Flowers, artwork and glassware adorn the Rosebery Lounge at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

An insider's guide to Fashion Week

You can rely on the fashion elite – not to mention their many hangers-on – to descend on all the most stylish cities for the twice-yearly extravaganza of the major fashion weeks every spring and autumn. Here are the addresses where you might spot them in their natural habitats

A fish dish with pan-fried fish and tomatoes

First stop, New York

Our fashion month tour begins in New York, where established labels such as Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta throw parties that are as buzzed-about as their collections. Stay in the emotional heart of the city by Central Park at Mandarin Oriental, New York, where the Big Apple’s most scene-y restaurants – Jean-Georges and Per Se – are within high-heel distance. Table hop at Ralph Lauren’s quintessentially American Polo Bar (the paparazzi are a permanent fixture outside during Fashion Week) before decamping to Asiate for panoramic views and your choice from the iconic wine wall that house nearly 1,200 bottles from around the world. You’ll need to pack your chicest clothes but don’t forget the gym kit – New Yorkers always find time for a workout, and if you can’t get into a class at Ballet Beautiful, where top models and stylists tone up, head to the gym at Mandarin Oriental, New York for views that will make the treadmill miles fly by.

Model on the runway at London Fashion Week

London calling

In Fashion Week terms, London is the most creative city, with up-and-coming labels showing alongside the likes of Burberry, JW Anderson, Erdem and Simone Rocha. The shows are spread all over the city: Tate Modern is sometimes an events venue at this time of year, so you can double down on culture and see something at the modern art temple, which in 2019 was the UK’s most visited attraction.   

Base yourself in elegant Knightsbridge at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London where you’ll spot editors and buyers holding meetings over macarons in The Rosebery. After dark, the fashion crowd head for Annabel’s (a selfie from the decadent bathroom here is the marker of a style insider) or, if they land an invite, the private Mark’s Club in Mayfair. In need of a little rejuvenation after those late nights? Teresa Tarmey (who works with the likes of Sienna Miller and Elsa Hosk) has magic hands and a chic townhouse salon to boot. For luscious locks stay closer to home and try the Philip Kingsley hair treatment at the hotel spa.

The plush seating area of the Mandarin Bar and Lounge at night

Ciao Milano

Milan is a city of powerhouse fashion brands, glamorous stylists and dangerously good pasta restaurants. This is where the fashion crowd really go to town, so purchase a gelato, find a street-side seat and prepare to watch the peacocks walk by. For the ultimate fashion experience, go to Wes Anderson-designed, Miuccia Prada-commissioned Bar Luce for a (very) strong coffee – don’t forget your camera, the interiors are incredible. You’ll find industry types kicking back and dashing the ‘fashion girls don’t eat’ theory at Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone, a traditional, family owned Italian trattoria that serves perfectly al dente pasta around a twinkly courtyard. BistRO Aimo e Nadia is also worth a visit – bohemian brand Etro collaborated on the decor, and the result is proof that more can be more. Mandarin Oriental, Milan is situated within four elegant 18th-century buildings, a skip away from the legendary La Scala, so you can indulge in a nightcap at the chic fashion favourite Mandarin Bar after a breathtaking performance. At the end of Milan Fashion Week, editors flock to the 10 Corso Como outlet, where you’ll find the most luxe of labels and some very smug fashion fans clutching their finds.

Tin of caviar at Caviar Kaspar

Paris, mon amour

The final leg of the fashion tour brings us to glamourous Paris, famously home to houses such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Caviar Kaspia is still the place to eat during show season – score an invite to a fashion party (there’s one most nights) and you might walk out with one of the coveted personalised napkins. If the partying and hotel breakfasts have taken their toll, make a beauty stop at the Parisian dermatologist beloved by French editors, Joelle Ciocco. Her facials are fashion legend. If all this style exposure has you inspired to shop, there’s no better pace than the rue Saint Honoré – Mandarin Oriental, Paris is so close that you can easily head back to drop off your shopping and pick up a sweet treat to boost your energy levels at the Mandarin Cake Shop. Officially one of the ten most exclusive hotels in Paris, as evidenced by its coveted ‘Palace’ status, it doesn’t get chicer than this.

Triangular cake

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