Designer Sabine Luise poses in her original designs available at Sabine Luise Atelier in Palm Springs.

What to Wear for Modernism Week

The ultimate guide to getting gussied up for Modernism Week (and all the other chic events you plan to attend this season).

Tara Dupuis Fashion & Style, Modernism

Designer Sabine Luise poses in her original designs available at Sabine Luise Atelier in Palm Springs.

Designer Sabine Luise poses in her original designs available at Sabine Luise Atelier in Palm Springs.

As Modernism Week October takes over Greater Palm Springs, we dive into what defines mod style and where to find apparel and accessories locally to help you fit in while also standing out from the crowd. Whether you’re taking in a house tour or headed to a VIP cocktail party at a private estate, up the ante on your wardrobe for a full mod immersion.

Since the late 1950s, the mod style has represented a spirit of individuality and optimism with its signature clean lines, bold colors, and geometric patterns. The movement sprang to life on the streets of London and over the years has influenced rockers, mod revivalists, and even the 1990s Britpop scene. The term “mod” derives from modernism, and the style has been ever-evolving as it morphed through the decades.

Armando’s Bar

Sabine Luise's original designs.

Whatever colors, prints, or accessories you mix into your wardrobe, remember that mod style is all about a curated outfit. For designer Sabine Luise, “What I love about that era is that people got dressed up. There was thought put into going out for the day no matter what you were doing. It is a beautiful aesthetic.”

Sabine Luise Atelier

Express your individuality with wearable works of art at Sabine Luise Atelier, housed in the 1955 Donald Wexler–designed E.F. Hutton building in the historic Town & Country Center complex. “It was the only commercial building he ever did,” designer and atelier owner Sabine Luise says. “I’m extremely grateful that I’m allowed to be in this building, and it works really well for my concept. I take the old and the new and combine them in my designs, so each piece you see is one of a kind.” Luise hand-stitches each and every garment with upcycled and vintage fabrics for truly expressive, wearable pieces, noting that “the fabrics they used back then have a quality that is really hard to find today.”

Cabana Eyewear

For luxury vintage sunglasses with a major wow factor, head over to Cabana Eyewear at The Shops at Thirteen Forty-Five, a boutique collective appropriately located in an iconic 1950s E. Stewart Williams–designed building. Browse an extremely chic selection of vintage eyewear from brands like Ted Lapidus and Dior to put the finishing touch on your look. As Luise puts it, “for the mod woman, sunglasses can never be missed.”

Trina Turk

Of course, one cannot talk mod style in Palm Springs without reverence to Trina Turk. Luise agrees: “Our iconic Trina Turk deserves all the credit for contemporary designs that draw on retro and mod styles. She is one of the most unbelievable print designers and is a guru for mod style. Nobody can really do it like Trina Turk.” Shop the Trina Turk and Mr Turk boutiques in Palm Springs or Palm Desert for perfected silhouettes and patterns that will carry you from day to night. The brand’s dazzling selection of accessories is the chef’s kiss to an all-out mod look.

Armando’s Bar

Mitchel Karp Owner of Mitchells. 

Armando’s Bar

Mitchells Palm Springs.

Mitchells Palm Springs

What is it exactly that continues to fuel our love for all things modernism, including fashion? Mitchel Karp, owner of Mitchells Palm Springs, muses that “people who shop vintage have already committed to expressing themselves, whether it be mod or some other genre. It’s not cookie-cutter fashion — it’s one item of one size in a certain colorway.

That’s the beauty of mod vintage.” Mitchells offers the city’s crème de la crème of vintage shopping in a fittingly midcentury building from the late 1950s. With a stellar collection of top vintage finds from labels like Gucci, Chanel, and Pucci alongside a fun and uplifting disco and house playlist, a stop here will have you outfitted for your swingin’ soirée in no time.

Melody Note Vintage

Melody Note Vintage offers a fun and attentive shopping experience through an impressive collection of vintage ranging from the 1920s to the early 1990s. When it comes to mod, owner Meghan Smith shares some tips: “For men, it’s going to be clean-cut overall — skinny-cut ties and 1960s-cut suits. For ladies, ’60s shorter skirts and backcombed hair.” And even though motor scooters may seem like a cliché of mod culture, Palm Springs provides an ideal backdrop for a cruise to cocktail hour. Smith agrees, stating that her mod must-haves are “a Lambretta scooter and some badges for your favorite bands.”


The beloved local thrift chain Revivals serves up funky pieces on a budget. “Mod style is optimistic and bright,” says Steven Henke, Revivals chief of brand marketing, adding that a little mixing and matching will help your look feel uniquely you.

“At Revivals, you’ll find pre-loved mixed-century mod that allows you to dress without looking like you’re going to a decade-themed party.” Accessories are key, and he notes that “for men and women, the right belt and the right bangle make any look soar.”

Wil Stiles

Fun prints, bold colors and eye-catching accessories for all genders are in store at Wil Stiles in the Uptown Design District. The bold belts and sunglasses are an easy way to lend a pop of color to any outfit while offering a nod to the mod era. The shop offers a curated selection of cheerful international labels alongside its own limited line of tailored and richly colored, short-sleeve shirts for men — exclusive to the Palm Springs location. Some of the cheeky designs found on these racks are sure to make you smile while you shop.