New York never fails to show its glamourous side this time of year.
Flying into Manhattan this week to shoot a new book, I was overwhelmed to see a city glowing in the Indian summer sunshine, wearing its best Fashion Week frocks and promenading the grand avenues and secret fashion haunts in classic New York style.
The city's windows may have changed their wardrobes to dark, dramatic winter outfits but on Madison Ave, and Prince Street, and Bryant Park, and the always-beautiful West Village, locals were wringing the last out of the summer season with easy, flowing, bare-shoulded, open-toed elegance, swinging 1960s-inspired bags and pouting plum-toned lips. (Clearly, the colour du jour in 2014.)
[Image of Juan Carlos Obando's show via Habitually Chic, who always covers the shows well.]
Fortuitously (since I'm writing a book about New York fashion and style), the in-flight entertainment on the Qantas flight from Sydney included the extraordinary doco The Editor's Eye; an ode to Vogue fashion editors, past and present. Ms Coddington and Ms Wintour were magnificent as always, but it was the former editors – including the legendary Polly Mellen and Babs Simpson – who were really enthralling. (Tip: Watch it for a glimpse into the fashion editors' homes as much as their aesthetics.)
New York's Fashion Week has now wrapped up, but here's an insight into places where you can still find a very Manhattanesque glamour.
Ralph Lauren's Madison Avenue store
A refined world of black and white sophistication, where I spotted exquisite leopard-print dinnerware alongside glamorous design books. Always a great source of home and fashion inspiration.
867 Madison Avenue, New York.
More from Ralph Lauren and the latest Spring 2014 homewares collection. The plum and black was very Hollywood.
Kate Spade's new flagship store on Fifth Avenue
An ode to colour and joy.
(As with RL, Schiaparelli pink and black was a significant part of Kate Spade's new collection.)
The always-gorgeous NoMad Hotel in the NoMad District
Had a business lunch here today with a New York editor, sitting amid the pink-and-gold salon-style interior, listening to the chatter of fashion, finance, real estate and plans for weekends at Hamptons idylls. Far from pretentious, it was an experience in pure fantasy. If only we could all live in this kind of interior, and this kind of life.
1170 Broadway, New York.
The amazing rooftop terrace of the NoMad. (Sneak up here for a great view of the Empire State.)
The irresistible fabric stores of the Garment District
My newest discovery in this neighbourhood is Rosen & Chaddick, a more upmarket version of Mood Fabrics. This is the place where many up-and-coming fashion designers, stylists and interior designers source their fabrics. Rows are filled with high-end fabrics, including many in this season’s color and print trends. I spotted lots of bolts marked 'Armani' that had clearly come from Mr Armani's atelier. (The store is a great source of designer fabrics.) There are 125 linen colors alone, so be prepared to spend a while. The staff are lovely, and prices are surprisingly reasonable.
561 Seventh Ave, New York. rosenandchaddickfrabrics.com
Another new discovery is the New York Botanic Gardens, and the Peggy Guggenheim Rose Garden within it.
The roses were on their last petals in the Indian Summer heat, but it was still a superb display of colour, form and horticultural glamour.
(Speaking of roses, my latest favourite is the Paris de Yves Saint Laurent hybrid tea rose, above, which has the most enchanting form.)
The window merchandising of Bergdorf Goodman, which is always spectacular.
No wonder they produced a book detailing the history of the store's window displays.
Fifth Avenue at 58th Street, New York.
The new Harlow restaurant
As W magazine commented: "With its Dorothy Draper-esque decor and ornate boiserie, the venue fittingly evokes a sense of true Old Hollywood glamour..."
111 E 56th Street, New York.
A favourite Parisian-inspired store, tucked away on the NoMad Hotel's ground floor. Always lovely things to be had here.
The whimsical windows of Saks Fifth Avenue, with their tributes to Dior during Fashion Week.
The new High Line Hotel
This hotel, housed in a 19th Century Gothic landmark building, is set to be hugely popular, especially with the demographic who frequent the Ace Hotel up the road. Just opened, it's still experiencing teething problems but the rooms – designed by my favourite New York architects Roman and Williams – are handsome (and huge), and the Refectory Hall is like nothing else in the city.
180 10th Avenue, New York.
The City Club Hotel
Another glamorous bolthole for fashion lovers, this hotel was decorated by one of Anna Wintour's favourite design names, Jeffrey Bilhubr. Opt for the duplex suite (above), which was created out of a former ballroom and features its own library.
55 W 44th Street, New York.
I spotted these two gorgeous models (one of them in a grey pinstripe dress: so chic) being introduced to Henri Bendel's best products by one of the store's personal shoppers. Surely the most civilised way to shop?
712 Fifth Avenue, New York.
Oscar de la Renta
Still one of the city's most sublime design talents. His Spring 2014 collection (above), which was unveiled at New York Fashion Week this week, were pretty, flirtatious and delightfully feminine.
722 Madison Avenue, New York.
And lastly, Bryant Park, a beautiful place to pause and catch your breath after the glamorous madness of Manhattan...