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New York City for Fashionistas

By Patricia Miller

If you’re a dedicated follower of fashion who also loves to travel, you may know that at times it’s difficult to indulge your passion for fashion when you’re on the go. In New York City, however, it’s fairly simple. Here’s a carefully curated list of places to go and things to do; just toss it in your Vuitton bag and hit the streets in this mecca for fashionistas.

ANNA WINTOUR COSTUME CENTER AT THE MET
If you only have time to make one stop during your visit, make it here; it’s de rigueur for fashionistas. Named for Vogue’s editor-in-chief, this wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is known for producing exhibits that draw huge crowds—like Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations; and Punk: Chaos to Couture. At the annual Met Gala in May, stars of stage and screen try to outdo each other with outrageous fashions—to wit, Sarah Jessica Parker’s 2006 tartan ensemble by Alexander McQueen (or any of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Met Gala dresses, for that matter). Eager to see more that the Met has to offer? Book a 90-minute “EmptyMet” tour, which gives guests an intimate view of the museum before it opens to the public.

THE GARMENT DISTRICT
You might be surprised to find that NYC’s Garment District holds more than just designer showrooms and fabric shops. Look down at the sidewalks as you stroll down the east side of Fashion Avenue (a.k.a. Seventh Avenue) between 35th and 41st streets. Here you’ll find the Fashion Walk of Fame, 28 round bronze plaques paying homage to designers like Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Norman Norell. Then, when you’re near the Fashion Center Information Kiosk at Seventh Avenue and 39th Street, look up—you’ll see a sculpture of a 14-foot-high black button threaded with a 31-foot-long needle. Neat fact: the button’s five holes form the letter F.

HILTON NEW YORK FASHION DISTRICT
Stay in the Garment District, the epicentre of Manhattan’s fashion industry. Check into the CAA/AAA Three Diamond-rated Hilton New York Fashion District, which is bound to suit any fashionista’s fancy. The lobby’s decor included a Mondrian-style artwork composed of spools of thread in primary colors, chic mannequins in the front window and mirrors in various sizes surrounding the elevators. Sophisticated guest rooms are like a smartly assembled ensemble, done in dark neutrals and accented with white linens, pinstriped carpet, whimsical polka-dot wallpaper and artsy black-and-white photos of bobbins. AMA members save 5% or more room rates.

THE MUSEUM AT FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Although small in square footage in comparison to other museums, the Museum at FIT has more than 50,000 garments and accessories spanning the past 250 years in its collection. Exhibitions always include historical and modern avant-garde fashion in the mix, and have recently explored such topics as Fairy Tale Fashion; Global Fashion Capitals; and Denim: Fashion’s Frontier. MFIT also holds fashion-related events, so if you time your visit right, you may see your favorite designer participating in panel discussions and symposiums. Admission is usually free to exhibits and lectures, so you’ll have more cash for shopping.

SEX AND THE CITY TOUR
Step into Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolo Blahniks and discover many of the sites where HBO’s Sex and The City was filmed. A 3.5-hour coach tour takes you and your gal pals on a whirlwind cosmo-sipping, cupcake-eating, location-scouting tour of more than 40 hot spots frequented by Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, including the Meatpacking District and the bar owned by Steve and Aidan. You’ll also get the skinny about the girls’ favorite boutiques in one of the fashion capitals of the world.

FASHION WEEK
Tickets to Fashion Week showcases are hard to come by, but even without admission you can still catch the excitement simply by being in town during its annual September run. After all, there’s a chance you might bump into a celeb or supermodel. Photo ops abound, so don’t forget your camera and/or cell phone. Dress to kill and up your chances of getting street-styled (having a blogger or photographer take your pic and share it on social media). Afterwards, head to The Top of the Standard in Chelsea, where models and VIPs party through the night.

SHOP TIL YOU DROP
Last but not least—go shopping! Skip big-name department stores; you can find their ilk anywhere. Instead, try thrift shops and places like Topshop, a trendy London store with only a handful of North American locations, including one in SoHo and on Fifth Avenue. Head to Madison Avenue’s La Boutique Resale, where you’ll run across designer duds for super-cheap, or Metropolis in the East Village for vintage concert t-shirts and other hipster-chic duds. For discounted brand-new clothing, check out Century 21, an outlet-style store overflowing with swoon-worthy goodies.

HOW TO SAVE
Attractions abound: Enjoy access to three, five, seven or 10 of NYC’s top attractions (from a selection of more than 50, including the Statue of Liberty and Radio City Music Hall), for one low price with a New York City Explorer’s Pass. Valid for 30 days from its first use, the pass gives you the flexibility to create your own sightseeing itinerary, and comes loaded with additional discounts to popular restaurants and retailers.

Book with AMA: Search for flights to New York—as well as hotels and activities for when you arrive—on the recently redesigned AMA Travel website. Or contact your local AMA Travel counsellor for more expert advice on journeying to the Big Apple.