PALM DESERT, Calif. -

The eighth annual Fashion Week El Paseo, a nine-day  run of fashion shows and social events, gets under way Friday in Palm Desert.

The week will start with a "Best of Saks Fifth Avenue" runway show at  8 p.m. to benefit The Living Desert zoo.

Organizers expect 14,000 people to attend Fashion Week, which is billed  as the largest consumer fashion event on the West Coast. Nine runway shows and  four trunk shows by more than 50 designers, including "Project Runway"  contestants and designers from the Fashion Institute of Design and  Merchandising in Los Angeles, are planned.

"Fashion Week El Paseo presents a cross-section of all categories of  the best of the west and creates a week that entertains and educates, while  premiering the latest fashion from high-caliber designers," said Susan Stein,  fashion editor of Palm Springs Life magazine, organizer of Fashion Week.

This year's headlining designers include Katherine Polk, Sue Wong,  Victor Tung and "Designer of the Week" Gilbert Chagoury. In addition,  "Project Runway" All-Star runner-up Michael Costello and other contestants  from the show will present "The Drama and Designs of Project Runway."

Other events include a canine fashion show to benefit the Humane Society  of the Desert and "Sunnylands Chic," an exhibition of Walter and Leonore  Annenberg's fashions. The former U.S. ambassador and his wife built an estate  in Rancho Mirage called Sunnylands.

Fashion Week El Paseo will benefit more than 30 local and regional  charities.

For information and tickets, go to www.fashionweekelpaseo.com.