Desert wildflowers may come and go, but every March brings one very reliable blossom to Palm Desert: Fashion Week El Paseo, the biggest annual fashion event on the West Coast. The eight days of design, color, and sass kicks off this Saturday, March 17, and runs through March 24, radiating from the tents outside The Gardens on El Paseo, a luxury shopping destination in the Palm Springs area.
Now in its 13th year, Fashion Week El Paseo has a lineup of 100-plus events, including trunk shows, cocktail receptions, and chances to glimpse fashion stars. This year, designer and Project Runway star Michael Costello returns for a few events, like a California Dreamin’ trunk show (March 17), and the annual fashion show and meet-and-greet he does with his reality-TV cohorts (March 20). (Fun fact: Costello spent his teen years in Palm Springs, and started creating fashions for A-listers at age 15. You can see some of the dresses he has created for the award-season red carpet at The Grammy Museum in L.A.)
This year, some of Fashion Week’s biggest shows will be devoted Alice + Olivia, Carolina Herrera, and couture master Ralph Rucci. Many events also have a feel-good factor: March 19’s annual little-black-dress cocktail hour and fashion show, hosted by non-profit Girlfriend Factor, will raise scholarship funds for young women. The Humane Society of the Desert, meanwhile, reaps the benefits from the Le Dogue En Vogue show that features canine fashions—and yes, your dog can come with you (to this and all other shows, as long as he/she accessorizes with any style of leash).
And even if you’re not sitting on the front row with your bichon at a trunk show, this is a great time to people-watch and shop at El Paseo and around the Palm Springs area: check out the list of El Paseo’s in-store events—like the unique jewelry of Aria de Koning on display at Coda Gallery, daily drawings for gift cards at Eileen Fisher, and a 20 percent discount at White House Black Market just for saying the words “Fashion Week.”