With the launch of our new Palm Springs collection, everyone here at Annie Selke is buzzing with excitement about the new products, but also about the sunny, ultra-vibrant location that inspired them. Even the New York Times is in the Palm Springs know! Those of us who weren’t lucky enough to attend the on-location photoshoot this winter are positively drooling over the images in the new catalog and dreaming about planning a Cali vacation ASAP! With the hunch that some of you might be just as infatuated with Palm Springs as we are, we connected with founder and author of the fabulous blog, Palm Springs Style, Katy Carrier, who rounded up what she feels to be the top ten things that make Palm Springs amazing!
Be sure to also follow along this weekend as Katy takes over the Annie Selke Instagram account and shares more of the style and culture of Palm Springs!
(1) The Architecture & Design: Palm Springs truly is a mecca of architecture and design, with the largest concentration of midcentury modern design in the United States, thanks in large part to the dedication of the city and its residents to architectural preservation efforts. The annual Palm Springs Modernism Week, held each February, has grown dramatically over the past decade or so, drawing nearly 100,000 design and architecture-lovers to the desert for what has become a huge event, and a second preview event now happens each fall as well. Attendees are able to experience iconic designs up close by architects including Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Albert Frey, Donald Wexler and many more.
The Annenberg estate at Sunnylands is an amazing place to tour – definitely a don’t-miss for interior design and architecture lovers – with architecture by A. Quincy Jones and immaculately preserved 1960s interiors and furniture designed by Billy Haines. We’re also big fans of the colorful front doors that many of the midcentury modern homes in Palm Springs feature – so much so that we created an entire Modernism Week event around them this year, called the Palm Springs Door Tour. In partnership with Dunn-Edwards paints, we curated a tour of the doors of the Indian Canyons neighborhood in Palm Springs, with attendees riding bicycles to view the homes. One of the most popular doors, an extra-tall pink door with grid-shaped carvings, even has its own Instagram account, @thatpinkdoor!
(2) The Weather: With an average of 354 days of sun per year, you really can’t go wrong with Palm Springs! It does get warm in the summer (it is the desert, after all!), but that’s easily remedied by spending the day in the pool with an icy cocktail in hand. During the winter months when much of the rest of the country is covered in snow, there is simply no better place to be. It’s mild enough in the winter to enjoy some pooltime, take a hike, or explore Moorten Botanical Garden, which has the world’s first “cactarium” (a cactus greenhouse).
(3) The Vintage Shopping: The vintage shopping in Palm Springs is something special to behold. The options range from the thrift and charity shops, where you may get lucky and find a diamond in the rough for next to nothing, up to the highly curated vintage stores where the provenance of each piece is thoroughly researched and documented.
Most of the curated stores specialize in either furniture and home décor or clothing and accessories, and you are guaranteed to find some of the most amazing pieces you’ve ever seen, from Charles Hollis Jones lucite furniture pieces that may have once belonged to a midcentury movie star, to couture evening gowns from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Some must-visit spots include Dazzles, The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five, The Frippery, The Fine Art of Design, Flow Modern, Spaces, Modern Way, Bon Vivant, a La MOD, Christopher Anthony, Palm Springs Art + Design Gallery, Gypsyland and Hedge. The Palm Springs Vintage Market, held monthly from October through May, is also a favorite spot to hunt for vintage treasures!
(4) The Fashion: We love our vintage fashion in Palm Springs, but that’s not all! Fashion designer Trina Turk opened her first store in Palm Springs 15 years ago, and her bright, colorful patterns have become synonymous with Palm Springs style. Candice Held is a Palm Springs-based designer who creates beautiful silk textiles and fashions dresses out of scarves, and Wil Stiles designs a cool collection of men’s shirts in unique patterns. Elizabeth & Prince is a great boutique with three locations in the desert, including a new store on Palm Canyon Drive in Uptown Palm Springs, where they carry an excellent selection of women’s and men’s clothing and accessories. We also adore Soukie Modern clutches and crossbody bags, available at The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five in Palm Springs, which are made from vintage Moroccan textiles so each one is unique. Also at The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five, you can pick up some great super-soft, made in California tees by Highest Form and Daydreamer.
(5) The Cocktail Culture: Cocktails have been synonymous with Palm Springs since its early days, and legend has it that Frank Sinatra started to hoist a flag in front of his Twin Palms estate during the ‘50s to signal to his neighbors that it was time to come over for cocktail hour. Mainstays like Melvyn’s have been around for decades and offer no-frills cocktails done just right, while a newer crop of watering holes and restaurants offer craft cocktail options for every taste, like Bootlegger Tiki, Reservoir and Draughtsman at ARRIVE hotel, SO•PA at L’Horizon Resort & Spa, Seymour’s, the Bar at dish Creative Cuisine, Workshop Kitchen + Bar and Truss & Twine. We also have some spots with great wine lists, like Dead or Alive, Counter Reformation at the Parker and Mr. Lyons.
(6) The Outdoor Activities: Palm Springs boasts some awesome hiking trails and areas for outdoor exploration, like the Indian Canyons where you can see a lush oasis of fan palms, creeks and even a waterfall. There is also a cool Jeep tour in Palm Springs run by Desert Adventures that takes you along the San Andreas Fault.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway – the world’s largest rotating tram – is a great way to get an elevated view of the valley, plus once you reach the top, the 8,500-feet elevation keeps things 20+ degrees cooler than the valley floor, and there are more than 50 hiking trails to explore.
(7) The Art: The Palm Springs Art Museum’s three locations (Palm Springs, Palm Desert and the Architecture and Design Center) are must-visits, and we have some really talented artists based in the desert, like Phillip K. Smith, III and Eric Nash. Desert X is a very exciting art biennial going on in the Coachella Valley right now, featuring 16 site-specific works, including a mirror-clad house art installation by artist Doug Aitken that has been garnering much attention. Ace Hotel in Palm Springs has a rotating mural program as part of their annual Desert Gold programming, with a new artist completing a large-scale mural each year. Past artists have included MOMO and Jenny Sharaf, and this year’s new mural by Blockshop Textiles was just unveiled.
(8) The Music Scene: Our music scene continues to diversify, with the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals now being joined by Desert Trip, which featured The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and The Who at the inaugural festival in 2016. We have some really amazing performers coming through Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown (near Joshua Tree), and there are also some young local musicians in the desert that show great potential.
(9) The Unique Boutique Hotels: We have some of the coolest hotels around, each with really unique vibes and design aesthetics, and of course awesome pools! There are simply too many great ones to name them all, but some favorites include ARRIVE, the Parker, L’Horizon Resort & Spa, Colony Palms Hotel, Sparrows Lodge, the Amado, Korakia Pensione, Ace Hotel, the Saguaro, La Maison Hotel, Hotel Lautner, La Serena Villas and the brand-new Holiday House Palm Springs.
(10) The Neighboring Areas: There is so much to see both in Palm Springs proper and in the surrounding areas. We love to take day trips to Joshua Tree and Pioneertown (be sure to check out the vintage shopping in Old Town Yucca Valley, brunch at La Copine, the aforementioned Pappy & Harriet’s for great food and music, and of course Joshua Tree National Park).