“Fashion fades, but style is eternal.” —Yves St Laurent
Maybe so, Monsieur St Laurent, but if you’re living in the moment, sartorial splendour shines bright. Regardless of whether or not you’re passionate about haute couture, fashion weeks are an excellent place to see and be seen and check out some fabulous parties along the way. Here are 6 of the top destinations to get your fashion week fix.
New York Fashion Week (New York, NY)
Held twice a year (autumn and spring), this not-to-be-missed event features fashion stalwarts hailing from all over. Want tickets to the hottest runway shows? You’re probably out of luck unless you have some amazing connections. It doesn’t matter, though, because just hanging out amidst the models and photographers is worth the trip. Expect impossibly chic magazine editors, big name bloggers, and streetstyle savants along with a burning desire to update your current look. Considering the fact that New York is a shopper’s dream, you won’t be lacking retail options. Don’t expect to snap up the covetable bag that you’ll inevitably spot on every well-heeled show attendee’s arm, though. They’re probably from next season.
Settimana de la Moda (Milan, Italy)
Like it’s American counterpart, Italy’s fashion week is a biannual affair that brings together the fashion industry’s top players to showcase the country’s molto bello creations. Women’s wear takes centre stage in Milan (hit Pitti Uomo in Florence for the best menswear) and you can always count on national treasures like Prada, Versace, and Cavalli to send some breathtaking creations down the runway. Word to the wise: don’t be late. Songstress Katy Perry was booed off stage when she took her sweet time showing up to the Moschino show.
Fashion Week de Paris (Paris, France)
Paris is synonymous with style, and for good reason. Parisians just seem to possess a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to dress and they take fashion seriously. Every year, the French Fashion Federation decides on the event’s dates and designers scramble to ensure that their wares are ready to be presented at the couture or pret a porter shows. A model’s career can be made or broken based on her Paris bookings – don’t know Aymeline Valade or Nastya Kusakina? You will soon. Come for classics like Chanel and Dior, stay for the contemporary Isabel Marant and APC.
London Fashion Week (London, UK)
London has produced some big time fashion stars: Alexander McQueen, Burberry, and the ubiquitous Cara Delevingne…the list goes on (and on, and on). What better way to see all of the city’s garment glory in one place than at London Fashion Week? Planned and executed by the British Fashion Council, the event is a clothing trade show that draws impressive crowds and global attention. Touted as one of the world’s highest profile designer showcases, you will not be disappointed by the shows that take place during LFW provided you can find tickets. Feel free to rock your classic trench, but if you want to get snapped by a celebrity photographer, step up your game with a bold accessories and bright colours. After all, during fashion week, anything goes.
Eco Fashion Week (Vancouver, BC)
There’s a classic French saying, “Il faut souffrir pour etre belle” which translates to “one must suffer to be beautiful”. If you’ve ever spent more than two hours wearing a pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos, you can probably attest to this. That being said, increasing demand for transparency in manufacturing, growing concern about ethical production, and a general sense of wanting to do the right thing has led fashion fanatics to carefully consider the who, what, and where behind each piece. Eco Fashion Week is dedicated to the promotion of healthy design, manufacturing, and distribution practices as well as creating discussions concerning the ethics behind what you wear. The 3-day event features eco-friendly runway shows, seminars, shops, and trunk shows that will prove once and for all that fashion and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive.
South African Fashion Week (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Showcasing some of Africa’s top fashion talent, the SA Fashion Week is the place to discover the newest and greatest before anyone else. Try to score front-row seats to some of the shows, check out the competitions like the SAFW Student Competition or spend some time perusing the wares in the pop-up shop. South Africa hasn’t enjoyed much press on the international stage but if the looks presented at SAFW are any indication, that’s all about to change very soon.