Photography by Yasin Chaudhry, Tiffany L. Clark, George Duchannes, Nicole Jaramillo, Roger Morales, and Paige Robberstad.

Reporting by June Alan Corrigan, Lisa Marie Hart, Janice Kleinschmidt, and Amelia Rodriguez

Fashion Week El Paseo returned to The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert after a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus for a 15th annual celebration that dropped the runway to floor level and doubled the amount of front-row seating. Designers ranging from the well-known (Trina Turk and Michael Costello) to the far out (Edwin Oudshoorn and Keanan Duffty) took their turns entertaining and inspiring sold-out audiences, which cheered on the parades of perfectly coiffed models. Here’s a show-by-show recap of all the stylish action.

Color, Optimism, Trina Turk

The exuberant hues and carefree silhouettes of Trina Turk’s spring 2022 collection captured the mood on opening night. Barefoot models in brilliantly colored caftans reflected the quintessential Palm Springs “cocktails by the pool” culture. Gentlemen’s fashions from Mr Turk were met with enthusiastic hoots and hollers.

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Dogs on the Runway

What’s not to like about Le Chien, the annual fashion show that weaves dogs into the equation? In this evening benefiting Palm Springs Animal Shelter and California Paws Rescue, models walked the runway with paw-dorable rescues as featured designer Aneka Brown led the crowd on a cultural trip exploring her African heritage through fashion.

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“The Buzz” in Ready-to-Wear

El Paseo boutiques put their best foot forward, offering a look at what’s new in ready-to-wear. There were glittery offerings from El Paseo Jewelers and The Fine Jewelry Bar, color-saturated fashions from BG’s El Paseo and Tommy Bahama, shimmery creations from Grayse, and stunning dresses from Chrissy’s on El Paseo, Josie’s on El Paseo, and Summer Colony Living.

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Mystical Michael Costello

Homegrown designer Michael Costello’s Midnight Sahara collection owes its origins to his pre-COVID trip to Cairo, Egypt. Typical to Costello’s signature style, the looks embraced sensuality and strength. Scintillating gowns and jumpsuits in nudes and jewel tones seemed to nod at the mysticism of the ancient wonders, while a sea of all-black looks put the “midnight” in the collection’s name.

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Expect the Unexpected

Nine recent graduates of Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles presented debut collections featuring ruffles, voluminous sleeves, pleats, and leather. A common thread among the grads’ designs was the underlying message within their collections. All appear more interested in honoring their heritage, promoting individual identity, and pushing boundaries than simply fabricating something pretty.

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Springtime for Saks

A chic and eager audience was on hand for Saks Fifth Avenue’s turn on the runway — an exhilarating parade of spring and summer fashions from leading American and European designers. “Saks Fifth Avenue is focused on bringing the glamour back, returning to the idea of dressing up as opposed to the leisure wear we’ve all been living in for the past two years,” Saks’ general manager Dennis Flaig-Moore said.

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Once Upon a Time

In the world of Dutch designer Edwin Oudshoorn, fabric is a tool of expression — and a particularly theatrical one. He plays with transparency, layering, volume, dramatic shapes, and bold colors, draping elements that a whiff of air could send afloat. “In The Netherlands, they call me ‘The Designer of Storytelling,’ ” he shared. “I love to tell a story with design. You have an image from afar, and then when you look closer, it is detailed and layered.”

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Shining Examples

Fashion Week El Paseo attendees were among the first people to see Christopher Bates’ womenswear on a runway. He himself considered that element of the evening “particularly exciting” after a decade of dedicating his art to menswear. “People are reinventing themselves and their wardrobes,” he said. Bates’ spring collection centered around a sense of optimism, visible in playful patterns and metallics. Even designs that appeared solid featured a microtexture or micropattern.

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The Greatest Showman

For Keanan Duffty, music and fashion are inseparable. “Turn and face the strange” — the apt lyric to “Changes” by David Bowie — opened this fashion party that showcased hand-embellished streetwear. Skulls, stars, Jolly Rogers, Union Jacks, and a coat of arms appeared on separates that took influence from military uniforms, pirate lore, and vintage styles.

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