Read on for our insider's guide to the sexiest week of the year.
Every September, a cavalcade of models, designers, and celebrities descends upon Manhattan for Fashion Week, that biannual celebration of expensive clothes and the beautiful women who wear them. And yeah, we know most of you aren’t there for the clothes—you’re there to hook up with hot models. But if you’re a NYFW novice, it can be tough to navigate the trek from SoHo to Lincoln Center and back, to weather the fleets of street-style photographers snapping pictures of catwalk cuties as they sashay from the runway to the after-party. More important, it can be tough to actually meet these girls. Here’s the secret: New York is a big town, but from September 4 to 11, only a few spots really matter. Read on for our insider’s guide to the sexiest week of the year.
After a day of subsisting on Vita Coco water and Popchips, even models need a little bit of sustenance. But where to go depends on the neighborhood, as the increasingly fragmented fashion map means a show could be held anywhere in town. All the big modeling agencies put up girls in apartments in SoHo, causing Prince Street to have the highest concentration of pretty young things on the planet for eight glorious days. Have a high-powered breakfast at Balthazar, where everyone from Kanye West to Jessica Alba can be seen noshing on croissants before gracing the front row. If you’re grabbing a bite after a show in the tents at Lincoln Center—the official headquarters for Fashion Week—it’s hard to go wrong at P.J. Clarke’s, the famed tavern across the street. Maybe the fashionistas won’t be scarfing the signature bacon cheeseburgers, but through the floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows, you can spot perfect 10s as they walk down Lincoln Center’s stairs looking for taxis. You’ll have just enough time to step outside, light a damsel’s cigarette, and strike up a conversation. If you’re in the Meatpacking District, head to the Standard Grill, which offers unparalleled alfresco babe-watching, for a juicy New York strip steak or grilled swordfish. Then chat up that beautiful somebody who happens to be on the list for a party at the top of The Standard—otherwise known as the Boom Boom Room. It will probably be the hottest soiree of the night. Or head to the Lower East Side and Keith McNally’s latest enclave of cool, Cherche Midi, for a prime-rib burger, lobster ravioli, or steak frites. There will likely be plenty of mannequins at this ultra-Frenchified bistro. After all, Paris Fashion Week is only two weeks away.
Nighttime is game time. After walking in five shows over the course of the day, a model deserves a drink or two at one of the dozens of after-parties popping off every evening. The same goes for the scores of beautiful stylists, socialites, editors, publicists, and…well, you get the idea. You can count on some of the chicest bashes being hosted at Up & Down, a two-level space in the heart of the Meatpacking District. Generally, upstairs is where you have the best chance of meeting someone; when you buy a girl a drink at the bar, you can actually hear her. Then take her downstairs and hit the dance floor until you’re both ready to call it a night. French nightlife lord André Saraiva’s Chinatown boîte Le Baron has lost a little steam, so skip it in favor of Gilded Lily, a crater-size subterranean fun zone underneath the Monarch Room, the Meatpacking District’s newest sparkly mega-restaurant. It sets itself apart from the EDM-blasting clubs nearby by recruiting a stable of downtown cool kids to throw parties—Saraiva among them. Expect the models to be fighting for sitting space on the railing that circles the dance floor. Don’t worry; they’re all skinny. There’s room for everybody! Regardless of what parties are happening, swing by the tiny, white-hot sin den attached to the Tribeca Grand Hotel—Paul’s Baby Grand, run by late-night legend Paul Sevigny. If you can make it past the velvet rope, you’ll find the couches populated by one example of perfection after another. If you’re meeting her at Paul’s, chances are she’s somebody exceedingly good-looking and important—and, come to think of it, so are you. Now get to work.
The Bowery Hotel has long been ground zero for models and the men who love them, complete with a perpetually hopping lobby where it’s totally acceptable to wear designer sunglasses indoors. Book a room, if only to tell the willowy seductress next to you at the lobby bar that you’re actually staying there, unlike most of the hangers-on just making the scene. If the eight-block walk from the Bowery to SoHo is too much to bear, stay at the Mercer Hotel. During Fashion Week, you won’t be able to grab a morning coffee without bumping into half the girls from yesterday’s Calvin Klein show. Or try the new High Line Hotel in Chelsea. Don’t be surprised to find a gaggle of scantily clad models who just walked in the Cynthia Rowley show lounging in this former theological seminary’s gated courtyard. Turn up the charm, and you just might be giving one a private tour of your room by night’s end.
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