In essence, New York Fashion Week is all about clothes and presenting new ideas for how women should dress for the next season. But it is also a time when celebrities, socialites and bloggers rub shoulders with one another and hobnob over (copious amounts of free) cocktails, discussing the finer things in life. It is, after all, one of the most glamorous affairs on the social calendar—one that has many clamoring for access. All of it may seem frivolous (and at times, it can be), but there is no denying the amount of visibility and name recognition that can be gained.
With most media outlets descending on the city to cover the runway presentations, many brands (even non-endemic ones) throw extravagant shindigs, inviting (and often times paying for) recognized names from Hollywood to attract attention in a very saturated industry. Fashion, in the cerebral sense, is about selling a dream, a fantasy—and having a glamorous soirée certainly bolsters this ideology.
That said, like all things sartorial-related, a party isn’t one-size-fits-all. What works for one brand, doesn’t work for others. Some go all out by booking large venues and enlisting A-list musical acts, while others create smaller experiences that speak to their brand's DNA.
Here are five types of New York Fashion Week parties, and examples of each.
The Fashion Insider Party: Bergdorf Goodman Celebrates the Release of Gio_Graphy
When it comes to fashion week parties (nay, parties in general), this is the one to be at. From the venue to the guest list to the overall vibe, everything at these soirées is the crème de la crème. Everyone seems to know each other—and if they don’t, they’ll readily strike a conversation. Indeed, fashion folk and celebrities tend to be standoffish and haughty at events, but when surrounded by their peers in an environment of unadulterated excess, the pretense fades away, making room for their playful side. They may be all insiders, but they’re human at the end of the day.
The prime example of this type of fête was held on the first floor of Bergdorf Goodman. The luxury retailer was celebrating the release of Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert’s new book, Gio_Graphy, and the display windows she directed. As a noted stylist and jet-setter, Engelbert seems to have struck up friendships with almost every single power player in the fashion industry. Wearing a short, glittering dress, she greeted her guests with a hug and smile, and encouraged all to dance. Indeed, everyone followed the lady of the hour’s mandate. The crowd—which included Bergdorf Goodman’s fashion director, Linda Fargo; Engelbert’s sister, designer Sarah Battaglia; man about town Derek Blasberg; photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin; and socialites Zani Gugelmann and Alexia Niedzielski—were cutting a rug (rather badly and without shame) to a selection of current hits and dance oldies. The décor looked like a luxe version of Party City; there were models dancing on stilts dressed in designer duds; and the Champagne and martini glasses were overflowing. The event even extended beyond Bergdorf’s walls, where large speakers were blasting the same music heard inside. It may have annoyed passersby, but it certainly made sure to announce—read: to those invited—that a good time was to be had.