As Orange County and South Coast Plaza continued to grow in the 1960s, developers approached the Segerstrom family with proposals to build a hotel on Segerstrom land across the Bristol Street road from the Plaza. After two failed proposals, the Segerstrom family chose Western International Hotels, a high-end chain that included the Century Plaza in Los Angeles and the St. Francis in San Francisco. They were selected to build and operate the South Coast Plaza Hotel that opened in 1975. Western International Hotels consolidated in 1980 and was renamed Westin Hotels and Resorts in 1980.

Mildred Custin who stayed at the hotel, suggested to Henry Segerstrom that he stage a runway show at the Westin Hotel with models parading original creations on the runway, as they do in the fashion capitals of Paris, Milan and New York. Mildred Custin at that time had begun her own fashion consulting business having recently retired as president of Bonwit Teller, the New York store that she had brought to the forefront of retailing in the 1960s by introducing fashions by Pierre Cardin and Andre Courreges of Paris and Calvin Klein of New York. Custin and her associates set one up the first show at the Westin Hotel.