It takes a lot of chutzpah to pull off a runway show featuring 16 retail stores ranging from children’s wear to jewelry and everything in between. But that’s exactly what Palm Springs Life Fashion Director Susan Stein did last night at Runway Bar El Paseo, the official kickoff to Fashion Week El Paseo.
The evening featured looks from a smattering of independent retailers including InSanity from Denise Robergé, Trio, Cactus Flower Shoes, and Troy, as well as national specialty retailers Chico’s, Vilebrequin, and White House/Black Market. Each merchant showed wares from their spring 2010 shelves and the results stayed true to the overall scope of this season’s trends. Though instead of showing outfits that could have come from Vogue, these babies each had a personality that was distinctively Palm Springs.
The earthy, ethnic trend seen so heavily on the New York catwalks last September hit the desert in full force, as evidenced by a sheer, watercolor caftan by Chico’s, an Ikat-printed cover-up that could easily double as a blouse from 4 Seasons Swimwear and oversized raffia totes at Tommy Bahama’s. Jeweler Amber Romeo got in on the au natural action with chunky jade and amber lariats. And a Navajo-style fringed blanket cardigan from Josie’s Heart replicated the Native American look currently sweeping through Los Angeles’ coolest neighborhoods.
The 1960s were a big decade on the runway, as well. At Troy, models doubled for January Jones in Mad Men wearing a white taffeta sheath with organza trim and an oversized sheer bow on the back. Trio took their looks a bit later in the decade with a selection of hippie-esque children’s ensembles that made us wonder when the bra burning would begin. No such show, but we did get tie-dye leggings, a tank top emblazoned with the phrase “Love this planet” and a mini fringed handbag that looked better than those of some adults in the crowd.
Speaking of handbags, they were a highlight of the show from more than one retailer. Standouts included a major raffia carry all from Chico’s that looked like it belonged to an off-duty model, a quilted nude satchel from BB one and a brown leather belt bag (known in some circles as a fanny pack) from Josie’s Heart. But the piece de resistance was a disco ball mirror, faux-snakeskin satchel from White House/Black Market that channele similar Prada styles from a few seasons back for a measly $48.
As for the fellas, the fashion wasn’t earth shattering (save for those wash board abs). But the short cut of Vilebrequin’s cheery printed swim trunks evoked a cool, 1950s Mr. Ripley vibe that felt like a very welcome update to a trusty old classic. Just like a constantly evolving desert town we know and love.
Full Video of the Show –