Fashion Week El Paseo is renowned for whipping stylish men and women into a shopping frenzy, and the drool-worthy styles strutted down the runways often can be ordered during the event’s trunk shows or purchased at a local retailer.
Here’s a guide to getting your well-manicured hands on the newest, freshest, finest pieces from the shows — set for March 16–22 — as well as a quick look at local boutiques with their own exclusive fashions.
Shop a new look straight from the runways
Tuesday, March 18
Pop into your favorite LBD for the cocktail reception and Street Scene on El Paseo runway show, where some of la rue’s top retailers will premiere their spring collections of daywear, swimwear, and accessories. Take notes on the newest styles from El Paseo Jewelers, Frasca Jewelers, BB One, BG’s Eclectic, Diane’s Beachwear, BeBe, She She, and Eileen Fisher, then pick up your favorites the next day.
Wednesday, March 19
The day and night belong to Michael Costello and five top designers from past seasons of Project Runway — Viktor Luna, Ariyaphon Southiphong (formerly known as Andy South), Irina Shabayeva, Uli Herzner, and Helen Castillo. There’s an open-to-the-public Q&A session with Costello and his fellow designers at 10 a.m. Then the glamour factor gets turned up for an evening Superstars of Project Runway show, where all the designers unveil their Spring 2014 collections.
Thursday, March 20
The previous day’s action is a runup to this highly anticipated trunk show, where Costello and the other designers will be on hand for personal fittings and custom orders from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. That night, the runway show spotlights Jim Mullin, the newest designer on El Paseo, and he promises to deliver a lot of visual fireworks in a presentation of the JM Couture debut collections — lingerie, swimwear, denim, sportswear, and “black label” special-occasion pieces. All will be on view at his boutique the next day.
Friday, March 21
Saks Fifth Avenue’s runway show packs some of the fashion world’s glossiest names into one evening. The preview of menswear and womenswear for spring 2014 includes looks by Stella McCartney, Etro, Roberto Cavalli, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Pucci, and Ralph Lauren. Look for all of these at the store in the week ahead.
Saturday, March 22
New York’s Zang Toi, “Designer of the Week,” rules the runway and premieres his spring collection of elegant, feminine pieces. Come to his trunk shows during the day on Sunday and Monday at Saks Fifth Avenue for personal fittings and orders. Call Saks at 760-837-2900 for exact times.
A top graduate of the Paris Academy of Fashion Design in London, Fe Zandi premiered her first collection in Houston when she was just 20, becoming a darling of the Texas jet set and going on to open a couture salon in Beverly Hills. Following the raging success of that venture, she moved her headquarters to El Paseo.
The country club crowd loves her dramatic and feminine cocktail dresses, suits, and gowns, as well as her exacting attention to detail and fit. A Fe Zandi design is unmistakable — highly embellished, with opulent fabrics and bold lines. 73111 El Paseo, Palm Desert. 760-776-6100; www.fezandi.com
Trina Turk opened her first stand-alone boutique in Palm Springs in 2002, sparking the birth of what is now known as the Uptown Design District. The 1960s Albert Frey building is the perfect foil for her cheerful, retro-inspired California-chic line of women’s clothing and accessories, swimwear, Mr. Turk menswear, home goods, and a newly launched collection of workout wear for women. 891 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. 760-416-2856; www.trinaturk.com
Full of indie pop-up shops selling home design pieces, art, and accessories, Raymond | Lawrence is the one spot on the planet where women can try on and order custom pieces from two emerging design studios. V&G Hipwear’s one-of-a-kind leather accessories — dramatic, fringed leather shawls, handbags, jewelry, and belts — channel the haute hippie look with a distinct rock’n’roll edge. Ukraine native Fedor is an up-and-coming couturier whose new collection of silk evening gowns and suits, cocktail dresses, and extravagant evening coats are custom-made and shown exclusively at Raymond | Lawrence. 830 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. 760-322-3344; www.raymond-lawrence.com
Route 66 West, Matt Burkholz’ meticulously curated accessories boutique, brims with what he calls “plastic luxuria” — opulent finessed Bakelite, celluloid, Lucite, acrylic, and acetate from the ’20s and ’30s, all in pristine condition. These mingle with vintage couture pieces, including gorgeous baubles by Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel, Miriam Haskell, and Patricia Von Musulin. It’s a favorite stop for actress Diane Keaton, designer Trina Turk, and Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant. 465 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. 760-322-6669; route66west.com
Score Big at the Pro Shops
The desert’s country club and hotel pro shops have a long tradition of springtime discounts. Along with markdowns on spiffy golf and tennis shirts, shorts, and skirts, there are good deals on the separates and dresses many shops carry. And you needn’t be a member to scoop up the savings. Look for sales to start midmonth and run through April. Call your favorite shop to pin down the dates.
Two of the standouts:
La Quinta Resort & Club has three separate pro shops, all packed with golf and tennis duds from famous names, as well as their resort logo apparel. 49499 Eisenhower Dr., La Quinta. 760-564-4111; www.laquintaresort.com
The PGA TOUR Superstore in Palm Desert just opened and doesn’t yet have a tradition of spring bargains, but they keep a close eye on the competition and always have promotions going on. 72280 Hwy. 111, Palm Desert. 760-601-3450; www.pgatoursuperstore.com