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The Forecast from FIDM: Bright New Design

Student designers debut inspired collections at Fashion Week El Paseo.

Maggie Downs Current Digital, Fashion & Style, Fashion Week El Paseo, Watch & Listen - Fashion Week

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FIDM designer Rodrigo Bunton Navarrete brought a memorable collection to Fashion Week El Paseo on March 21 in Palm Desert
PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY BINDMAN

When I was a little girl, I was a magazine junkie. And of all the magazines I loved, I looked forward to the September issue of Vogue most of all. This was the heftiest issue of the year — an issue so important there was even a documentary about it (called The September Issue, natch), the issue that always arrived in the mailbox with a thunk.

It was my favorite because it was a harbinger of everything new: a crisp new season, a return from vacation, back to school. Every page held potential, possibility. It was the sartorial forecast.

That’s how I also feel about FIDM night at Fashion Week El Paseo — a September issue come to life and trotted out on the runway, offering a glimpse of all the striking, stunning fashion for seasons yet to come.

Thursday night’s showcase featured debut student designers from Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, who worked for more than nine months to create their 10- to 12-piece collections

The show kicked off with the whimsical “Hello Sailor” womenswear collection designed by Tanee Prasert, a native of Thailand who now lives in Los Angeles. Models with their sailor hats askew, donning nautical stripes and bold red skirts, pranced down the catwalk like sexy Popeyes, minus any spinach.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY BINDMAN

Tanee Prasert’s collection blended red, white, and blue colors.

Ting Wang, a Beijing-bred designer, said she drew inspiration for her collection from the Museum of Ice Cream. But the sunny yellow and white pieces brought to mind a Palm Springs getaway — specifically the chic Lemonade Stand at The Parker — while her final look, a dreamy blue dress that seemed to float on a cloud of crinoline, looked as refreshing as a dip in the pool.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY ARIANA BINDMAN

Ting Wang’s final look, a dreamy blue dress, was breathtaking.

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY GARY BINDMAN

Charity Dahl collection.

The Sporty Spice of this showcase came courtesy of Charity Dahl, who created strong athleisure looks with bold crop tops, low-slung jogging pants that seemed as comfy as they were cute, and a knockout red trench coat.

Retired medical doctor Emiko Terasaki’s look was all eccentric glamour, taking knitwear to places you haven’t even imagined. Of all the designers featured in the FIDM show, Terasaki is the one whose head I most want to peek inside — I imagine it like the boat ride at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, a journey that’s beautiful and strange, but definitely sweet.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY YASIN CHAUDHRY

Emiko Terasaki’s collection.

Canadian Kiki Potterton showed off luxurious resortwear for the woman who shouldn’t have even booked a hotel room because she’s out dancing all night long.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY BINDMAN

Kiki Potterton collection.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY ARIANA BINDMAN

It made sense that the next designer, Mia Conroy, was inspired by looks from Burberry and Isabel Marant, because her streetwear collection was effortless, chic, and easy in red, black, and classic plaid.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY BINDMAN

Mia Conroy collection.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY YASIN CHAUDHRY

FIDM designer Ali Jawad and his collection.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY ARIANA BINDMAN

One of the highlights of the night was Lebanese designer Ali Jawad’s smart, well-constructed menswear collection. The palette of cream, navy, and dusty pink was intended to evoke a sandy desert landscape and inky sky — but more than anything, these pieces suggested how men can look both stylish and relaxed.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY BINDMAN

Rodrigo Bunton Navarrete collection.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY ARIANA BINDMAN

Rodrigo Bunton Navarrete said his collection was inspired by the structure of classic New York City architecture, and it specifically reminded me of Manhattanhenge, the twice-yearly phenomenon in which the setting sun aligns with the city’s east-west street grid. The sun is framed by skyscrapers, leaving the metal and glass awash with color. His gowns were equally stunning and memorable, with textiles in sophisticated Prussian blue and shimmery gold with the occasional splash of fuchsia.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY YASIN CHAUDHRY

Genevieve Lake collection.

Like a great rom-com, this evening ended with a wedding — or, rather, a bridal collection, which is close enough, from New Jersey native Genevieve Lake. Lake presented an array of gowns and separates for unconventional, forward-thinking brides.

Fashion Week El Paseo continues tonight with The Best of Saks Fifth Avenue Collection. The cocktail reception starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by the fashion show at 8 p.m. and after-party for ticket holders from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

VIDEO: Watch “FIDM Debut Collection” from start to finish here. For livestreams of every runway show, go to palmspringslife.com/livestream.