It’s Fashion Week once again, it began mid-February and will continue until the second week of March. Are you planning to go? New York will be unveiling 13 new designers, including Kanye West and Korea-born Ji Oh. London’s own fashion week will still be at Somerset House with 170 designers to be showcased at the Designer Showroom. Expect to see the debut of NEWGEN designers. Milan is expected to have a wonderful showcase with the hauteur of the people so used to luxurious designs that they regard as every day wear. Of course, Paris is not to be outdone when the city presents the spring and summer collections of many of its established designers and up and coming talents. So here’s a sneak peak of what you can see and do and where you could shop.
Flights to New York
New York is the first of the top four fashion capitals to stage the annual Fashion Week. The
week-long event showcases some of the top designers in the country and likewise provide focus on a number of up-and-coming young designers who are likely to be the fashion industry’s big name stars in a few years. NY City’s annual event, called Mercedes-Benz New York fashion Week will be at the Lincoln Centre and for February, it will be presenting the Fall 2015 collection of about 70 designers. It’s an event that is considered even bigger than the U.S. Super Bowl. It’s said that it will be the last Fashion Week event to be held at the Lincoln Centre but the venue for the September event is yet to be announced.
Even if you cannot afford to buy high-fashion clothing on every occasion, there are plenty of shops around New York City where you can get loads of up-to-date fashion wear. It’s just a case of knowing where to look, and what type of styles you are looking for. If you are in the Financial District and Lower Manhattan, you’ll see Century 21, a huge discount department store. It’s best to drop by here as soon as the store opens to avoid the crowd. If you want branded goods by Coach, Abercrombie & Fitch or by Gap, check out the South Street Seaport. You get to find good items to buy and enjoy the amazing harbour views as well. Around the Financial District, you’ll find shops carrying designer levels such as Hermès, Tiffany & Co., Tumi, Thomas Pink and True Religion Brand Jeans.
In Chinatown, along Canal between the Bowery and Mott Street you’ll find little shops with great knockoff items, amid shops that sell delicious goodies and plenty of souvenir items. Cutting edge fashion items as well as leather goods are largely available at the Lower East Side at the Orchard Street Shopping District. But most of the big names in fashion have shops in SoHo, so if you have limited time, this is the place you should first try. Quite close to Chinatown is Nolita, which is where you’ll find plenty of accessory items.
Artsy boutiques, designer labels, delightful food shops, decorative porcelain items, perfumes, candles and other curios are the things that you will find at Greenwich Village. If you’re staying for a week, you should also explore the other shopping districts, such as the Chelsea / Meatpacking District, Flatiron / Union Square District, the Garment and Herald Square District, Theatre and Times Square District, Madison Avenue, 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, and Columbus Avenue.
Flights to London
Britain’s capital is also the country’s centre of culture and economy. The city is the location of the Houses of Parliament and the Buckingham Palace and other historic buildings such as the Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. The multi-ethnic city boasts of free attractions like the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery and Tate Modern. It has the best theatre scene, great open and green spaces, and a beautiful skyline. There are over 6,000 restaurants in the city, with 65 of them Michelin-starred. What’s more, London is ranked as the best shopping destination in Europe, where you have plenty of choices. You know how crowded London will be during Fashion Week but hey, since this is the time to shop, then be brave and check out where you’ll find some of the latest fashion wear and wares could be found around London.
Oxford Street is always crowded with vehicular traffic and consumers. It is the location of some of the headquarters of large department stores as Selfridges, Debenhams and John Lewis and various outlets of Urban Outfitters, Zara and H&M.
Go to Camden Market during the week when it’s less crowded to explore the trendy shopping areas of Spitalfields, Shoreditch and Clerkenwell. If you are after vintage style clothing, fashion out of the ordinary and household items, go to Dray Walk, Cheshire Street and Brick Lane.
While Somerset House is at Covent Garden, explore its various attractions including the Royal Opera House, St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square but do your shopping somewhere else. Go to the side streets and you’ll discover several trendy boutiques carrying cool and hip fashion collections. The high-end shops are located at Neal Street and Long Acre. High Jinks and other items for skating, surfing and urban fashion enthusiasts are found at the Thomas Neal Centre along Earlham Street. The shops at High Street Kensington might burst your wallet wide open but there’s no harm in browsing the other shops and boutiques like Urban Outfitters and Miss Sixty. Along Church Street are antique shops, if you are into them.
Flights to Milan
Who has not heard of some of the best designers in Italian fashion? Gucci. Fendi. Armani. Valentino. Diesel. Dolce&Gabbana. Ferragamo. Cavalli. These are names that compete with the best of the best in Parisian haute couture. The Fashion Week in Milan will present the Fall/Winter Collection 2015 of some of the country’s best designers. Fancy looking for winter wear? Here are some suggestions on where to shop. Of course, you have to plan some time for sightseeing because Milan has a wealth of historical buildings and places of ancient grandeur. Spend some time at its cathedral, the Duomo or see the lasting beauty of the prestigious opera house, La Scala. Tour some of its beautiful castles and art galleries, where some of the best works of Italian masters are exhibited.
If you have the cash for haute couture, you can splurge at the Quadrilatero d’Oro, a square where some of the big names in Italian fashion have their exclusive boutiques, names like Prada, Byblos, Marni, Roberto Cavalli, Armani and D&G at Via della Spiga. At Via Manzoni, you’ll find shops such as Armani Casa, Armani Superstore and Paul Smith. The shops for Prada Sport, Hermès, Miu Miu, Barbara Bui, Gianfranco Ferré, Gianni Versace, Moschino, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Kenzo, Trussardi and Missoni are located on Via Sant’Andrea.
Browse the shops located at Via Monternapoleone, where you have more choices for designer labels including Christian Dior, Alberta Ferretti, Valentino, Gianni Versace, Armani Junior, Prada Women, Gucci, Sergio Rossi, Bottega Venezia, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and La Perla. While the prices may be out of your league, it is worth the trip, because the displays are a visual feast. At Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele II near the Milan Cathedral, the flagship store of Prada had been gracing its floor space since 1913. You’ll find Gucci and Louis Vuitton shops here as well.
Do not be daunted by the prices, as there are some alternative shops around the area along various alleys, such as via Torino, corso Buenos Aires, corso Vercelli or corso di Porta Ticinese. For designer bargains, if you do not mind last season’s designs, you are likely to find bags, shoes, factory seconds, cast-offs from the catwalks, vintage clothing and even second-hand clothing and accessories at the shops on corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Get this – the discounts could be from 50 percent to 70 percent, but do be prepared to wade through the crowd. Do be cautious as returns are not accepted, so check every inch of the items you want and try them on before you pay for them. Now that’s what you call a great bargain!
Flights to Paris
The last city to hold the first round of Fashion Week is Paris, which has always been the fashion capital. It is a grand old city that had been associated with the arts for so long, it is something that you breathe and imbibe as you tour the city. While there is always something happening in Paris, Fashion Week is an event that draws huge crowds of men and women, all eager to see the latest fashion collections from top French designers, new breed of designers and more, aside from catching sight of some of the top icons of the country, such as the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame Cathedral, its cuisine, the treasures housed in the city’s many galleries and of course, its shopping districts.
Some of the famous shopping streets include Rue de Rivoli at the Place de la Concorde, where many boutiques are frequented by tourists looking for souvenirs. Turn east from the Louvre and you’ll find international stores such as The Body Shop, Mango, Gap, Yves Rocher and Zara.
Along the Champs-Elysées and at Avenue Montaigne are the high-end boutiques like Valentino, Hugo Boss, Fendi, Gucci, Christian Dior and Cartier. Do take the time to have a closer view of their fantastic show window arrangements. The Boulevard Haussmann is where you will find the large departments store like Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.
If you get hungry and in need of some downtime, there’s the Hard Rock Café Paris and the Musée Grévin along Boulevard Montmartre. There are also several stores around the here, if you care to browse. The shopping malls in Paris have more to offer other than just fashion wear, so set aside some time to visit Forum des Halles, Les 4 Temps and Bercy Village