Fun Prevails on El Paseo Runway

Retailers break the rules and entertain at Fashion Week El Paseo

El Paseo Runway - Monday, March 19, 2012

Photo By Gregg Felsen

Most fashion shows are rarely “fun.” You wait in line to check in, wait in line to be seated, wait way too long for the show to start and, 10 minutes later, wait with a group of hungry, caffeinated fashion editors to squeeze and push out the door.

Which is why the consumer-focused El Paseo Runway fashion show — the second evening event at Fashion Week El Paseo — was a welcome treat. Here, A novel idea, indeed.

Another novelty in the world of fashion shows is the idea of an entertaining show. No sullen models here, but exuberant, smiling bodies who perfectly conveyed the sunny California lifestyle in color-block bikinis from Diane’s Beachwear, floppy straw hats and sundresses from Tommy Bahama, and bright silk separates from Bebe.

El Paseo Jewelry exhibited its baubles on models clad in bowler hats and all-black ensembles, with neon wristbands to show off their sparkling bracelets, ice pond-sized rings, and necklaces of crown jewel worthiness. Jewelry is tough to show on a runway, but they managed just fine.

As a bonus, one model threw her bowler hat into the crowd and drew cheers.

Another creative departure from the usual runway walk came courtesy of Cactus Flower Shoe Salon, which opened the show with a ballerina dancing Cinderella clad in tattered rags. As she stood at the end of the catwalk, “stepsisters” presented her with a pyramid of shoeboxes displaying the El Paseo boutique’s selection of rhinestone adorned, Lucite-heeled sandals, slides, stilettos, and skimmers. The audience ate it up. And, as good fairy tales go, a handsome prince saved the day with a pair of Lucite and clear PVC heels. After all, the key to a woman’s heart is a good pair of shoes.

The prince flashed his abs, and cheers erupted once again.

Later, a male model sporting desert boots for fellow shoe retailer J. Stephens flashed his abs, too, garnering more cheers from happy audience members who clearly got their money’s worth.

White House/Black Market, Bebe, Cache, and Eileen Fisher each stayed true to their brands and individual aesthetics with merchandise from their spring shelves.

But accessories maker Zenzara made hearts race with a selection of lace shawls, metallic velvet fringe bags, tribal clutches, and tassel necklaces. Dsigner Peggy Goertzen has been in the handbag game for a while, crafting her collection from antique Italian fabrics by Fortuny, 19th century laces and semiprecious stones from around the world.

Closing the show was a crew of cute kiddie models clad in sweatshirts, skinny jeans, and sequined party dresses from She She. All the outfits were age appropriate. And the fact that they were about as far from Toddlers and Tiaras as a pint sized ensemble could get left an ear-to-ear smile on every face in the crowd.

“That was really fun!” one animated viewer beamed when it was all over.

Yes, it was.

View Runway Show Below:



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