During September, the fashion herd packs its collective bags and follows the Fashion Week circuit from New York to Paris. The runway shows may be invite-only, but these design capitals offer other ways to enjoy the sartorial frenzy
NEW YORK (Sep. 4â€“11)
Set in the Meatpacking district, Chelsea Market (75 9th Ave.; 1-212/652-2110) is where time-pressed fashionistas will fuel up for the week. But with small businesses ranging from a rare-fruit emporium to a crĂŞperie and rarely lacking a sample sale, perusing its bounty easily fills an afternoon. Marc Jacobs shows off his literary side in his West Village corner store BookMarc (400 Bleecker St.; 1-212/620-4021), where select novels are shelved with rare art books, design glossies, and Olympia Le-Tan clutches embroidered with the covers of cult classics. Head across the street from Lincoln Center â€”Fashion Weekâ€™s headquarters â€”to chef Daniel Bouludâ€™s Bar Boulud (1900 Broadway; 1-212/595-0303) for a champagne cocktail with a view of the Centerâ€™s promenade, a catwalk in its own right.
LONDON (Sep. 12â€“16)
Famed restaurateur Mourad Mazouz recently gave artist David Shrigley creative reign over his restaurant Sketch (9 Conduit St.; 44-20/7659-4500), which now serves its Michelin-two-starred meals alongside 240 of Shrigleyâ€™s works. In other food news, Balthazar (6 Russell St.; 44-20/ 3391-1155), an offshoot of the Manhattan brasserie frequented by Vogueâ€™s Anna Wintour, has opened in Covent Garden. Somerset House on the Strand is this cityâ€™s main show stage, but stay for London Fashion Weekend (Sep. 18â€“21), when the former Tudor palace becomes a hive of designer pop-ups and panels from leading industry critics. Nearby, J Sheekey Oyster Bar (28-35 St. Martins Ct.; 44-20/7240-2565) will present an oyster-and-champagne special throughout the week.
MILAN (Sep. 17â€“23)
The first ever Fashion Film Festival Milano (Sep. 14â€“15) starts the week with a competition and exhibition of short films casting fashion as their main character. The timeless grace of â€™50s haute-couture model Bettina Graziani is immortalized in â€śBettina,â€ť a photography exhibition at Galleria Carla Sozzani (10 Corso Como; 39-2/653-531; Sep. 16â€“Nov. 2), the fine-art department of the worldâ€™s first concept store, 10 Corso Como. Stay in the heart of the design district at Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano (39-2/833-9371; 6 Via Vincenzo Forcella; doubles from US$450), a former perfume factory recast as 28 industrial-chic suites furnished entirely with Italian brands. Its hidden lounge, Liquidambar, is where those in-the-know gather at a white-onyx counter for an intimate side of Italian nightlife.
PARIS (Sep. 23â€“Oct. 1)
For a revolving door of fashion shows, high-art events, and prime people-watching, beeline it to Le Carreau du Temple (4 rue EugĂ¨ne Spuller; 33-1/8381-9220), a covered market in the Haut Marais freshly renovated into 10,000 square meters of gallery, theater, and studio space. Fashion house Kenzo has chosen luxury department store Printemps (64 Blvd. Haussmann; 33-1/4282-5000) to host a pop-up store, exclusively selling 30 looks before they hit stores next spring. Belgian designer Dries Van Noten will unveil his latest collection this week, but to see his most iconic piecesâ€”the floral tent dress, for oneâ€”check out the â€śDries Van Noten: Inspirationsâ€ť exhibit at the MusĂ©e des Arts DĂ©coratifs (107 rue de Rovoli; 33-1/4455-5750; through Nov. 2).
This article originally appeared in theÂ August/September 2014Â print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śFashion Fixâ€ť)