Fashion Weeks around the world are the highlights of the year for any clothes lover, but many of the events and shows are open only to accredited journalists, buyers and celeb invitees. Still, there’s plenty that non-Kardashians can see and do in New York, Paris, London and Milan.
From the Big Apple to the City of Light, here’s your guide to doing Fashion Week right.
New York City
The blockbuster shows of NYFW have made the move to Spring Studios. (Can’t make it to NYC? Check out the live broadcast.) Runway shows, presentations and pop-ups will be held in this stylish Tribeca space, and these fashion faves — where designers, models and celebs go for between-show snacks and end-of-day gossip sessions — are all within walking distance. Even in heels.
The pink pastels and baby blues of While We Were Young look amazing on Instagram, and maybe that’s why models love it. Or perhaps it’s the cocktails made with kale and the tantalizing avocado toast. Either way, it’s a top choice for fashionistas (and a hot spot for brunch in particular).
Esther & Carol is a perennial celebrity draw, a bright and airy American bistro where actors and musicians can be spotted chowing down on grain bowls, grilled oysters and steak. Remember to book far, far in advance for Fashion Week reservations.
Finally, for maximum chance of celeb spotting, hop a cab to Barbuto for high-end Italian dining — this longtime fave is right by Industria, a former NYFW venue, and it still draws a crowd full of familiar faces.
Pro tip: NYFW is famous for its celebration of street style. Wear your most outré outfit to catch the eye of photographers out hunting for snappy dressers.
Dior, Comme des Garçons, Balmain … it doesn’t get more chic than Paris Fashion Week, and shows are held around the city, from the Grand Palais to a boat floating on the river.
Tickets to occasional open-to-the-public events can be found here, but if you can’t wangle an invite to the shows, The Broken Arm is the next best place. This concept store and café sells a curated selection of clothes by interesting designers and some of the best coffee in Paris.
Tons of designers show at the Palais de Tokyo during the week, so plan on lunch or dinner at Les Grandes Verres, a new restaurant inside the space where industry insiders will be coming to hastily scarf down a glass of wine and a snack in between shows.
Silencio, a nightclub/gallery/cinema dreamed up by David Lynch, hosts parties all week long. It’s members-only before midnight, so make this the last stop of the night.
Pro tip: Some of the smaller shows don’t always fill up, and designers would rather have non-invitees than empty space. Pick a show with standing room, wait until everyone’s arrived and then ask the guard nicely if you can enter.
London’s Fashion Week, held at The Store Studios, is strictly industry only, but for non-industry folks, London has created a genius alternative to exclusive runway shows: a four-day festival immediately following Fashion Week, called the London Fashion Week Festival.
Here the public can see catwalk shows by designers, hear experts give talks and shop the collections. It’s a must for any fashion lover.
Post shows, head to Bob Bob Ricard, a fashion crowd fave: This glitzy, glam Soho restaurant plays host to the It crowd, who love the “Press for Champagne” button at each table. Take time for afternoon tea at The Wolseley, an all-day restaurant at which models (including Kate Moss) love to be seen.
Pro tip: For a look at fashion through an intellectual lens, check out the Regent Street Speaker Series, held during Fashion Week. You can book tickets to talks about the history of fashion, costume design and brand building from people like former Vogue editors-in-chief and famous photographers.
Although Dolce, Prada and Versace are the dominant names at Milan’s Fashion Week, those not invited to the front rows can get a head start on learning about the designers of tomorrow at the Fashion Hub Market.
Every year this event showcases a carefully selected group of up-and-coming names, bringing exposure to the young designers and including prêt-à-porter and accessory collections.
Energize with an espresso at Mag Café in the trendy Navigli neighborhood, where you’ll bump into lots of people in town for the shows (come back late at night for a cocktail). The Fashion Film Festival, an annual event showing films from around the world, is action packed and usually has plenty of celeb attendees.
Pro tip: Need a last-minute outfit so you can look your best as you dash around the city? Follow the pros to Antonioli. All those street style stars? This is where they shop.