Words by Mark C. O'Flaherty
Where to Stay in New York
The Jane (113 Jane Street; +1 212 924 6700) is a cute budget-leaning hotel with a pitch-dark lounge full of taxidermy and antique-styled oddities that serves as the venue for some of the best parties and club nights in the city. One of our pick of New York Fashion Week hotels, it's a great mix of sophisticated and wild. Rodarte have their after-show parties here. The Ace (20 West 29th Street; +1 212 679 2222) has redefined a whole neighbourhood with its Ken Friedmen and April Bloomfield restaurants (The Breslin and the John Dory Oyster Bar), boutiques (Opening Ceremony and No.8a) and Stumptown Coffee shop. During Fashion Week, models-in-transit replace the touring boys with guitars as the core clientele and the lobby is a white-hot rendezvous for gossip with lattes, pastries and – later – Pinot Grigio.
New hotels have also opened on a seemingly weekly basis over the last year or so. The best of the bunch include the Park Avenue branch of the Meatpacking district's Gansevoort (420 Park Avenue South; +1 212 317 2900), which has a stellar split-level rooftop bar and lounge. The Mondrian Soho (9 Crosby Street; +1 212 389 1000) has brought some of the Morgan's flash of its LA namesake to downtown: The Kills performed at the opening while artist Poppy de Villeneuve projected a movie on to the front of the building. Its more low-key, but no less stylish, boutique-scale neighbour, The Nolitan (30 Kenmare Street; +1 212 925 2555) has energised the cinematic cobblestones around Little Italy.
Where to Eat in New York
The latest restaurant from John DeLucie, who helped make both The Lion and the Waverly Inn impossible to get into, is Crown (24 E 81st Street; +1 212 518-2723). The look is "19th-century Gentleman's club" and the restaurant has been hosting pre-opening parties attended by the likes of Madonna and Alexa Chung for months. The name Sarabeth's has been synonymous with the best, chicest breakfast and brunch spots uptown for 30 years. Now an immense new branch has opened in Tribeca (338 Greenwich Street; +1 212 966 0421) bringing Manhattan's finest croissant downtown, along with all-day dining and a pizza oven.
Where to Go Out in New York
Chelsea Hotel-dwelling party queen Susanne Bartsch has a wild, freaky and fabulous new party, complete with Jacuzzis, every Tuesday at Le Bain, at the Standard hotel (444 West 13th Street; +1 212 645 4646). For something a little less effervescent and fluorescent, the 21 Club (21 W 52nd Street; +1 212 582 7200) in midtown is a jacket-required power-dining spot that's a spiritual sibling to Annabel's in London. It's dark, sexy and star-packed – Michael Kors and Mickey Rourke are regulars. This September, the restaurants open a cocktail lounge on the ground floor that's destined to be an instant favourite for martini-lovers.
Where to Shop in New York
Ladurée's recent arrival on the Upper East Side (864 Madison Avenue; +1 646 558 3157) has given macaroons the edge on cupcakes as the carbohydrate most in vogue right now. Queues are currently snaking around the block and NYC designer-collaborations (Ladurée have worked with Galliano and Matthew Williamson) are in the pipeline. The new AESA + Electric Feathers boutique (35 Crosby Street; +1 212 837 2648) is full of bohemian silk dresses with an emphasis on individuality. Items are reversible and adjustable in terms of lengths and proportions. Jewellery is inspired by Marie Antoinette's obsession with ribbons.
What to Wear in New York
The watchword is polish. Real New Yorkers are sleek of mane and sharp of shoulder – it's only the tourists who gawp about in trainers and logo tees. To ensure you fall into the former camp, channel Olivia Palermo in tailored jeans, fitted blazers and sensible flats (try New York lady Tory Burch for a sufficiently preppy pair). Only expect to wear stilettos if you're taking a cab. Or a limo. That's very New York, too.
Don't Leave New York Without…
A stack of gorgeous stationery from the new Kate's Paperie in Soho (435 Broome Street; +1 212 941 9816) and one of the 198 bottles of limited edition SANAA Translucence Perfume, created for the ever-fabulous Bowery art space, the New Museum (235 Bowery; +1 212 343 0460).
Beauty SOS – Where to Go for Pampering in New York
The Upper East Side is home to Kiehl's (841 Lexington Ave., at 64th St.) and their first ever spa, Spa 1851. With its tin ceilings, smattering of antique fittings and walls decked out with original works by Curtis Jinkins and David LaChapelle, the space is achingly cool. Treatments include Kiehl's products (obviously), but in keeping with the brand's apothecary heritage, the expert team also custom blend lotions and potions to suit your skin type. With a team of just five members of staff (which includes a master barber and masseuse) and only three treatment rooms, it's also well worth booking ahead.
Over in the Meatpacking District, Red Market (32 Gansevoort St; +1 212-929-9600) is a late-night salon masterminded by ex-Frederic Fekkai stylists David Cotteblanche and Reynald Ricard. You can stop by as late as 11pm for a cut or colour, and settle in with a complimentary glass (or two) of wine while they get to work. Oh, and once a month they invite a DJ to play a live set.
Like our Fashion Week-focused New York guide? Check out our pick of New York Fashion Week hotels.
To keep on top of what's happening at every fashion week show - from the latest reviews to the front row scenes - check out ELLEuk's catwalk section.