February is FASHION month and whether you’re back-to-back show-going or flicking through Instagram Stories for a look at the good stuff, it’s hectic.
So hectic that it’s easy to miss those had-to-be-there catwalk moments, pass by hidden gems (delis, bars, clubs, hotels, salons) and fail to hear the word (scandal) on the street. That’s why we reached out to a few industry contacts on the ground in each capital who know the score (and scoop!) when it comes to working the fashion week scene.
Here’s what you need to know. Take note, these tips are golden.
Must-see show on the schedule and why?
“It’s all about Alexander Wang – this year the venue was at Hamilton Heights in Harlem, New York. It was the talk of the town as it was the first time ever a major designer had shown there.” Ahlilah Longmire, Founder/President, The Tesla Group
“At New York Fashion, I’d have to say Rosie Assoulin. The prints and patterns are always the perfect pick-me-up during those snowy winter months. I also happen to love exaggerated proportions. Now if only I could figure out how to wear the fabulous wide-leg pants through the slush.” Marie Larson, PR Manager at EILEEN FISHER
“Burberry during London Fashion Week, for obvious reasons. And it always has the best front row.” Madeleine Taylor, Model represented by Premier London
“During Milan Fashion Week – Gucci. Alessandro Michele is dictating the trends.” Gianfranco Vitale, Fashion Editor and Communications Specialist
“Jacqemus at Paris Fashion Week.” Anissa Kermiche, Jewellery Designer
“I’m a big fan of Amanda Wakeley who shows during London Fashion Week; it’s elegantly cut, easy-to-wear and incredibly luxe. Fyodor Golan and Gareth Pugh are a must-see for something more avant-garde, and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi for that pretty-punk aesthetic that London does so well. My brother Joshua Kane is a brilliant, classically trained tailor with a rock and roll edge, he’s showing his first equally split men’s and women’s collection at the Palladium on Friday 17th February.” Hannah Kane, Editor-in-Chief, PHOENIX & The Manual by PHOENIX
“It isn’t actually a show but A.W.A.K.E are presenting in London for the first time this season which is really exciting. Their designs and aesthetic are so cool and totally unique. Definitely one to look out for.” Rosie Smythe, Acting Senior Fashion Assistant, Marie Claire
Fashion item you’ll be debuting?
“My statement dress by Alexander McQueen.” Anissa Kermiche, Jewellery Designer
“An oversized camouflage suit because military style is definitely having a comeback.” Gianfranco Vitale
“A beautiful silk vintage kimono I bought on eBay.” Hannah Kane
“I’ve really pushed the boat out this season and splurged on a pair of monochrome woven kitten heels from Celine. Not the most practical thing, but I couldn’t resist.” Rosie Smythe
Best party invite you’ve had so far?
“Alexander Wang’s after party in New York back in 2015.” Anissa Kermiche
“John Richmond in concert! Best secret party in collaboration with the Smoke Fairies and Bryan Adams’ photography exhibition.” Gianfranco Vitale
“Diesel are having a ‘Make Love Not Walls’ party – speaks for itself.” Rosie Smythe
“Joshua Kane’s after party at Tape London will be a lot of fun.” Hannah Kane
Hidden gem for a delicious lunch?
“In New York, seek out places like Employees Only, Beauty & Essex, Freemans.” Ahlilah Longmire
“Fioraio Bianchi Caffè in Milan, located in the heart of Brera, a bistro that flavours vintage and Parisian mood at the same time.” Gianfranco Vitale
“High Street on Hudson because the sandwiches are just incredible. If you’re really hungry go for the grilled cheese, they claim it’s the best ever and it is in fact that.” Marie Larson
“26 grains in Covent Garden, London as they do the best porridge combinations and a wholesome Nordic style lunch.” Madeleine Taylor
“Arabica Bar and Kitchen hidden in Borough Market is great for a hearty lunch in-between shows. Also if you feel like you need a vitamin hit, there is no place better than Mildred’s in Soho. Healthy and substantial with great cocktails to boot.” Rosie Smythe
“For health obsessives in Paris (those with gluten/vegan/whatever free diets) head to: La Guinguette d’Angèle, LE TAKE AWAY, 34 RUE COQUILLÈRE, 75001, ET LE SALON DE THÉ, 2 RUE DU GENERAL RENAULT, 75011. For a casual bistro experience: Le Compas, 62 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris On the go: Lina’s (a few branches) – chic sandwich and salad place where you can swipe magazines.” Dominique Holmes, Sales Ops Manager, Fresh LVMH
“It’s a ten minute walk to the Wild Food Cafe in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden for a massive vegan/vegetarian salad. For contemporary Thai street food and a design focused interior I love Suda in St Martin’s Courtyard, 23 Slingsby Place (just off Long Acre).” Hannah Kane
Top suggestion for round-the-clock cocktails?
“Hotel Bachaumont in Paris.” Anissa Kermiche
“The rooftop Radio Bar at ME Hotel on the Strand: try the Old Fashioned.” Hannah Kane
“Carlo e Camilla in Segheria. The Bar is the temple of Filippo Sisti, talent that has delighted the most discerning palates of New York, London and Paris. His method is based on defined technical “liquid food.” The phase of mixing of the cocktail is innovative and is done using preparations such as cooking in the oven, in a pan, through the use of vacuum and the chiller. Large space is given to spices.”
“When in Paris head for: Speakeasys: Le Syndicat, 51 rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, 75010 Candelaria, 52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris. Hidden behind a tacos place!” Dominique Holmes
“I am going old school and saying King Cole Bar at The St. Regis in New York as it’s a classic – this was where the Bloody Mary was invented. Yes, it’s a bit out of the way from most of the shows but is such a delightful way to end the week. Or, if you are all the way downtown, check out BlackTail at Pier A – it will transport you directly to Cuba.” Marie Larson
“If you know a member get straight to The Groucho Club. Really buzzy and fun, it is impossible to go for just one drink.” Rosie Smythe
Go-to gallery in between the shows?
“The British Museum and the V&A but I’m lucky if I have the time!” Madeleine Taylor
“The Tate Britain never fails to inspire, I’ll be catching the new Hockney exhibition that just opened.” Rosie Smythe
“In Paris there are the obvious ones, but to get away from the throngs of Asian tourists try Musée de l’Orangerie, whatever’s on at Petit Palais, Musée de la Vie Romantique, Musée Nissim de Camondo.” Dominique Holmes
Recommendations for a last-minute blow dry / manicure?
“For a fashion-forward blow dry it’s at Hare & Bone round the corner from our office, for a mani I’ll and pop into The Grooming Room.” Hannah Kane
“George Northwood for hair and the Cheeky bar at the Hoxton Holborn for nails.” Rosie Smythe
“Bullfrog Barber Shop for perfect grooming.” Gianfranco Vitale
“In Paris, anything at Nuxe Spa and for splashing some cash on hair : Delphine Courteille at Studio 34, 34 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris.” Dominique Holmes
Preferred social media platform for playing catch up?
“Instagram Stories.” Gianfranco Vitale
“Instagram, always. It is the perfect See Now, Like Now trend.” Marie Larson
“Instagram, definitely.” Anissa Kermiche
Shoes: statement or sensible?
“Can I say both? Classic leather boots and Stan Smiths are always a winner.” Madeleine Taylor
Best thing you’ve overheard during fashion week?
“I once chatted to Shirley Bassey after a Julien Macdonald show and she said ‘Diamonds are forever, but gold is so this season’. Priceless.” Hannah Kane
“Too many to mention!” Rosie Smythe
“I want my mum.” Madeleine Taylor