Southern California's Top Fashion & Retail Events 2010

Divine Design
Divine Design
Photo: Andreas Branch/Patrick McMullan

1. Divine Design
 While the media was predicting sluggish sales for the holiday season, the December opening of Divine Design, the West Coast’s largest retail fund-raiser, was bursting at the seams with eager shoppers. The turnout was fueled by organizers’ new promotional push on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, which resulted in a $20,000 increase in opening night sales.

2. Rodeo Drive Walk of Style
The City of Beverly Hills and the Rodeo Drive Committee cosponsor this annual event honoring big fashion names on the shopping street. On October 22 the ceremony honored its 14th and 15th recipients, Cartier and the late Princess Grace of Monaco. The Donahue Group collaborated on the project with the Rodeo Drive merchants’ event co-chairs, Peri Ellen Berne and Susan Moseley.

3. Class Trade Show
The next installment of this fashion trade show known for it’s eco-friendly California touches will return to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on September 1 and 2. Created by show director Jason Bates and launched in March 2008, Class has quickly generated buzz and gained clout by drawing an increasing number of exhibitors and attendees at each edition.

4. Macy’s Passport
This annual AIDS fund-raiser takes place in the fall. The 2009 installment took to Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar on September 24 with a “Come Together” theme. The annual high-energy fashion show is complete with dancers and special effects, plus pre- and after-parties. The event also makes a San Francisco appearance.

5. F.I.D.M.’s L.A. Fashion Gala Debut Show

The three-decade-old Debut attracts more than 10,000 people over three days and showcases designs by graduating students in Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s fashion design and theater costume design programs, plus related fields. The show benefits the F.I.D.M. Scholarship Foundation. There’s also a black-tie fund-raising gala and dinner, which ended the 2010 program’s run on March 13.

6. Colleagues Charity Luncheon
The Colleagues philanthropic group hosts a fashion-focused spring fund-raising luncheon. The event took place April 20 and honored Oscar de la Renta at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. Diane Lane was the presenter. Related group the Colleague Helpers in Philanthropic Service also showcases fashion designers at an annual luncheon.

7. Los Angeles Fashion Week
L.A.’s inability to maintain a single cohesive Fashion Week has been widely publicized—particularly after the partnership between Smashbox and IMG dissolved in 2008. But in its place has arisen something of a fashion month; most of October saw clusters of fashion-related events take shape under multiple structural umbrellas—so we’re holding this spot on the list to see how the program might continue to reinvent itself.

8. Country Friends of Art Fashion Show
Nonprofit organization Country Friends produces this show and luncheon in partnership with South Coast Plaza. The 55th annual show is set for September 23 at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. The event begins with a luncheon on the lawn, followed by the Art of Fashion runway show and the Après Affaire wine tasting.