Travel the Fashion Week Route
The NYC fashion extravaganza kicks off the international circuit, bringing high fashion to the Big Apple’s Lincoln Center in September. Last Fashion Week saw Catherine Zeta Jones in the front row for Michael Kors, and hundreds of umbrellas seemingly suspended in mid air at the Allegri show!
When in town: Pop into art grand dame the Met, where the Alexander McQueen exhibition has ended but the Anthony Caro on the Roof exhibition (until October 30) is definitely worth a peek; stroll the High Line – a beautifully landscaped promenade along a former railway line in the Meatpacking District – and visit the new 9/11 memorial, opening on September 12. A New York City pass (Citypass.com, Dhs290) lets you queue-jump at many top attractions, with the added bonus of shopping discounts. Shopaholics will be in their element at exclusive stores such as Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman and, from October you can browse the sale at Badgley Mischka. After shopping ‘til you drop, tuck into tapas at new gastro hangout Salinas in the up-and-coming art district of Chelsea (the ‘coles y coliflor’ brings a new meaning to Brussels sprouts!). Alternatively, bag a table at the new pavement café Carte Blanche at the Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District, where party animals queue into the early hours for the rooftop bar.
Bedding down: New York institution The Peninsula (doubles from Dhs2,252, peninsula.com) on Fifth Avenue has a roof terrace and ESPA spa, and hosted a show by hot designer Laquan Smith in February. The Peninsula Academy Couture Shopping Outing gives private access to top designers and personal fittings, accompanied by a former Vogue fashion editor (Dhs5,399 per person). Lastly, Aloft Brooklyn (from Dhs881 a night, starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels) is a loft-inspired hotel in a happening neighbourhood.
Getting there: Return flights from Dubai to New York with Emirates (emirates.ae) from Dhs6,450.
London Fashion Week sashays into town boasting every designer worth their threads, from Tom Ford to Mulberry showing off swoon-worthy creations. Catwalk shows take place at Somerset House, also renowned for its art collections and its Summer Series of open-air concerts (this year Blondie performed) and movie screenings under the stars.
When in town: Somerset House is hosting the Beyond the Moulin Rouge exhibition, celebrating the spectacle of bohemian Paris, until September 18. After a dose of culture, turn your attention to that essential pastime – shopping! Selfridges and Harvey Nics might be on your doorstep but head for One New Change near St Paul’s. It opened this year boasting British labels lsuch as All Saints and Reiss, plus there’s a spectacular rooftop bar and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Barbecoa, for signature steaks. Credit card maxed out? Relax with a fashion-inspired Glass of Gaga cocktail at Park Plaza County Hall, and top it off with afternoon tea fit for a queen at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair.
Bedding down: The May Fair is the official Fashion Week hotel. A Fashion Paradise shopping package (from Dhs3,000 per night, mayfairhotel.co.uk) includes a chauffeur-driven car to take you on a spending spree, and much more. An aptly named Catwalk Wrap (Dhs810) in the spa is the perfect finishing touch. Alternatively, St James’s (doubles from Dhs1,415, stjamesclubandhotel.co.uk) is discreet, intimate and oozes British class; its Seven Park Place restaurant is a must.
Getting there: Return flights from Dubai to London with Virgin Atlantic (virginatlantic.com) from Dhs2,510 including tax and charges.
Stick-insect models trot into Europe’s capital of sleek style and shows take place in various chic locations, including Piazza del Duomo, dominated by the newly restored Milan Cathedral (take a lift to the top for amazing views) and Via Senato, where Baglioni Caffé is the place to people-watch (handily next door to Armani). Gucci, Pucci and Missoni are among established homegrown names to showcase their collections.
When in town: Piazza del Duomo is also home to Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) where there’s always a fascinating exhibition. Until September 11, catch a collection by fashion photographer Bob Krieger, famed for his portraits of the rich and famous. Just off the Piazza, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a great spot for splurging and dining; a Belle Époque arcade with a glass dome, it’s worth admiring in its own right. Just be sure to have ample space on your camera! You can also flex the plastic in the more affordable Quadrilatero della Moda district, and gaze at the stately Teatro alla Scala opera house. For an inspirational dose of design, drop into Triennale Design Museum on the edge of leafy Parco Sempione and, come the evening, check out new restaurant Zucca e Melone, which combines outrageously colourful decor with adventurous Italian cuisine.
Bedding down: Madonna and George Clooney love Hotel Principe di Savoia (rooms from Dhs1,473, hotelprincipedisavoia.com), where Katie Holmes stayed during February Fashion Week. It holds after-parties in its iconic Winter Garden bar, where you can eavesdrop on this season’s fashion gossip. A money-saving alternative, the nearby NH Milano Touring (doubles from Dhs600, nh-hotels.com) is within easy reach of all the major fashion streets, where you can blow your dirhams instead.
Getting there: Return flights from Dubai to Milan with Emirates (emirates.ae) from Dhs3,920.
Fresh from Milan, the illustrious fashion set descends upon the city of light to ogle the latest offerings from legendary French names such as Balmain, Dior and Chanel. Runway shows take place all over town, including in the pretty Tuileries gardens and, if the Fashion Week in March is anything to go by, you can expect the likes of Katy Perry, Naomi Campbell and Liv Tyler. Even if you can’t see the catwalk, the Tuileries gardens are stunning, with striking bronzes, ponds and a summer funfair.
When in town: Elsewhere, visit the Louvre (of course!) - a former palace with a mind-boggling art collection. Or flex your wallet at the boutiques lining Rue St Honoré, including Colette – one of the world’s first concept stores. Stroll on Avenue Montaigne for Dior and Louis Vuitton, where the glam Plaza Athenée hotel can also be found (as seen in Sex and the City) and from here you’re not far from the Champs-Elysées and Eiffel Tower. One of the hottest eateries is French/Asian hangout La Bauhinia at the new Shangri-La hotel (crispy fish fillets come highly recommended!), and from September 19 - 25, Restaurant Week brings special offers to restaurants around town. Go armed with a chic and in-the-know Hedonist’s Guide (Hg2.com, Dhs72) so you don’t miss a beat.
Bedding down: The fash pack is set to check into the dazzling new Mandarin Oriental (rooms from Dhs4,520 mandarinoriental.com/paris) with its beautiful indoor courtyard, huge spa and roof terrace, just steps from Hermès. Or save dirhams at Hôtel Saint Thomas d’Aquin (rooms from Dhs736, hotel-st-thomas-daquin.com), a greenery-swathed mansion close to the Bon Marché department store.
Getting there: Return flights from Dubai to Paris with Emirates (Emirates.ae) cost from Dhs4,650.