hat meets the eye upon arriving at Fashion Island® is a dazzling array of specialty boutiques and eateries set against the elegant backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and nestled in an enclave whose architectural style reflects Italian Renaissance principles of perfection, order and harmony. Stately palm trees dot the piazzas and frame the classic facades. A koi pond teems with multicolored aquatic life. At holiday time, a soaring, ornament laden tree draws gasps of admiration. What doesn’t meet the eye, but rather wafts through the air as white noise that barely clears the threshold of human hearing, is an inspiring sense of place; of being at the center point of the compass.

When Fashion Island opened its doors in the fall of 1967, the open-air, off-the-beaten-track shopping center was seen as a bold and, to some, risky, retail experiment. Would Orange County residents drive all that way for a new dress? Wasn’t Newport Beach a place for surfers?

Time-travel to 2018 and discover a Fashion Island that didn’t just deliver on its original goal, but also on an almost unfathomable list of loftier ones. The square footage dedicated to retail became the hub of a wheel, architecturally and metaphorically, that reaches outward in all directions and encompasses luxury residences at Villas Fashion Island and The Colony, the elegant Fashion Island Hotel™, office towers housing everything from PIMCO and Pacific Life to medical professionals, and Newport Center’s Orange County Museum of Art and the Newport Beach Civic Center.


In its earliest years, Newport Beach was essentially a collection of discrete neighborhoods that identified more with their own moniker — Balboa Island, the Peninsula, Corona del Mar – than with Newport Beach as a whole.

“We never really had a single focal point,” said Steve Rosansky, president of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. With the development of Newport Center and Fashion Island, however, the geographic center of town took shape.


When the decision was made to rebuild Newport Beach City Hall, which was located on the Balboa Peninsula, residents and planners evaluated more than 30 locations. The list was whittled down to three, and in 2013, the civic and government seat moved into new quarters in the Newport Center business district adjacent to Fashion Island. According to Rosansky, who served nine years as a Newport Beach city councilman and one term as mayor, it made perfect sense.

“Fashion Island is more than just a retail center now,” he said. “It’s the number one business address in Newport Beach. It commands the highest rents in town, it’s become a significant residential area, and the best retailers in all of Orange County locate in Fashion Island. It’s the heartbeat of Newport Beach.

“I used to drive down from Arcadia when I was a high school student,” he said. “It was always my dream to live in Newport Beach, so now I tell people that I’m living the dream.”





“Twelve years ago this was a premier shopping destination, a regional draw,” said Gary Sherwin, CEO of Visit Newport Beach Inc., the city’s official marketing organization. “Today, we compete with the most prestigious locations in the world for meetings and conventions and are recognized as an international tourism destination.”

Sherwin attributes the area’s successful expansion to the collaboration between Newport Beach and The Irvine Company,® the real estate developer that not only created Fashion Island but also had the foresight, in the midst of a recession, to put $100 million into it and reinvent it as an upscale retail environment. “Few people understood the move,” said Sherwin, “but by investing in the future of Fashion Island, they set the table for the city’s commercial rebirth at a much higher level.”

Among the most recent upgrades to the landscape is the renaming of Island Hotel as Fashion Island Hotel, a nod to the area’s sophisticated and iconic image. The change comes on the heels of an 18-month-long transformation of the 295-room property. The hotel’s general manager, Gerard Widder, sees Fashion Island as a reflection of Newport Beach culture, attitude and lifestyle.

“Adding ‘Fashion’ to our name bolsters the alignment between these two important venues,” said Widder. “Together, we form the social center of Newport Beach; our prime location, relaxed ambiance and indoor-outdoor spaces strengthen our close relationships with locals, business leaders and leisure travelers.”



Whether it’s developing service standards for every staff member who comes in contact with guests, or continually raising the bar in maintaining the resortlike setting, Fashion Island’s vice president and general manager, Tanya Thomas, remains focused on her goal: to ensure that the center delivers a differentiated and memorable customer experience in every way.

In an effort to remain distinctive and unique, over half of FashionIsland’s shops and eateries are not to be found elsewhere in Orange County. “We’re known as a place where upscale retailers want to establish their brand,” she said. “And, why wouldn’t they? The demographics are wonderful, there’s a great tourism clientele and we are an amenity to the synergistic Newport Center community.”

Be it a style concierge or an elevated customer experience including curbside valet or ondemand tram service, the desires of the market are top of mind.

“We want guests of Fashion Island to experience a sense of ease and sophistication throughout the center,” said Thomas. “We make every effort to convey this feeling, not only with the physical design and architecture, but also by rigorously curating our shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. We have a customer base that is sophisticated, well-traveled and has high expectations, and we make sure that our offerings meet their needs.”

Over the past 50 years, locals have adopted Fashion Island as their community playground. On major holidays including Christmas, Lunar New Year and Easter, hundreds of people turn out with friends and family.

“We have generations of families who attend our tree lightings, passing the tradition down to their own children,” said Thomas. “Fashion Island is a place for Newport Beach to gather, to celebrate and to call its own.”




Most shopping center developers focus only on shopping centers, but Fashion Island collaborates with its office, apartment and resort partners to develop innovative services.

An on-demand tram service escorts residents of the luxury Villas Fashion Island and The Colony, and guests of Fashion Island Hotel, to and from shops and eateries.


A personal shopping and styling service gives guests of Newport Center, Fashion Island Hotel and The Resort at Pelican Hill® an expert hand when time is of the essence. A professional stylist, on the payroll whether she facilitates a sale or not, will shop for a minute or a day and deliver items directly to guests and corporate executives.


A red, rubber-wheeled trolley offers shoppers of all ages a lift from end to end of Fashion Island seven days a week. Some guests show up just to ride the trolley!


The Lincoln Motor Company opened its first Experience Center


Fleming’s opened its first of more than 40 restaurants


Urban Decay Cosmetics opened its flagship store


Apple opened one of its first 10 stores in the world


Neiman Marcus opened its only Orange County location


St. John opened its newest lifestyle concept boutique


Opening Spring 2018

The first of its kind in Orange County, this luxury cinema and social hotspot offers an elite entertainment experience with:

• Oversized leather recliners
• State-of-the-art cinematic technology
• Corporate teleconferencing opportunities
• Casual all-day coastalchic restaurant
• In-theater dining with fine wine, cocktails and house-made desserts
• Frequent special events (Oscar Night, Super Bowl Sunday, Film Festival)
• Free Wi-Fi in an open-air co-working environment

The Resort at Pelican Hill VISIT PELICAN HILL