age, it’s the best week-long party of the season.
The second level parking deck at The Gardens on El Paseo is the ideal central location for the event, just a Jimmy Choo’s throw away from Saks Fifth Avenue. (Follow the red carpet, clinking of glasses, and ebullient laughter.) The nightly preshow cocktail crowd is lively and diverse before the couture parades beneath the perfectly cooled white tent, where not even the models break a sweat under the runway lights.
Fashion Week began 12 years ago with only one designer — Kevan Hall — and has developed to include diverse shows that illustrate the evolution in the concept, execution, diversity, and reach of the event. “We’ve come so far in 11 years,” says Susan Stein, Palm Springs Life‘s fashion and scene editor, and the brains behind Fashion Week El Paseo. Stein gushed about this year’s “perfect mix of designers,” including New Yorker CD Greene, destined to bring the house down during the dazzling finale show.
“Le Chien” dog fashion show, featuring a “Le Masquerade” theme, promises to be hugely popular, as always. (It also benefits the Humane Society of the Desert.) Debut designs from FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s top graduating students are highly anticipated, as are designer collections from Milan and Beirut, an evening sponsored by YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund from New York, and a meet-and-greet, trunk show, and fashion show by Michael Costello and the stars of Project Runway.
Thanks to Stein’s leadership and the dedication of her team, Fashion Week El Paseo has become a trendsetter, hosting its first trunk show 10 years ago, before such events were common in the industry. Trunk shows enable designers to deliver on-the-spot wearable fashion: Sending them home with empty trunks and a stack of Benjamins. Instead of farm-to-table, it’s runway-to-wearer, which Stein observes is part of the modern zeitgeist: “Everybody wants everything now.”
Top designers from the past 11 years include Marc Bouwer, Monique Lhuillier, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Gemma Kahng, and Zang Toi. The largest consumer fashion event on the West Coast represents the entire spectrum of design — and even devotes a show to shoppable fashion, off ering looks curated from 10 stores on El Paseo.
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