Fashion Week El Paseo™ 2017
Fashion Week El Paseo 2013

Nick Verreos poses with his inspiration (right) and his design (left).

Fashion Week El Paseo™ 2013
Sunnylands Chic Preview

Sunnylands Chic Preview Serves Up Seductive Interpretations of Classic Fashion

Model Amanda Fields folded her tall, willowy body into a chair as she waited for her turn in the makeup chair before taking the runway at Sunnylands Center & Gardens at the Annenberg estate for the informal kickoff to 2013 Fashion Week El Paseo™. The event, appropriately called Sunnylands Chic Preview, showcased current designers’ modern interpretations of outfits worn by Walter and Leonore Annenberg during the couple’s political heydays.

Fields walked for fashion designers Paul Hernandez and Nick Verreos, two of the six designers featured at the event, which also included the work of Anthony Franco, Lloyd Klein, and local talents Michael Costello and Fe Zandi.

Sunnyland’s retro vibe provided the perfect backdrop for the sold-out fashion soiree, as each model strolled through the crowd to the runway as people clapped and oohed at the inventive designs. After the show, designers and models mingled with attendees, many of whom took advantage of photo ops to capture their favorite fresh look next to the Annenberg collection originals on display.

The first design presented was Fe Zandi’s interpretation of Leonore Annenberg’s Pierre Balmain gown in burgundy and off-white. Zandi, a favorite designer of Annenberg’s, added crimson rose petals to her striking interpretation, “in her [Annenberg’s] memory.”

Next was couture designer and Project Runway alum Michael Costello, who created a draped, softer interpretation of Leonore Annenberg’s yellow lace Balmain gown worn during Walter’s 1969 inauguration as U.S. ambassador. “If she were vacationing in Mykonos, this is what I imagine she [Annenberg] might wear,” Costello said as he styled his model’s hair prior to the show.

Paul Hernandez followed with his model, who wowed the crowd in all black with a full-length cape. Hernandez was inspired by another Balmain dress worn by Leonore Annenberg, this one worn in the 1970s as she sat for a portrait by photographer Cecil Beaton.

Fourth on the floor was a muted pink men’s spring suit created by Anthony Franco — a more casual take with on Walter Annenberg’s silk suit from Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia. The Great Gatsby provided Franco’s inspiration for this re-imagination.

Lloyd Klein’s stunning black evening gown was inspired by Robert Stewart’s morning suit with tails worn at Walter Annenberg’s inauguration in 1969. The dress received appreciatory applause and was the buzz of the evening.

Rounding out the evening’s designs was Nick Verreos’ apple green interpretation of a silk Oscar de la Renta dress of similar hue Leonore wore in 2004. Verreos said he was inspired by the desert modernism in his creation, which served as an homage to boat neck and A-frame styles while incorporating the angles reminiscent of midcentury architecture.

The created pieces and the Annenberg collection from which designers drew their inspiration will be on display during Fashion Week El Paseo™ on Tuesday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Big White Tent on Larkspur Lane between El Paseo and Shadow Mountain Drive in Palm Desert.


Lloyd Klein’s stunning black evening gown received appreciatory applause and was the buzz of the evening.
Lloyd Klein’s stunning black evening gown received appreciatory applause and was the buzz of the evening.
  • Lloyd Klein’s stunning black evening gown received appreciatory applause and was the buzz of the evening.
  • Palm Springs Life Fashion Editor Susan Stein models the black cape created by designer Paul Hernandez.
  • Designer Michael Costello with his interpretation of Leonore Annenberg’s yellow dress.
  • Fe Zandi’s interpretation of Leonore Annenberg’s burgundy gown.
  • A model walks Michael Costello’s yellow dress down the runway.
  • A model wearing Michael Costello’s interpretation delights attendees.
  • A lane forms for the models to walk through during the March 13 Sunnylands Chic at Sunnylands Center & Gardens.
  • The black evening gown was inspired by Robert Stewart’s morning suit with tails worn at Walter Annenberg’s inauguration in 1969.
  • Nick Verreos explained the outfit in the background while his model did the rest.
  • Nick Verreos poses with his design.

Photography by Gary Bindman