New York Fashion Week. Photo: Marley White
Every February and September, top fashion brands and designers showcase their collections on New York City’s runways. While getting an invite to a show is sometimes tough, exploring the City itself during Fashion Week is simple—and just as exciting. We created five designer-inspired itineraries around town, proving you can do Fashion Week without the exclusive invitation.
Soho. Photo: Brittany Petronella
Head to Soho and neighboring Nolita for some prime shopping. Home to luxury labels and small boutiques, Soho is where Alexander Wang opened his first-ever flagship. Though the athleisure designer now does smaller presentations rather than full-blown fashion shows, nearby Spring Studios sees big labels such as Tom Ford and Mulberry send their styles down the runway. After you have spied the fashionable crowd, end the day with dinner at chic French café La Mercerie.
Bryant Park. Photo: Brittany Petronella
Visit Midtown, where you’ll find many of the City’s major attractions, such as the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park. The last of those is a green oasis that hosts ice-skating in the winter, readings and musical performances in the summer and yoga classes year-round. Alice and Olivia, near the southwest corner of the park, holds racks of feminine dresses that make browsing there a welcome respite from the action outside. After shopping, relax with an LED light therapy treatment at nearby Joanna Vargas Skin Care.
Diane von Furstenberg. Photo: Alexander Thompson
The Meatpacking District is where you should go. Fashion icon von Furstenberg is credited with reviving the retail scene in the area when she opened her shop here in the late 1990s. Today the neighborhood plays host to trendy stores and restaurants, nightlife venues and the Whitney Museum. The art institution holds an impressive collection of modern and contemporary work from American artists. For sustenance, make your way to nearby Chelsea Market, where options include Los Tacos No. 1, Fat Witch Bakery and Ninth Street Espresso.
Courtesy, Don Angie
Chances are you’d love the West Village. Fashion’s erstwhile enfant terrible opened his first shop here in 2001 and at one point had six separate boutiques, which helped transform Bleecker Street into an upscale shopping hub. The last one standing is Bookmarc, where you’ll find a small, curated collection of books, including many fashion titles, as well as Marc Jacobs accessories. Readings and signings with New York City–based authors, photographers and celebrities occasionally take place here. The area’s allure can also be found in haunts such as charming Italian restaurant Don Angie and jazz club Village Vanguard, a mainstay in the neighborhood since 1935.
Met Fifth Avenue. Photo: Molly Flores
Check out the Upper East Side. One of the City’s most refined neighborhoods is also home to a large concentration of high-end boutiques, sprinkled along Madison Avenue. It’s no surprise that one of those is Oscar de la Renta. The line’s flagship has elegant gowns—the kind worn by the likes of Jackie Kennedy and other first ladies—as well as ready-to-wear items and accessories. Continue your day of refinement with a trip to the Met Fifth Avenue, whose permanent collection contains 2 million-plus works. Later, sample sophisticated cocktails at Bemelmans Bar, which features a gold-leaf ceiling, wall murals and nightly live performances.