Luscious Tastes & Tantalizing Couture: El Paseo Fashion Week 2010 – Feature

The aspect of fashion icons in the desert has always fascinated the regions of Hollywood. While the world revolves around New York and Milan, the aspect of young minds and respective professionals in a cash rich community like Palm Desert on the edge of Palm Springs should cause one to turn heads especially with the current build of young oriented outlays for the jet set which balance the ideal of the area as only a lure for the retired. With Vegas overdone, young Hollywood is looking for a new hangout, close enough to jump to but not long to get back. If Sinatra did it, why can’t they.

El Paseo is the heart of Palm Desert; its Rodeo Drive if you will where the essence of brands, cigars and eateries line the blocks. Hidden behind the main structure, the centerpiece for Fashion Week rests in bungalow style tents rigged with high end equipment. The young and beautiful have come out along with the design elite and the local money mavens. The balance is key but even more important is finding a common ground within the eyes of taste and reward which is always the equalizer in terms of fashion.

The first show encountered, the Fashion Institute Of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) which provided debut show for a variety of students approaching their own sense of structure. The most successful of these outlays came from both JuanCarlos Fabian and Brittany My Linh Vu with a special mention for Sam Klemick. Linh Vu’s collection was the most successful because of its blend of elegance and agressiveness. One of the key elements missing from many of the other designers was a cohesive structure of practicality. Many outfits inlayed draping fabric without a sense of brevity or intrinsic using ideas more as a trend than a statement. Vu’s idealization comes from an ode to an earlier time, in the form of the 20s which is a returning interest. Her modes balance between shiny and sheer fabrics creating an almost visceral kind of “Bond Lush” element. Her later collection elements became slightly more erractic in the perception of being less practical than in terms of actual wearability. Her personality also relifies her in a different structure idealizing both polish and energy. Fabian, by comparison, takes a more classical approach using elements of satin that come off much more luxurious. A black wraparound dress emcompasses its wearer and impresses the audience with aplomb while his continual use of silken maroon material lusciously livens his muses while still being inherently wearable. Sam Klemick by comparison takes her influence from Alice In Wonderland and, while being inherently uncommercial in many ways, the whimsical element of her style allows a lightness of touch that brings character. The idealism at times seems a little bit too didactic despite its demeanor but the underlying structure belies the funky.

The antecedent show by Jamie Paul Holahan approached the beach metaphor in earnest using new ideas in visceral communion with new collaborator Lucille V. Wagner. The incrementing intensity brought to mind white butter fun drenched in sun belied “Lost” chic emphasizing the draping of saroujns while downplaying the Bermuda element with a less stretch oriented wear for the guys. When the female quotient responded in favor, the red and whites pemeated in parallel tantalizing with a continuing trend of 20s influence alas motivated by a more intensive use of skin. Simplicity also highlighted some of the suits despite a lack of matching structure which indicated a purposeful angle. The sense of open shirts and sloping lines pointed towards a rock n’ roll vision despite misfires peppered with the ideal of one piece suits which didn’t quite catch fire. The muted templates though allowed for some sleek repurcussions specifically with navy and maroon gaining ground highlighting the necessary beauty in reflective quantities.

The effervescence of couture relegated itself in the closing night perceptions of designer Colleen Quen who, also as a graduate of FIDM, approaches ideals of fashion with a perception of practical elements but with a sense of eliptical lines. Initiating with light pastels and within a restrained disposition, the use of sloping lines with Egyptian motif collars shows a influence of East vs. West. Certain idioms plays to the opposite such as the overuse of fabric but sheer lines of orange silk and silver veneer against the right kind of skin popped with unbelievable certainty.

The culinary balance reflected in the two days of tastings balanced between the ideals of fine dining and wood fire grilling. The resorts played indicative roles but the diversity of a variety of vitners and establishments showed an inherent approach allowing for both community involvement.

JW Desert Springs Resort, host for the opening night party at Costas, offered a love in its bruchetta crostini with creamy buratta cheese from Italy and fresh basil while Wally’s nearby swirled with salmon inverted with cream cheese and capicola wrapped with asparagus which while pleasing to the eye lacked a reverberating taste.Citron at the Viceroy Palm Springs with chef James Bailey intensified a creamy smoked salmon rillet while Zini Cafe Med provided a inventive mixture of spicy lemon shrimp, veal and ricotta meatballs and lemon peels stuffed wih luscious saffron and potatoes.

Tropicale, locally reknowned, intensified with its chinese chicken salad but ultimately fell prey to the similarly themed Bellalix whose Asian Noodle salad with its chunks of shrimp and pork delighted in grand balanced buoyed by their inference of a hot happy hour belied by $3 glasses of wine, $4 apps and $1 off well drinks which is always packed. Lantana, headquartered at the Palm Springs Hyatt under the direction of Chef Chris Mitchum, offered a beautiful structure with seared ahi tuna over tamoracili mixed with roasted sun dried tomatoes but paled in comparison to the comforting vision and taste of Fleming’s luscious smoked cheddar mac and cheese that was simply riveting.

On the vitner side, the essence was built in the comparisons of cabarnet mostly introduced from the Sonoma and Napa regions. Folie A’ Deux approached with its 2007 vintage which moved with tart and rich apricot flavors out of Napa while Kenwood’s 2006 sauvignon allowed a smooth tang though a bit overstated.

The undeniable highlight by far was the new vision of Jaqk’s which both embodies the exuberance of cool with a very distinctive taste. Although using the grapes of various vineyards on the path to their own, this barely year old vintage succeeds in its balance of both soft and strong variances. It 22 Black Jack Cabernet Sauv has the bite necessary to fuel the fire while its High Roller Cab silks its way with an undeniable smoothness sure to the warm the heart of any girl late into the evening.

Revering in the chef’s demos, the outside area overlooking El Paseo Drive fared better than the internal tent structure simply by the persistance of chatter. Neal Fraser of Grace and BLD in Los Angeles offered simplicity with a tartness of structure in creating a halibut sashimi balanced within a lobster ceviche. The key rested within the mixing of charvil and yuzo soho (which is the green dollop one sometimes sees on sushi) to enhance the essential taste. The use of olive oil in simplistic pairing (the chef recommends those from Sacramento) only enhances the vision.

By comparison, Deborah Scott, chef of the indominitable Kemo Sabe in San Diego, offered the ability of the aptly named “Skirts On Fire” using tantalizing skirt steak rich in marinade wrapped in a fold of green and topped with blue cheese crumbles and carmelized onions. Using practical application with the help of spice in the form of cilantro, kosher salt, black pepper and apple cider vinegar along with a pinch of Vietnamese chile, the aftermath is vindictive, fun and exceptional but not for lazy palates.

The energy of Marc Cullen, one of the gurus of The Food Network, cannot be ignored. While the edginess of the direct persona might be grating for some, the advice across all perspectives is sound, whether speaking of the necessity in cutting out onion cores to speaking on the overpricing of rice that can be boiled in a bag. In demoing the making a visceral shrimp risotto which simply oozes post mortem with the excessive structure of calories, Cullen understands the want of a great dish not simply permeated by the fact of the chef who made it. The key is understanding the chemical breakdown of ingredients whether it be using garlic powder and salt instead of garlic salt or necessitating the viscosity of thick whipping cream.

The effective daybreaker demo was Hector Salvatierra, executive chef at Camelot Cafe which is undeniably connected to the essence of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. His approach relegates with hearty premonition of food as life. His preparation of paella shows an integration of different styles while balancing the aspect of both his Spanish heritage but also a love of family. The dish itself was structured in view using thick chorizo, tomatoes, garlic, pepper and olive oil which assimilated into a crackling cauldron in the pan that could be smelled enticingly. After creating a cross line of rice (which he said always works), the grilled chicken, shrimp, clams and mussels add a motley vision while lemon slices adorn the corners. Displaying an excess of productivity in making three full pans, he offered the salivating concoction is plentiful quantity that allowed for the essence of hunger to come screaming out for more.

The afterparty permeations created both structure and underscore using intrepid venues but without a sense of energy or scale. The Costas Nightclub party after the FIDM Show wrangled with young models in a sinful reconciliation of light offered poise but a lack of tendecies despite a den-like VIP Lounge and intrepid vodka cocktails fueled by the essence of Lotus. Augusta hosted the afterparty for the Quan show is an open tent on its grounds which this time provided an energy fueled by the trendy female stylists and two of the designers who undeniably understood freedom of movement on the dance floor despite an absense of vodka.

Accommodation to emcompass such an event can be specific and personal but also psychological. Whereas a boutique hotel in this situation may distract, a resort like the Renaissance Esmerelda within the Indian Wells Golf Resort offers a tranquility and energy all the same. Buoyed by its spacious rooms with overlays into the pool where all matter of bathing suits frequent and small but effective balconies to oversee the festivities, the message is calming but social.

The Cava Restuarant, parallel to the pool area instituting sand beaches and cool waters, works on the basis of Southern California organic mentality. Chef Greg Picard in introducing his new menus at regular intervals knows that his guests can be rested but that the mind recognizes those things that it loves. Whether infusing elements of farmer’s markets or the tastes of some of his staff including Latin and Mexican influences, he understands that everyone has different approach. His flatbread creations embody that feeling as a garlic chicken combination with spryly cut heirloom tomatoes exemplifies but doesn’t overstuff while a shrimp ceviche relevant in its chunks of avocado understands that spice in relegated quanities not only soothes the soul but enhances it.

Continuing with emphasis on the soul, Spa Esmerelda, despite its smaller space plan, uses its ability to the max. With many spas there is not adequate use of space. While the arena could benefit from a small private pool specifically for its patrons, certain uses of spa facilities work exceptionally well. Their spa garden, which can be used for individual massage, gives that feeling of relaxation. The pertinence of new age music in some venues sometimes takes the experience away. In imbuing the aromatherapy treatment, one must be aware of emotions. The smartest point made in reflection as personified and passed on by the staff is that while the masseuse can feel emotionally what is going on with the body of the subject, the experience is a two way street which undeniably is an interesting metaphor. The key is a balance of relaxation and also perception and being able to let go. As soon as one walks down the adjoining halls where water and light mix, the world is set and that is the biggest hurdle.

Another strength within Esmerelda is its connection to the Indian Wells Golf Resort. The resort course is simple in its layout without too much overstatement. It proximity of mountain views and richly and impeccably groomed greens adds to its luster. The putting perceptions are primarily left to right and driving on most holes tends to drift to the latter as well. Hard rules seem to play a role in the ideals of the course with the starter and purveyor of the course constantly availed to speeding up the play if need be.

In terms of specific holes, 4 allows straight ahead play but undullates in the hook. 5 works a little more intensively with an obstacle trap on the right which plays to trouble unless the green is hit right on the money. 6 is a sidewinder with a necessity of poise while 7 is a picturesque vision that begs its player not to overeach for the sky. 8 boasts a desert view allowing one to agog over the brilliance of its flowers which distracts from the finger teasing sand traps. 11 tricks with its height progression which hides its hidden water obstacle on the right side. The course allows for the business at hand while realizing as one player put it that “golf can distract” even when thinking takes over.

The balance within approaching something like El Paseo Fashion Week, unlike something like the upcoming Coachella, is to keep the activities centralized. While wine and microbrewery tasting does require advance thought, the ability to be in close proximity between shows and demos, allows for a balance between resort and play, work and pleasure and all those in between. This new inventive and multi-day approach shows a town playing towards the balance of youth and power, a sense of regality and play as evidence by the attendance of younger, more vivacious clientele with respect for the past and an understanding of its cyclical nature.

Posted on March 31, 2010, in Arts Travel & Culture Features and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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