The September issues are thick on the shelves, street photographers are out in packs and a palpable frisson is sweeping from New York to Paris via London and Milan. Do you feel that cool in the air? Fashion Week is upon us.
Whether you’ve long nabbed a front row seat or just want to soak up the buzz, our capsule guide to the fashion capitals tells you where to sleep and be seen. And, because we wouldn’t want to leave you wondering what to wear, we’ve roped in the expert stylists at Baukjen to help you pack an effortless, easy-to-wear wardrobe.
Wear Crisp, polished separates with a classic finish; a camel wrap coat (£299, pictured above) and vintage-hued mock-crock satchel (£265) mean serious fashion business.
Where A 15-minute stroll from the heart-of-the-action Lincoln Center, the Viceroy New York has seductive 1920s stylings and a glam rooftop bar. On the north end of Midtown, this sophisticated stay is just blocks from high-end shopping, museums and the city’s breath of fresh air: book a Park View Room or Suite for a bird’s eye view of Central Park. Downtown, the newly opened Ludlow is our of-the-moment spot – their buzzed about restaurant Dirty French is set to open today. Part social entreprise and part oyster bar, Grand Banks‘s wooden schooner is docked in Tribeca – climb aboard for all manners of Fashion Week shenanigans.
Wear Something a little bit street and a little bit edgy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Leather leggings (£339, pictured above) are your new uniform. Pair with an animal-print shirt dress (£119) and pavement-pounding flats for rock-chick cool.
Where Escape the Somerset House madness and put up your feet at the Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, the first overseas outpost of the hipper-than-thou USA-born brand. Host your own after party: there are DJs in the lobby, vinyls in the rooms and, downstairs, the Hoi Polloi restaurant fizzes with East-London energy. Nearby Lyle’s (+44 (0)20 3011 5911) serves a long, leisurely no-choice menu of scintillating British fare; if you fancy running the paparazzi gauntlet instead, head much further west to Chiltern Firehouse (+44 (0)20 7073 7676), the culinary address du jour.
Wear Screen-siren glamour in this season’s cobalt blue. Pair a curve-hugging peplum top (£119, pictured above) with a day-to-evening leather pencil skirt (£329) for head-turning Italian style.
Where Tucked away behind the Duomo, Straf Hotel & Bar is a celebration of fashionista minimalism, with scuffed satiny walls and massage-chair-equipped Wellbeing Rooms. On Corso Como, Le Langhe (+39 02 65 54 279) is the pit stop of choice for beautiful people; elegant Cracco on Via Victor Hugo is where chef Carlo Cracco brings Milanese food into the 21st century – and has earned it two Michelin stars for his trouble (+39 02 87 6774). As flamboyant as one of the eponymous designer’s clinging mini-dresses, Just Cavalli Club (+39 02 31 18 17) is a glitzy late-night bolthole.
Wear Parisian style is laid-back and carefully unkempt; channel Jane Birkin nonchalance with boyfriend jeans (£95, pictured above) and a leather biker jacket (£399) you can throw on just about anything.
Where Unpack your bags at Hotel Marignan Paris, our latest just-off-the-Champs stay. Its Eiffel Tower views aren’t to be sneered at, but it’s what inside that counts: sleek and sinuous lines, a scattering of hand-picked art and – most importantly – suites equipped with couture-worthy dressing rooms. Strap on your most vertiginous heels: this chic and understated stay is just a stone’s throw from the Hermès-toting, Bulgari-flashing shopping meccas of Avenue Montaigne and Faubourg St Honoré and those Chanel shows at the Grand Palais. Hungry? Septime (+33 (0)1 43 67 38 29) in the oh-so-trendy 11ième is the neo-bistro du jour, but if you’ve travelled this far and can’t score a table, head to no-booking sister joint Clamato (+33 (0)1 43 72 74 53) down the road for small plates and overheard gossip.
Baukjen is offering a one-off 20 per cent discount when you spend £59 on its full-price collection. To claim the discount, enter the code SMITH94 at check-out. You can get access to more offers like this by becoming a Smith member free.