February in New York has a Fashion Week buzz, so make like a fashion ed and hang out at the uptown hotspots for dining, manicures and blow-drys – and find out where the models perfect those super-slender bodies

One of Paintbox's on-trend nail designs

One of Paintbox's on-trend nail designs

In true fashionista style, New York Fashion Week is having a makeover. After a four-year stint at Upper West Side landmark the Lincoln Center, a dispute with local residents over a nearby park has meant that post-February they will be forced to find a new home, which will probably be in deepest downtown.

So this is the moment to make the most of Mandarin Oriental, New York’s killer-convenient, front-row seat beside the action (it’s a five-minute stroll in stilettos from the hotel to the Lincoln Center), and to soak up what could be the last truly ‘uptown’ Fashion Week. With the dates set for 12 to 19 February, there will be an estimated 300 runway shows and presentations, attended by more than 100,000 people. The details of each show are kept under wraps, but with designers spending an average of US$200,000 to stage 10 minutes of catwalk inspiration, the stakes are high.

Mille crêpes at Lady M

Mille crêpes at Lady M

The most buzzed-over shows are set to be Victoria Beckham, Marc Jacobs (who is known to spend upwards of one million dollars on his extravaganzas), Ralph Lauren and Opening Ceremony – a label that caused a stir last season when it ditched a traditional show for a one-act play, penned and directed by Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill, featuring model Karlie Kloss.

Spinning classes at Flywheel studio

Spinning classes at Flywheel studio

Regardless of whether you have ‘frow’ status or a show invitation, you can soak up the Fashion Week vibe simply by strolling through the Lincoln Center’s fountained courtyard; dress well, expensively or extremely strangely and you’re bound to be papped. Or visit the Lincoln Center anyway to watch a play. The theatrics continue in its many theatres; on 16 February at Avery Fisher Hall, catch the one-off retelling of the Tony award-winning musical, Parade.

Dine out with the fashion set at wood-panelled, speakeasy-style eatery The Lion (where Anna Wintour’s supper of choice is the chicken pot pie) on the Upper East Side, or head to Asiate at Mandarin Oriental, New York, which with its new decor is chicer than ever, for stunning views and modern American cuisine. For a sugar fix, follow the lead of ‘super’ Linda Evangelista at the sleek, all-white dessert salon, Lady M, on Madison Avenue, where mille crêpes with their delicate paper-thin layers are served on smart Limoges china. 

Blow-dry salon Dry Bar

Blow-dry salon Dry Bar

To look in perfect shape, join the stream of models at the new 372-square-metre flagship studio of spinning success story Flywheel, a few blocks north of the shows at Lincoln Square. And elbow past the glut of Manhattan fashion editors at the hottest beauty opening in 2014, Paintbox, the brainchild of a former beauty editor and a celebrity manicurist, to have your digits garbed with everything from polka dots to metal studs. Naturally, you will need a killer blowout, so stop by blow-dry go-to Dry Bar (which has nine outlets in New York) and request ‘The Manhattan’, a shiny-as-glass, super-straight style that’ll withstand hailing cabs in the snow, schlepping between shows, and perhaps an after party or three.

Vishaka Robinson is a fashion and beauty writer who splits her time between London and New York

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