Stylist’s Kitty McGee steers clear of the tourist track and tastes the fashionable New Yorker’s New York
In recent years, there’s been a dramatic shift in the way travellers seek to experience cities. Out are the lengthy treks from one postcard landmark to the next. Instead, smart travellers select a neighbourhood, immerse themselves in it, and come away feeling like they’ve made a corner of NYC, Paris or London their home. The joy of New York, in particular, is you can have a new city every time you visit. And this being Fashion Week, there’s no question which Big Apple we want: the fash-pack’s NYC.
The Church Bar will soon have some sibling rivalry, however, thanks to the imminent opening of the Grand’s new cocktail bar, Paul’s Baby Grand, the first solo venture by DJ Paul Sevigny (brother of Chloë) who has been behind a handful of NYC hotspots (Kenmare, Beatrice Inn). It’s not open until late Autumn though, so on arrival – surprisingly fresh after our Virgin Atlantic flights (that’ll be the champagne) – we stick to the Church Bar for a relaxing Sweet Jane (gin, cardamom infused honey and lemon juice). And we challenge anyone to sip a cocktail here – the staff are endearingly cheerful, the service American-grade slick – and complain about jetlag.
Upstairs, the Grand works its space hard with modernist furniture and retro prints (Malin+Goetz bathroom goodies as the cherry on top). But with a hectic schedule of shows and two of New York’s best shopping areas right on our doorstep (the hotel borders SoHo and Tribeca) time in our room is at a minimum.
At New York the shows can go until 10pm so the crowds of stylists, editors, buyers and designers head straight out afterwards for drinks, dinner and more drinks. In addition to the Tribeca Grand, Fashion Week action centres around the Ace Hotel in Midtown and The James and 60 Thompson in SoHo, both within walking distance. The Ace might just win in the dining stakes, with the options of a meat feast at The Breslin gastropub or the John Dory Oyster bar.
Traditionally, 60 Thompson is the base for fashion faces like Marc Jacobs and Rachel Zoe during NYFW but, rudely, the roof deck is only open to guests. All isn’t lost, though, as the MJ design team head to Hotel Giraffe for a drink after the shows – where friends of Jacobs like Kim Gordon and Michael Pitt have been known to join them. A quick cab ride away, the Meatpacking District is still a NYFW hub, with the fashion pack queuing for Cookshop’s $6 wagyu steak sliders, then moving on to The Jane and Soho House New York, both home to a relaxed, stylish vibe.
This being the city that never sleeps, despite being out until 1am, some are up for a 6am SoulCycle class at the Tribeca studio (Lena Dunham was there recently) and then it’s on to the nearest Juice Press for a reviving Fountain Of Youth smoothie. Come day four of Fashion Week, the telltale sign of an exhausted fashionista is a pressed juice in one hand and a vat of La Colombe coffee in the other.
Post-smoothie, take time for another NYFW tradition: the blowout (that’s blow-dry to us). DreamDry (co-owned by Rachel Zoe) in Chelsea does a roaring trade in 20-minute express blowouts, but Drybar Tribeca was our local. It opens at 7am, screens Ryan Gosling movies (how perfect?) and $40 transforms your hair into the sort of sleek, voluminous do that Drybar fans Zooey Deschanel and Cindy Crawford have made famous. Now we’re ready to do it all again...