Fashion Week El Paseo 2013: New Name, Nine Days and Plenty of Style

Iconic desert show builds on its past success with stellar lineup

Susan Stein, fashion editor for Palm Springs Life, reacts to Palm Springs designer Michael Costello's description of "The Drama & Designs of Project Runway" portion of Fashion Week El Paseo 2013.

Jim Powers

Jim Casey said his wardrobe has changed drastically in a year since associating his company’s name with Fashion Week El Paseo during Monday's press event at the Palm Desert offices of Integrated Wealth Management.

The CEO and president knows he can’t get away with just any kind of apparel.

“I called my tailor and asked him to make me some suits, so it’s cost me more than just the sponsorship,” said Casey, laughing. “I can’t be the sponsor of Fashion Week and be sloppy.”

However, the visual of this iconic desert show set for March 15-23, 2013, remains on the runway where Fashion Week has become the buzz of the industry.

“We love that people are now starting to come to us to be part of Fashion Week,” said Susan Stein, fashion editor at Palm Springs Life, which created the event eight years ago. “We’ve honestly been compared to be as good or better than the shows in New York.”

Casey saw that for himself last year under the 29,000 square foot white tent on Lakespur Lane, just blocks from the El Paseo shopping district in Palm Desert.

“I was just blown away last year and said, ‘let’s bring it up a notch,’ ” Casey said.

The result was Monday night’s announcement that Fashion Week 2013 will carry the title of Integrated Wealth Management, add an extra night of events and bring back the popular Trunk Show featuring a dozen designers from the hit-television show Project Runway, including Palm Springs’ Michael Costello.

Costello is originally from the Los Angeles area, but Palm Springs has been his home since he was 15. Now 29, he will make his third appearance at Fashion Week, promising Monday night’s audience at Integrated Wealth Management’s Palm Desert office to “knock your socks off.”

“Of course it means more to do this show,” Costello added. “I want to show my friends, family and everyone who I have grown to know here this beautiful collection that they can get because they can’t go to New York. I try to bring New York fashion week to this town, and I think we do it.”

Costello will be one of 50 designers at the show featuring Katharine Polk, Gilbert Chagoury, Sue Wong and a collection of graduates from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising spanning three decades. The popular Le Chien Showcase for four-legged models is back with the Classy Doggie Designs of Linda Higgins.

More than 300 attendees enjoyed last year’s Style and Beauty Bash, which will return with more than 30 salons and spas offering styling, makeup and haircut services for a $30 donation.

Sunnylands will display the fashions of Lenore Annenberg for the first time, and a panel of six designers will offer their own interpretations.

The Trunk Show, which allows Fashion Week-goers to interact with Project Runway designers from personal style to purchasing an outfit, is also back.

Last year’s event attracted more than 11,000 people, helping to raise more than $104,000 for 25 charities locally, according to Casey.

“It’s a perfect combination of commerce and philanthropy,” Casey said. “You can look at pretty things, have a good time and support good causes.

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