Keanan Duffty at Fashion Week El Paseo, CA.

The Greatest Showman

Designer and rocker Keanan Duffty let music drive style at Fashion Week El Paseo. 


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Keanan Duffty thanks the Fashion Week El Paseo audience during the March 22 show in Palm Desert.

When an award-winning fashion designer, musician, Parsons educator, and author brings his posse to the runway, you can be sure he’s not there to orchestrate a one-note show.

A night under the big white tent with Keanan Duffty was, for those at Fashion Week El Paseo on Tuesday evening, a music-fueled stage show and retro, feel-good event, just as the multi-gifted British designer intended.

“Turn and face the strange” – the apt lyric to “Changes” by David Bowie – kicked off this fashion party, which opened with video clips from many of Duffty’s New York fashion shows. Bowie’s music and creativity shaped the designer from the time he was a tot. Two stars aligned in 2007 when they collaborated on a collection for Target. Duffty has worked with John Varvatos, Dr. Martens, and Ben Sherman, in addition to helming his own line and dressing musical legends like Bowie, the Sex Pistols and Steven Tyler.

Duffty’s own personal brand of strange – hand-embellished streetwear dropped into a week of resort wear, gowns, diamonds, and couture – is a bright, refreshing twist, like lime in scotch whiskey. Neat. 

Music revved the show’s engine and music drove it. Covers and remixes of “Like a Virgin,” “Wonderwall” by Oasis, “The Boys are Back in Town,” “We Will Rock You,” and “Riders on the Storm” blended with Duffty’s own music and videos, from his band, Slinky Vagabond. The on-screen images of his prolific past collections kept time with the beats.

For Duffty, and for the record books, music and fashion are inseparable. “Fashion likes to think it’s leading trends, but the industry takes so much from music,” he recently told "Palm Springs Life".

Fashion week catwalk

Keanan Duffty Fashion week

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