PHOTOGRAPHS BY FREDRIK BRODÉN
PRODUCED BY KENT BLACK
The Parker Palm Springs started life in 1959 as the first Holiday Inn in California. On Claudia: Dress and woven belt by Elisabetta Franchi, (price on request) www.elizabethfranchi.com; Bravna 18-karat yellow gold freshwater pearl and diamond ring, $5,190, The Jewelry Bar, El Paseo, Palm Desert; Ryan Ryan sterling silver and 18-karat gold and diamond drop earrings, $1,500, The Jewelry Bar. On Michel: Sweater and tailored slacks by Tommy Hilfiger, $129.50, $149.50, www.tommy.com; Polanti stainless steel chronograph, $1,295; The Jewelry Bar.
VIDEO: View a behind-the-scenes look at the Palm Springs Life fashion shoot for September 2016
Two years later the East Palm Canyon property was acquired by cowboy singing star and entrepreneur Gene Autry to house the Los Angeles Angels, a baseball franchise he had recently acquired. On Claudia: Vintage Alice leopard jumpsuit and belt, $295, Mitchell’s, Palm Springs. Judith Leiber vintage belt, $295, Mitchell’s; silver and diamond earrings, The Jewelry Bar; Amazon pumps, $835, Aquazzura, Saks Fifth Avenue, El Paseo, Palm Desert. On Michel: Gucci vintage cotton turtleneck, $195, Mitchell’s; Theory Haydin Writer pants, $195, Saks Fifth Avenue.
Although the Los Angeles Angels had been in existence since 1892 and were a perennial powerhouse in the old Pacific Coast League, it was Autry’s 1961 purchase of the franchise name that moved them into the big leagues. The Palm Springs hotel, now the Melody Ranch, became the Angel team’s home during spring training. Former great players include Jim Fregosi, Nolan Ryan, and Rod Carew. Nanis 18-karat necklace with diamond link, $31,195, and 18-karat bracelet, $11,225, The Jewelry Bar; Helmut Lang Side Overlap tank top, $320, Saks Fifth Avenue.
Autry owned the Angels for 36 years but would not live to see them win their first World Series in 2002. By then the Angels were owned by Disney Sports, Inc. and played in Anaheim. Autry’s 26 is one ofsix retired numbers in Angels’ history. There are 25 players on a MLB team’s roster; Autry was the Angels’ unofficial 26th man. Criquet Slim Fit Player’s shirt, $75, www.criquetshirts.com; AG tailored trouser, $168, Saks Fifth Avenue; Montecrisi Panama hat, $1,000, Montecristi Custom Hat Works, Santa Fe, NM, www.montecristihats.com
The Melody Ranch, aka, The Autry, operated a popular Mexican restaurant just off the lobby. On Claudia: Cristiano Burani shorts (price on request), www.cristianoburani.it; Joie Kamie silk tank top, $78, Saks Fifth Avenue; Day Birger et Mikkelsen Majid pump, $420, www.day.dk; Horn earrings, $100 and bracelet, $150, The Jewelry Bar. On Michel: Parke & Ronen Sabena floral shirt, $145, Mitchell’s; Rag & Bone jeans, $175, Saks Fifth Avenue; Hermés Arceau watch, $4,600, Frasca Jewelers; Barton Perreira sunglasses, $610, Saks Fifth Avenue.
After selling the hotel in 1994, Autry and his wife, Jackie, retained the home on the rear of the property. The Autrys continued to live on the property during season until the cowboy singer’s death in 1998 at the age of 92. On Claudia: Theory Majken ruffle silk camisole, $190, Saks Fifth Avenue; Elisabetta Franchi pants and belt (price on request); Sean Gilson 98-inch Long Bubbles pearl necklace, $27,000, Frasca Jewelers, El Paseo, www.mfrascajewelers.com • On Michel: Saks Men’s silk and wool sportcoat, $798, Saks Fifth Avenue; Gucci vintage silk shirt, $195, Mitchell’s; Jack Victor trouser, $228, Saks Fifth Avenue; Mezlan loafer, $259, www.mezlan.com
After Autry’s ownership, the hotel was renamed the Givenchy Hotel and Spa and remodeled to reflect the tastes of French designer Hubert de Givenchy. In 1998, the hotel was bought by Merv Griffin and became a fashionable destination for Hollywood stars. Its low point came in 2000 when Robert Downey Jr. was arrested there for drug possession. Two years later, the property was sold again and left vacant. On Claudia: Maria Lucia Hohan lace bustier and skirt (price on request), www.mlh-shop.com; Bavna sterling silver diamond bracelet with moonstones, $6,000; The Jewelry Bar; 18-karat diamond chandelier earrings, $11,000, The Jewelry Bar.
In 2003 the Jack Parker Corp., known for such five star hotels as Le Parker Meridien in New York, bought the hotel and gave it a $27 milllion Jonathan Adler face-lift. It came as Palm Springs was re-entering popular consciousness, and the hotel became synonymous with the revitalization of Palm Springs. On Michel: John Varvatos tuxedo (price on request); John Varvatos shirt, $228; Mezlan Bogart tuxedo oxford shoes, $270. On Claudia: Jonathan Cohen column gown with bow cape, $3,750, Forty Five Ten, www.fortyfiveten.com; 18-karat diamond earrings, $9,680, The Jewelry Bar; 18-karat diamond bracelet, $7,975, The Jewelry Bar.
In the dozen years since Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs (aka the Parker Palm Springs) was born, the hotel has been host to some extraordinary moments, from the time Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie famously booked into separate rooms in a W magazine shoot that fortuitously told the story of a married couple with a housefull of kids, to the reality show, Welcome to the Parker that delved into the complicated relationships of hotel staff, to the 2015 photo shoot by artist Gray Malin in which he cast zebras, giraffes, flamingos, penguins, and monkeys enjoying the grounds. On Claudia: La Perla brassiere and panties, $174 and $148, Saks Fifth Avenue.