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Southern California's Top Fashion and Retail Events 2008

February 29, 2008, 7:21 PM EST

A model prepared for Monarchy Collection's spring 2008 fashion show at Smashbox Studios in October.

Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images

1. Fashion Week
Twice a year, Smashbox Studios hosts a set of runway shows and related events under the Fashion Week umbrella, with title sponsor Mercedes-Benz; after-parties and unaffiliated shows take over Hollywood and other parts of town. Its scope is undeniably smaller than New York’s Fashion Week, but it’s L.A.’s equivalent of all the hoopla, and it’s growing. The most recent installment bowed in October.

2. Walk of Style
Rodeo Drive Host Committee oversees this glamorous ball, which has honored a fashion great with a plaque on the city’s iconic street each year since its 2003 inception. The Donahue Group designs the stylish event. Donatella and Gianni Versace were honored at a February 2007 ceremony; no date has yet been set for the 2008 event.

3. Divine Design
Thousands turn out for this 15-year-old, five-day-long shopping fund-raiser. All proceeds benefit Project Angel Food, which helps people with AIDS, and the Beverly Hills Fire and Police Department charities. The 2007 event kicked off on November 29 at the Beverly Hilton with a gala that featured a runway show presented by Ted Baker London and an award presentation honoring his fashion house.

4. Macy’s Passport
Last year was the 25th anniversary of this big AIDS fund-raiser fashion show. Between the L.A. event and its San Francisco equivalent, both held in September, Macy’s raked in $2 million in 2007, bringing the event’s take to $25 million over its history. Elizabeth Taylor is the event’s founding chairwoman. Macy’s West manager of special productions David Miranda oversees the party, and Larry Hashbarger is responsible for the production-heavy show.

5. Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion
Now in its 10th year, Gen Art’s annual Fresh Faces has established itself on the scene; 2007’s show and party for 1,300 guests took place in October at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Editors and stylists from big magazines and fashion houses help select 12 designers for the show, which is the finale of Gen Art’s five-market Fresh Faces program with stops in Miami, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago.

6. Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
November 2007 marked only the second time the lingerie retailer has held its show in Los Angeles, after a move from New York—but an event as splashy and skin-filled as Victoria’s Secret’s doesn’t take long to generate big buzz. Models strutted the catwalk at the Kodak Theatre during a televised fashion show that aired in December.

7. Los Angeles Fashion Awards
This burgeoning three-year-old award ceremony takes over the Orpheum Theatre downtown to honor West Coast fashion talents. Designer Tarina Tarantino, Decades owners Cameron Silver and Christos Garkinos, style editor Rose Apodaca, and Project Runway alum Nick Verreos were among the October 2007 presenters. Evolutionary Media Group produces.

8. Chips Charity Luncheon
These annual spring ladies’ lunches hosted by the Colleague Helpers in Philanthropic Service bring high-fashion looks to runways around town, including de la Renta at the Beverly Wilshire in 2007 and Max Azria in the backyard of a private manse in 2006. The Chips’ annual society-driven luncheon benefits family-aid group Children’s Institute Incorporated.

9. F.I.D.M.’s L.A. Fashion Gala Debut Show
Each year since 1980, this well-established show has given graduating students an attention-getting forum to present their fashion- and costume-design work. The yearly event benefits the F.I.D.M. Scholarship Foundation; there’s also a black-tie fund-raising gala that includes a formal dinner prior to the show. This year’s event will take place on March 1.

10. Country Friends Art of Fashion Show
Nonprofit organization Country Friends produces this show and luncheon in partnership with Southern California’s highest-grossing mall, South Coast Plaza. The well-established event is more than a half-century old, and it’s one of the biggest outdoor shows anywhere. More than 650 guests attended in September 2007.

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